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General Forestry => Forestry and Logging => Topic started by: livemusic on July 16, 2019, 08:53:03 AM

Title: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: livemusic on July 16, 2019, 08:53:03 AM
I have tried to figure out the best tool for this. Once I clear a trail, small saplings and bushy growth appears. This also applies to clearing it in the first place, after you take out the larger saplings in the way, this stuff is left. At this time, I like my trails narrower than a logging road for aesthetics. I will have to go wider eventually if I need to get larger equipment in but that day is not here yet, if it ever comes. This is for hiking and I also ride them on my ATV. I tell ya, I have had a heckuva time determining a solution!

From manual hand tools to machines...

Condor Parang machete -- blade mass works great but you have to bend over too much

Martindale 30" machete -- bend over less but blade is too flimsy, a no go

Common sling blade -- works good on smaller stuff but tough hardwood saplings, no go

Heavy sling blade -- These do not have a support frame, the entire tool is shaped like a hockey stick. Supposedly, the head is heavier gauge. Reviews are not great and I have not bought one yet. This seems a great solution, swinging back and forth is less tiring than whacking, but I just have not found one with good reviews.

Loppers -- Work great but have to bend over too much

Common brush axe -- Works but too heavy for extended use

Light brush axe -- I have one ordered and on the way but have not received

Tractor/bush hog -- Would work fine but need small tractor

Walk-behind brush cutter -- Would work fine but trail is bumpy and it would work you just guiding it. A benefit is its brush/trail clearing ability from the getgo

Brush cutter behind ATV -- A definite solution if willing to spend a couple grand. Not as good for clearing ability because it's behind the ATV

Manual heavy duty scythe -- I bought one and it ain't cheap and there is no way you could swing this thing for a mile or so without being built like an NFL linebacker

Articulated hedge trimmer -- Seems to me this could work great. You'd swing it back and forth in front of you. I like cordless but even with two large batteries, not sure it'd be the thing, might need a gasoline powerhead. The problem with this device, if any, is it being tiresome to hold a large head swinging just above ground.

Power scythe -- Stihl makes the only one I've seen and it's about the same as their Articulated Hedge Trimmer but the blade/trimmer head is shorter. I have read a number of threads I have found via Google and still not sure whether an AHT or Power Scythe would be better. I think this device is only available with the Stihl Kombi kit and it ain't cheap. It's almost double the cost of a dedicated tool. The Articulated Hedge Trimmer is available in a dedicated tool. Of course, if you buy a Kombi setup, you could use more tools in the future once you buy that powerhead, whether gasoline or battery-powered.

Herbicide -- This might work but I don't want to use them unless I have to. Generally, I don't favor using chemicals.

Husky 345FR brush cutter -- I own one and this might work, if I could find all the parts to mine! I have never used it except for sapling clearing with a brush cutter blade like the Maxi or the carbide-tipped blades and it's a powerful machine. You can cut small saplings up to 3 inches pretty easily, and 1 to 2 inches it's pretty much instantaneous cut. I was thinking that the heavy grass blade might work. It's a 3 or 4 point/cutter blade, I can't recall if it's 3 or 4. The problem with the 3 or 4 point blade or the carbide-tipped blades is that they are only about 7 inches diameter. That isn't much blade that you'd be swinging (machine has a shoulder harness and handlebars). So, wondering if the string trimmer attachment could work. Is there any really heavy duty line you cut use for this? The machine using the trimmer head/line touts a 17 inch swath.

EDIT: I forgot...

Ride on brushcutter like Versatrac or Orec. Could be awesome, just expensive.

Lawnmower. I have wondered if you could beef up a mower, with heavier blade. A friend has a Bush Hog brand zero turn mower, says it has thicker blades. An option if could find used.

