Easy Trick to keep Handsaw Scabbard Clear of Debris

When pruning with a handsaw, it’s easy for the scabbard to fill up with sawdust and small twigs. If you’ve had this problem before, here’s an easy modification you can make to the Weaver scabbards to keep them clear of debris. Just take some sharp hand-shears (like Felcos) and cut a small notch out of the bottom of your scabbard, leaving a strip of the leather there to protect the teeth. Here’s a couple pictures:

Making a 3:1 Mechanical Advantage for Pulling Trees

Occasionally some back leaning trees need more help than a few wedges. With a rope installed high in the tree to be pulled, an arborist can add mechanical advantage easily with a few simple pieces of gear.

To build this 3:1 system you will need:

– 2 x micropulleys

– 2 x rated carabiners

– eye to eye prussic cord

– way to anchor base pulley to the tree (IE sling, piece of rigging rope)

To set up the system: 

1. Choose a strong anchor (usually another tree) in the direction you want to pull the tree to be felled. Attach one of the micro pulleys to this anchor and feed the end of your pull rope through the pulley.


2. Tie a VT or French Prussic knot on the leg of the pull line between the tree to be felled and the anchor pulley. Attach the other carabiner and micro pulley to the VT knot and feed the end of the pull rope through this pulley.

3. Slide the VT knot towards the tree to be felled until you have enough space in the 3:1 system to pull the tree over. At this point, I usually pre-tension the pull rope and tie it off on the anchor above or below where the pulley is attached. If you cannot move the top of the tree at this point, do not proceed with the cut, as you probably need more pulling power.


Fraser Teeple ( http://fraserteeplearborist.com ) is an ISA and Ontario Certified Arborist who provides blog posts and product reviews for Cutter’s Choice.

How to Install a Branch Saver Dynamic Cabling System.

Dynamic cabling systems provide an alternative to the steel (static) cable systems that an Arborist can use to support trees with poor structure.

There are several advantages to a using a dynamic system:
1. The supported stems are allowed to move (within healthy limits) since there is some flex in the rope — this movement stimulates “Reaction Wood”, which will strengthen the joint.
2. Installation requires less tools and is faster and easier than steel cabling.
3. The splice and abrasion sleeve used as an attachment point are less invasive than a j-lag or eye bolt.
4. The materials are less expensive, providing good value to the customer.

That said, there are limitations to a dynamic system:
1. It should not be used when the tree’s structure is compromised. For example, if a visible crack has developed in the joint, or if the wood supporting the joint is decayed, steel cable and a support rod should be installed or the complete removal of the tree should be considered.
2. Arborists must inspect the eye splices every 2-3 years to make sure they are not choking the tree.
3. Synthetic material does not last as long as steel.

Below is a picture of the tools I use to install Branch Saver – I just carry everything in a bucket while in the tree. Tailor’s shears work best for cutting the abrasion sleeves. A long thin stick can be taped to the black rope to feed it through the abrasion sleeves in the tree. The small pointed stick can be fed into the end of the rope and taped to work as a splicing fid — although just taping a point works well enough.



When installed in the tree the cable should be taut, but not torquing the branch union. The way I set this up is by securing one end of the cable, then moving over to the other side of the tree and attaching a short piece of rope to the cable using a Blake’s hitch. Slide the hitch out an arms length and set up a 3-1 mechanical advantage to pull on the cable. Tie off this rope to hold tension while splicing the cable, and release when you finish.

Here is a picture of the mechanical advantage setup. Running a rope straight through the carabiner instead of a second pulley seems to prevent over torquing the union.


Here are a few pictures of some systems I’ve installed recently. Note that the splice loop should be resting on a branch to keep it from slipping down the trunk.


Fraser Teeple is an ISA and Ontario Certified Arborist who provides professional product reviews for Cutter’s Choice.

Product Review – Petzl Pantin Foot Ascender

A foot ascender is probably the most versatile, efficient, body-saving piece of gear you can add to your spur-less climbing system. It is a “rope grab” that straps to one of your feet, allowing you to do the work of getting up the tree with your legs, rather than your arms. What makes the foot ascender so versatile is that you can build it in to any climbing style, whether you are pushing a taut line up the rope or working with a micro-pulley and eye-eye prusik. A foot ascender is also a foundational piece of gear for climbing SRT (Stationary or Static Rope Technique).


Cutter’s Choice carries the Petzel Pantin  which is a low profile foot ascender that won’t get in the way while you are limb walking. The new design doesn’t pop off the rope the same way the old model did, making for a less frustrating ascent. It does work best with a small diameter rope such as cherry bomb or finish line, although it will put up with a full 1/2″ line — the rope just doesn’t fall through as smoothly.

Hot Tip! Choose a foot ascender that fits on the opposite side from where your chainsaw hangs. For instance, I hang my saw on the right side, so I use a left foot pantin. This means your saw won’t shred up the straps on your foot ascender while it’s hanging on your belt.

