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.