Sorry this was lengthy, but that's everything I have considered. If anyone reads all of this, wow, I didn't know it would take this much explaining! If you have an opinion or suggestion, thanks!
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: SwampDonkey on July 16, 2019, 09:00:05 AM
My trails are 8-12 feet wide, which are old roads and skidder paths. I use my brush saw to walk the trails every few years. I like to keep them narrow until the trees get big anyway. Once I have bigger spruce, fir and maple, stuff doesn't grow too much under, too shaded. I always go down my boundary lines to, cutting out any wind fall with chain saw and any whips that want to sucker in the line.
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: Hilltop366 on July 16, 2019, 09:14:16 AM
A similar situation at a camp except it is mostly open, rough ground that I bush hogged with the tractor and some places cut with a bush saw. We try to keep it cut back with old push lawnmowers but it is not ideal, bent a few blades and a crank shaft. I figure a walk behind course cut flail mower would be ideal but I will probably just drag the tractor and bush hog out there again. We did pull some bushes and small trees out with an atv a few weeks ago hoping they won't grow back as quickly. 
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: Okefenokee_D on July 16, 2019, 09:25:34 AM
Get you a Lane Shark mower
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: bluthum on July 16, 2019, 10:09:03 AM
I have extra long handles on a lopper that I use often. It gets used far more than some with regular length handles i have. Once I disked some of my fire lanes and they all get bush hogged once a year. Foot paths get manual trimming. 
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: florida on July 16, 2019, 10:28:27 AM
At our old hunting lease we had probably 50 miles of trails which we cleared every year. Of course we mowed the middle with a bush hog so that was easy. Two of us would fire up our weed eaters with blades and start down the trails cutting off the sides. The other guys followed throwing the debris into the woods. We could do 6 miles before lunch and then would do another couple after lunch. We tried to do the trimming in cooler weather so we could work faster. We typically would knock out the trails in 3 weekends. I later tried leaving the debris where it fell and mowing the trails and chopping the debris at the same time, that was much faster and easier.
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: Corley5 on July 16, 2019, 10:46:58 AM
Offset bush hog like a Bush Hog SQ84T.
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: Skeans1 on July 16, 2019, 11:04:51 AM
Another option is to rent a skid steer with a mower on it, we have one as well as an offset flail mower to maintain road ditches.
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: Crusarius on July 16, 2019, 01:04:04 PM
Walk behind sickle bar mower.

Personally I would just smooth the trails as best I could and try my luck with a riding lawnmower. But if I taco a blade or mess up the deck I take it into the shop and rebuild it or make a new one if its that bad.

I have used a push mower for a lot of heavy brush trimming. But don't buy one. look for one on the side of the road that probably just needs fresh fuel and spark plug. Then when you hit something and bend the spindle on it like I did you won't care :)
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: Raider Bill on July 16, 2019, 03:15:10 PM
I've got a few miles of trails I maintain. I 6' bush hog them generally 2 swipes wide or less or there abouts. I also have a pair of loppers on the tractor for the tall over hangs which I get from the seat.
Those trails that are too narrow or too steep [atv only] I use a weed whacker type machine [clearing saw] with a saw blade on it.

I do them twice a year.
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: gersus on July 16, 2019, 04:49:15 PM
I use a brush hog for the bigger areas. Fence rows, edges etc I really like my Stihl FS110 with brushcutter blade. No bending, cuts well, handles hitting rocks pretty well, and its fast compared to a chainsaw or loppers. 
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: Okefenokee_D on July 16, 2019, 06:59:28 PM
Lane Shark LS-3 Release Video - YouTube (https://youtu.be/qM2cYDlAOW0)
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: mjeselskis on July 16, 2019, 07:36:34 PM
DR All Terrain walk behind mower works great. If you can drive an ATV on it, it will mow it no problem
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: 62oliver on July 16, 2019, 07:52:05 PM
I used to cut mine by hand with axe and machete too, but getting too old and sore for that, have a skidder now. The chained tires do a good job of chewing stuff up and I drag a big old loader tire behind which looks after the middle. Then just walk along and toss sticks in the bush once in awhile, in a couple years you got a nice trail.
 Also skidding some firewood on them works wonders too.
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: upnut on July 17, 2019, 09:09:39 AM
I use a Swisher rough-cut trail mower behind the ATV, it's been durable and efficient. 