Fraser Teeple

Fraser Teeple is an ISA and Ontario Certified Arborist who provides professional product reviews for Cutter’s Choice.


How to choose the correct Arborist Climbing Rope?

Gone are the days when there was only one option to choose from for a rock solid climbing rope – half inch 3

strand rope. Now there are four major types of climbing rope, with variations in diameter. In this post I will

discuss which rope construction works best with the style of climbing that you might need to do.


12 Strand Climbing Rope:

Works well for traditional climbers who run their rope through a natural crotch in the tree (i.e. no cambium saver).

Soft feel; does not work well with mechanical ascenders or eye-eye prusiks. Holds knots well. If you are climbing

with a Blake’s hitch or Tautline, this line works great.




16 Strand Climbing Rope:

Most versatile construction. Works well through a natural crotch or friction saver. These ropes have a firmer construction than 12 strand,

so they work fine with ascenders, eye-eye prusiks, Blake’s/Tautline. If you don’t know which type of rope to get, choose this one.





24 Strand Climbing Rope:

For a “new school” climber — designed to be run through a friction saver/false crotch. Not recommended for use through a natural crotch.

Works well with ascenders and eye-eye prusik.




32 Strand Climbing Rope:

These are static lines designed for canopy access using Single Rope Technique (SRT) or working the tree SRT. They work very well with

ascenders, mechanical work positioning devices (Rope Runner, Unicender, ect.), and eye-eye prusik with a Rope Wrench. Since they have

less give/bounce than dynamic ropes (12,16, 24 strand) these ropes are dangerous to use with traditional Doubled Rope Technique (DdRT).

In DdRT the rope is doubled, effectively stiffening it up — if a climber falls into a 32 strand line that is doubled, there is no give, meaning a

very abrupt stop. However, if you are climbing SRT, this is your rope.




A Note on climbing rope diameter:

1/2″ is standard diameter climbing rope. Smaller diameters tend to work better with eye-prusiks, as climbers experience less binding during

descent. Additionally smaller diameters run through mechanical ascenders more smoothly. All climbing rope, regardless of diameter, must

conform to the ANSI standard of at least  5000 lbs Tensile Strength. All of the climbing ropes that Cutter’s Choice carries exceed this standard.


Fraser Teeple is an ISA and Ontario Certified Arborist and can be reached at his website:

Link to Fraser Teeple Web Site


Using Soft Rig Slings as a Canopy Lowering Point.

Fraser Teeple is a Professional Arborist  (http://www.fraserteeplearborist.com/) who provides blog posts and reviews new product items “on the job” for Cutter’s Choice.

The following product review is for the:

“SOFT RIG SLING” (http://www.cutterschoice.com/templates/product.aspx?ProductGuid=46870&GroupGuid=644)

Rigging rings have been on the market for about 5 years now, and many arborists are finding that for most lowering applications in the tree, they are safer and easier to set up and use than the traditional arborist blocks (or pulleys). In addition, their simple design means fewer parts to inspect and makes them a more economical option than a block and sling.

On testing out the soft rig slings for Cutter’s Choice,  I found the slight bit of friction added to the system by the ring made for a less-touchy system than the arborist blocks, making it easier for an inexperienced groundsman to add the right number of wraps to the port-a-wrap or other basal friction device. Most climbers have been in a situation where the limbs being lowered through a block are too heavy to go without wraps at the bottom of the tree, but will lock up with even a half wrap on the port-a-wrap — the rings solve this problem.

The only place I would choose a pulley over a ring is if I were to lift a limb or stem with mechanical advantage; here less friction is better. The other scenario I would look for a different setup would be blocking down a stem where wood is getting dropped into the ring. Here a straight sling that can be knotted allows for less slack in the system than the spliced eyes, which reduces shock loading.

As far as setup goes, I’ve included a few pictures of different ways to position the soft rig slings on different stem diameters. The rig slings are designed to be choked through the spliced eyes, not tied on to the stem. What I’ve shown here are some ways to manage the free tail of the sling so it does not get tangled in the rigging. The sliding outer jacket can be moved along the sling to protect it from abrasion. The red sling pictured here has an average tensile strength of 11 000 lbs — suitable for medium duty rigging tasks. For heavy rigging, the yellow or green slings are a better option.

















On a larger stem the tail can just be tucked out of the way, as you would finish a Timber Hitch.



On a small stem I like to take a few wraps before choking the ring — this reduces wear on the eye splice and keeps things out of the way



In this instance, you can see that the diameter of the stem and the spacing of the eyes make for some slack between the ring and the tree; this slight drop adds more force when the ring catches a log dropped into it. For static loading, where the ring is above the piece to be cut, this slack does not matter.


Overall, the soft rig slings are a durable, safe, economical, and easy to use alternative to an arborist block.