Scott B.
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: Ed_K on July 17, 2019, 06:37:38 PM
 Check out @sprucebunny (http://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?action=profile;u=1412) s brush cutter she built. sorry I don't know how to find thrd's for look up.
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: sprucebunny on July 17, 2019, 06:42:27 PM
The closest I got to making a 'brushcutter' was rigging up a way to run an old lawn mower to one side of my ATV. It was crude but cheap.  ;D
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: moodnacreek on July 17, 2019, 08:42:36 PM
For easy going a cub tractor with a c2 mower that is a swing blade, belly mount 42" mower. Go through once a year. Where I cot cedar [trees] I mow before I log, lots of barberry.
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: dustintheblood on July 17, 2019, 10:29:50 PM
For me, I started years ago with a pick and shovel and blind ambition.
Then I got a pretty fancy long handled snip
A few years later got a forestry trailer with a grapple (which digs rocks fairly well)
A few years later rented a mini excavator 
Then a few later a rented bigger ex with a thumb for a week
Now we have a box blade scraper behind the tractor

Point is, trails are an evolving project.  It all begins with the first shovel-full.
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: livemusic on July 18, 2019, 11:34:21 AM
For easy going a cub tractor with a c2 mower that is a swing blade, belly mount 42" mower. Go through once a year. Where I cot cedar [trees] I mow before I log, lots of barberry.
That's a pretty good idea! They are small and don't weigh much. I bought an old Cub last year but it's not running. And I don't know if I could find a belly mower in good condition. Might could find a Cub and a bellow mower together and sell mine for scrap, lol.
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: Crusarius on July 18, 2019, 11:51:31 AM
I have been trying to sell a pair of 108's with plows mower decks and snow blowers. You want to go for a road trip?
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: livemusic on July 18, 2019, 12:20:42 PM
For me, I started years ago with a pick and shovel and blind ambition.
Then I got a pretty fancy long handled snip
A few years later got a forestry trailer with a grapple (which digs rocks fairly well)
A few years later rented a mini excavator
Then a few later a rented bigger ex with a thumb for a week
Now we have a box blade scraper behind the tractor

Point is, trails are an evolving project.  It all begins with the first shovel-full.
What is that long handled snip mentioned above? Unsure what you mean.

This morning, I put in two hours doing it as I began... machete and a chainsaw.

Yesterday, I ordered a saw blade for my clearing saw / brushcutter Husky 345FR... a two blade shredder blade... kinda like a lawnmower blade that turns down on each end. Am very eager to try it. Mind you, I bought it mainly for clearing but am wondering if it will also suffice to swing back and forth like a scythe for maintenance.
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: sprucebunny on July 19, 2019, 11:05:48 AM
Ed-K had to write and remind me of another contraption...


(http://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/11412/SBnmsafteybar.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1364519250)
 
(http://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/11412/SBbrushsawthrottle1.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1456251431)
 

This is made out of an old MS180, an aluminum walker and some other scraps. You push it with your knee/leg and defend yourself from falling stuff with your left arm. The bar at the bottom makes it fairly safe  :)

In the second version, I made a plate out of 1/2" plastic that bolts to the bottom of the saw and made attaching the framework easier and more sturdy.
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: Orange on July 20, 2019, 07:47:59 AM
I have some shredder blades for my brush saw. Work petty well shredding woody stuff up to maybe half inch or so depending on hardness but will be slow going if trying to shred everything. Work fine side to side on small stuff also but really no better than a standard wood blade. If you maintain every year a trimmer head and string would work and likely faster. Mine cuts 20" swath and can take up to 0.105" string, no problem on new growth. Once you miss a year though you'll probably need metal blade. I've seen trimmer heads that accept 0.130" string. Never used myself so don't know if that would allow you to go two years. Also have seen 0.150" string but don't know if any trimmer heads accept it or if it's just for walk-behind trimmers.
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: Orange on July 20, 2019, 08:04:29 AM
Also, since you seem to be focusing on manual options, you could look into a large weed wrench to pull out woody stems with the roots so they don't sprout back. I would think that once cleared a few dozen aggressive passes with the ATV would go along way in keeping it open?

As with all things property maintenance, money saves time and more money saves more time. Those like myself without much of either don't have well-maintained properties!
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: SwampDonkey on July 20, 2019, 09:15:00 AM
That's why I like nature to inhibit that sprouting by having bigger trees with limbs over. But a real pain when snow shoeing because with 4 feet of snow your up into them lower limbs. :D
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: lxskllr on July 20, 2019, 09:38:54 AM
Also, since you seem to be focusing on manual options, you could look into a large weed wrench
 

Never heard of a weed wrench before. A quick image search lead me to this competitor page...

Pullerbear Tree Puller (https://pullerbear.com/purchase.html)

I like the low budget feel of the site. It looks like a small shop that (may or may not)have created a better mousetrap. Gonna contemplate the options, and see if there's a place for that kind of tool in my life. Looks like it could be useful. Anyone have hands on experience with this kind of thing?
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: livemusic on July 20, 2019, 11:09:19 AM
I have some shredder blades for my brush saw. Work petty well shredding woody stuff up to maybe half inch or so depending on hardness but will be slow going if trying to shred everything. Work fine side to side on small stuff also but really no better than a standard wood blade. If you maintain every year a trimmer head and string would work and likely faster. Mine cuts 20" swath and can take up to 0.105" string, no problem on new growth. Once you miss a year though you'll probably need metal blade. I've seen trimmer heads that accept 0.130" string. Never used myself so don't know if that would allow you to go two years. Also have seen 0.150" string but don't know if any trimmer heads accept it or if it's just for walk-behind trimmers.
Just yesterday, had a revelation when I thought of a walk-behind trimmer... like... hmmm... that might work if I could use a stiff enough line or blade. DR makes one, push only and also one that is self-propelled. I know for sure a DR walk-behind brush mower would work but it costs twice as much. I have found some threads where guys in Australia are talking about some badboy line and also blades that are not even available in the USA. I might could get somebody to ship me some.
Of course, as I said in the original post, I have a Husqvarna 345FR clearing saw that has a trimmer head that does 17 inch swath. If a stout line or blade will work with a trimmer, that is an option. The value of this below is a walk-behind trimmer might be less tiring. Especially self-propelled.
Here is a walk behind trimmer.
DR PRO XLSP Trimmer Mower (string trimmer) | DR Power Equipment (https://www.drpower.com/old/tr4-8-75-fpt-b-s-es-new-pro-xl-sp---ne.axd)
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: mike_belben on July 20, 2019, 07:18:35 PM
Started as a lawn tractor snow blade.  

The side boxes grub roots and eat banks. 

(http://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/20150603_171254.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1536271298)

The heel spurs also grab and grub stuff

(http://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/20150603_171325.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1536271261)

And the comb backdrags leaf litter and the duff without taking the topsoil. The angle irons are sharpened and angled down to cut small roots.  The comb fingers are just punch press slot knockouts. 


(http://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/20150608_145418.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1536271220)


Front mount flail and 8 way root rake have their place also. 

(http://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/20160722_131538_zps22nz89h8.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1512240480)


(http://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/43722/20160630_172349-1_zpser9n9q17.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1512240356)

Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: Crusarius on July 21, 2019, 08:57:21 AM
Mike, you don't do anything halfway? Do you?
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: mike_belben on July 21, 2019, 10:49:52 AM
Im good at things normal people arent and suck at all the rest.  Idiot savant-ish.  It has its down sides.
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: Cruiser_79 on July 22, 2019, 08:19:52 AM
My brother was looking for a front mounted flail mower for maintaining the trails around his fields on the farm. Powered by a B&S or honda petrol engine. Cause it's atv mounted it is faster and better suspension than a small tractor. And doesn't take much time travelling between farms/fields. 
 Something like this;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=9&v=qUI4TZR2dls (https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=9&v=qUI4TZR2dls)

Don't know or it is tough enough for brushes etc. but when you take it regular it could work. 
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: livemusic on July 22, 2019, 09:17:55 AM
My brother was looking for a front mounted flail mower for maintaining the trails around his fields on the farm. Powered by a B&S or honda petrol engine. Cause it's atv mounted it is faster and better suspension than a small tractor. And doesn't take much time travelling between farms/fields.
 Something like this;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=9&v=qUI4TZR2dls (https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=9&v=qUI4TZR2dls)

Don't know or it is tough enough for brushes etc. but when you take it regular it could work.
That is very appealing. An ATV is faster than a mower. In a description I found, it included "small trees" in the description of what it could cut. I don't about the hassle of... it's European... getting parts and service.

Hmmm... description also says, "Y-blades for rough use included in the standard flail mower delivery. Available accessories (pictured): hammer blades for a fine cutting result."

BTW, I was thinking just yesterday about this and it seems that any lawnmower might cut more brushy stuff than a string trimmer. The Bush Hog brand lawnmower with heavier than normal blade is intriguing.  I just wonder if it could work to buy an old junky riding lawnmower and find some heavier than normal blades.
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: mike_belben on July 22, 2019, 10:45:15 AM
The only big design difference between a finish mower and bush hog is that the ends of the bush hog blade fold in so tgat it doesnt stall the engine when it hits something immovable.  There is no reason why you cant make a bush hog blade to go ontocyour conventional push mower and then mount it on an atv with plow control to raise and lower. 
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: Cruiser_79 on July 22, 2019, 12:55:55 PM
If you van purchase a small pto driven flail mower it shouldnt be difficult to place a petrol powered engine on top. Than you arent depending on part delivery from Europe. Another idea that came up to me is a petrol powered hedge trimmer. Like the old tractor mounted trimmers for cutting hay. Same as on the header of a combine harvester. That should cut brushes to two inch without any problems. It doesnt mulch it but it will die anyway 
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: Cruiser_79 on July 23, 2019, 03:42:23 AM
Found the english word for the type of mower I mean; sickle bar mower.

(https://www.farmshow.com/images/resize.php?h=887&img=/images/articles/32/6/8587_l.jpg)
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: sprucebunny on July 23, 2019, 06:18:47 AM
My brother was looking for a front mounted flail mower for maintaining the trails around his fields on the farm. Powered by a B&S or honda petrol engine. Cause it's atv mounted it is faster and better suspension than a small tractor. And doesn't take much time travelling between farms/fields.
 Something like this;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=9&v=qUI4TZR2dls (https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=9&v=qUI4TZR2dls)

Don't know or it is tough enough for brushes etc. but when you take it regular it could work.
This would be my top pick. The side shift is very desirable.
I have about 10 miles of trails in various states of brushyness from just tall weeds to small trees and my 25 HP tractor with a bush hog type rear rotary mower works but isn't as agile as this or as fast and smooth riding to get the mower to where I need it. And the tractor/mower is just too long quite often and gets hung up in water bars.
Many of my trails are only intended for winter use or walking and the tractor is just awkward. This unit is much easier to transport and probably doesn't cost all that much more than a 5' wide rotary mower.
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: Cruiser_79 on July 23, 2019, 07:40:24 AM
And it looks fun to me  :D Better than bouncing around on a compact tractor. 
Prices aren't that bad either, and with some maintenance they should last long I guess. Only a B&S engine and some V-belts. 
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: livemusic on July 23, 2019, 11:44:28 AM
Cruiser, that is a cool home made sickle bar mower. My first thought about a sickle bar mower was some occasional tall root knobs/stumps might pose a risk of hitting but you could just saw them off with a chainsaw ahead of time. Plus, the sickle bar mower you posted has upturned end rails as guides. This and the ATV flail mower would certainly work. I wonder what is more reliable... rotary blade, sickle bar or flail. I first couldn't recall what drives a sickle bar but I think I see a belt on what you posted. I guess a regular sickle bar behind a tractor runs off PTO. Anyway, wondering what is reliable... what is more likely to keep on going when running through the occasional (or pretty regular in some spots) saplings.

I don't know if I mentioned in this thread, maybe I did, but I ordered a Milwaukee cordless combi set. I got an articulated hedge trimmer attachment (like a sickle bar mower blade) for free when I bought the pole saw kit. Both tools and the entire battery kit were $400. The downside here is limited run time from a battery but I figure I might tire after a half hour or so anyway and in a half hour or so, I could get quite a bit of trail maintained. Also, will get a spare battery if I like it. It hasn't arrived yet. I need these tools around my house, as well.
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: Crusarius on July 23, 2019, 11:50:54 AM
The old school sickle bars were horse drawn and driven off the wheels. Most of them now exist as lawn ornaments. I have toyed with the idea of modifying one for my 3 pt hitch on the tractor for a very long time. now I wonder if just making it walk behind would be smarter?
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: Hilltop366 on July 23, 2019, 12:10:01 PM
I wonder what is more reliable... rotary blade, sickle bar or flail.


I would rate them in this order (most reliable (toughest) and least maintenance first)

Rotary Bush mower
Flail with rough cut hammers
sickle
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: btulloh on July 23, 2019, 12:36:58 PM
This is good topic and there have been some interesting posts.  The front-mounted flail on the ATV looks like a good tool, as do some of the others.  I like Sprucebunny's chainsaw contraption.  Very nice.

I wonder if any of the sickle mower proponents have used one of these, either for mowing hay or for trail maintenance.  They tend to be temperamental and I'm not sure what they can handle in the way of saplings.  Not to mention running into trees you're cutting between.  I'd like to see someone using one for trail maintenance successfully.

I'm still looking for the perfect tool, without spending a lot of money.  I've used most of the things mentioned here that work but need improvement.  Bush hog, chainsaw, trimmer, polesaw, Triclopyr, . . .  No perfect answers.  

If somebody wants to try a sickle mower, I don't recommend starting with an old McCormick horse-drawn, like the venerable #5.  Around here, you can buy much newer sickle mowers for almost nothing and you could find a better platform to start than the old McCormicks.

My problems are compounded by waiting too long.  If I did all the trails in a timely manner things would go a little better, but it just doesn't seem to work that way.  My little sprouts become saplings and then 3 or 4 inch trees before I get to them.  

Nice replies and a lot of good ideas thrown out so far.  More to come hopefully.
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: Crusarius on July 23, 2019, 01:20:02 PM
I have used the horse drawn sickle bar being towed by a tractor. It would cut off up to almost a 2" tree. Anything over that you better hold on cause your going for a fun ride since the tractor did not stop as fast as the sickle bar did :) 

The biggest issue with sickle bar I can think of is the fact it cuts off right at the base and then the weeds or whatever just drop. That means now you need to do something to clean the trails like a york rake or something else. Just an extra step or you let it lay where you dropped it and hope it keeps the trail from growing again.
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: thecfarm on July 23, 2019, 01:52:03 PM
I had a frail mower. We mowed A LOT with it. I think about 4-6 acres. Did not hold up at all. Was not just the hammers,went through a set a year,but the shell of it I had to do some welding on. But did do a nice job. I went through 3 set ups,2 mid mount mowers,one Kubota and one NH and a frail. Now we are using a bush hog. So far so good on the bush hog, Ask me in 2 years.  ;) 
I myself would like the sickle bar better. But as said it does not ground up the brush and would make a tripping hazard and than some. Sickle bar would ride up over the rocks and low stumps. I have rocks that are in the middle of my trails.
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: John Mc on July 23, 2019, 03:38:38 PM
I just wonder if it could work to buy an old junky riding lawnmower and find some heavier than normal blades.
 

It's not just the blades. You break a lot of hubs in the mower deck when you try to use a riding lawn mower as a brush hog (speaking from experience here, for a couple of years before I finally bought a tractor and brush hog).
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: Cruiser_79 on July 23, 2019, 03:43:45 PM
All 3 (flail mower/sickle/rotary mower) are belt driven, so unless you tighten them real hard they will slip when there are too thick saplings. Problem with the sickle mower can be that the blades break. But you won't cut hundreds of acres with it, so it should hold up for a while. And I know some farmers who trim hedges with exactly the same mowers to 1-2 inches without any problems. 

A sickle bar mower is the cheapest version I think, and the lightest. The flail mower will go to at least 4000 $ I guess, and can't be real heavy duty to keep it under 100 kgs/200 pounds.... 
You can order new sickle mower parts to build a new one, or let a welding/mechanic shop do it for you.  The PTO driven sickle mowers work at 540 rpm (here in Europe), with some different size pulleys you will be able to find a good ratio probably. 
Maybe this fall or winter I will have some time to make a sickle mower for cutting out the first meter of the ditch slopes. 
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: krusty on July 23, 2019, 04:44:44 PM
I am really fond of the bush hog for durability, but the tractor is only a 2x4 and is not ideal. Had a skid steer out with a bush hog like thing on the front and it was not nearly as powerful as my IH B414. But the tracks on the skid steer were a bonus. 

Would love to create some self powered bush hog that I can pull with my tracked bombardier. Its pretty easy to procure half dead smaller tractors to try and convert into something that could be pulled. It is on my to-do list. Maybe using a hay wagon setup, build a cradle for a tractor motor, tranny and PTO. No need to tractor tires and the weight would be better distributed.

Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: btulloh on July 23, 2019, 05:49:07 PM
A zero turn with a bush hog style rotary cutter deck would be really nice. Id want a fully enclosed cab though.
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: Okefenokee_D on July 24, 2019, 08:27:46 AM
The lane shark is something I may eventually get to put on my tractor.
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: thecfarm on July 24, 2019, 12:49:45 PM
That lane shark looks like quite the unit!! 
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: mike_belben on July 24, 2019, 02:02:00 PM
A zero turn with a bush hog style rotary cutter deck would be really nice. Id want a fully enclosed cab though.
Thats the plan.  33" loaded ag rubber, toro ZTR fairway chassis, car engine power and a mad max cab.  Like a bell and a fecon made the love. 
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: Crusarius on July 24, 2019, 02:04:07 PM
I have a 4.0ho straight 6 I can donate to the cause :)
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: mike_belben on July 24, 2019, 02:14:37 PM
Speak of the devil.  I actually have a cracked head in my 99 XJ trail rig.  Been sittin up north a long while now. 
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: btulloh on July 24, 2019, 02:22:00 PM
Go for it!
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: Hilltop366 on July 24, 2019, 02:58:58 PM
Altoz TRX - Go Where Others Can't - YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3aICIlu59A)
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: livemusic on July 24, 2019, 04:38:37 PM
Altoz TRX - Go Where Others Can't - YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3aICIlu59A)
I saw that awhile back. I don't think I posted it. Cuz I think it's, like, $20,000.
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: moodnacreek on July 24, 2019, 07:00:44 PM
I am a big fan of side [mid] mount sickle bars. This because they reach out and get under things. There is a lot of maintenance. I do ledger plates and wear plates all the time. Today you can get extra heavy, bolted knife assemblies that last in small brush. Of course I have a brush hog to do the first season.
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: thecfarm on July 24, 2019, 09:01:58 PM
We had a sickle on the 1954 NAA Ford. That was mid mount mower. Took almost a day to put it on and all the tools you owned and 2 floor jacks. ;D But all you had to do was look to the right and it was there. It could also be used in any position. So you could run it straight up and mow the limbs beside the woods road. But with only about 8 inches of clearance,not something to head out in the woods with.
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: gspren on July 24, 2019, 09:44:11 PM
David Bradley, Gravely, and others made walk behind tractors that had sickle mowers as an available attachment. The Gravely also had a heavy duty front rotary mower available, they are rugged.
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: mike_belben on July 24, 2019, 09:49:16 PM
The gravely unit is just a stiff blade, not even a bush hog setup.  DR Power makes a walk behind too.  

20k will get you a D4 and a rootrake and thatll make all the trail you want. 
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: Hilltop366 on July 24, 2019, 10:14:30 PM
Altoz TRX - Go Where Others Can't - YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3aICIlu59A)
I saw that awhile back. I don't think I posted it. Cuz I think it's, like, $20,000.
Looks like they start at $12000, Yup I only posted because a zero turn bush hog was mentioned and I thought they were kinda cool. 
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: YellowHammer on July 24, 2019, 10:38:36 PM
In order of massiveness of destruction for our farm.
True bushhog Bush Hog.  Massive.  Advertised by our dealer, if your tractor can run over it, this will cut it.

Herbicides - I use this a lot.  I have a boomless sprayer, mounts to a tractor.  The boomless sprayer will shoot out a 55 foot fan, and can be set to spray everything from about 5 feet up in either side and down, just a large arc of poison.  Works great.  Fill up the tank and drive on.  They make them for ATVs also.  Definately the least amount of sweat involved.    

Zero Turn Mower - actually works pretty good, as long as there isnt much poison ivy.  Very fast.

Im looking at the Lane Shark, I asked my dealer to make a few calls and we will see what he says from other dealerships who rent or support them.  
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: mike_belben on July 25, 2019, 07:14:46 AM
Speaking of, whats the best poison for poison oak ivy and sumac?  Bonus points for cheap and on the co-op shelf. 
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: Crusarius on July 25, 2019, 07:21:04 AM
I just used roundup for the poison ivy. spray the leaves once and in 2 weeks it was all dead. Has not come back since that was 3 years ago/.
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: thecfarm on July 25, 2019, 07:28:52 AM
I use Gordon's. Buy it at Tractor supply on sale. No idea about co-op prices. If the poison ivy is out in the open,I can kill it. Brought back some of the farm and had a stone wall that was covered in it. Kept that wall barren for 2-3 years,just to be sure. If it was green I sprayed it.But I have some on the edge of the field,it growing in the woods. Can't seem to kill that. My father fought it for his lifetime and so am I. I can think I have it gone,but than I can see it coming back again.
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: g_man on July 25, 2019, 07:28:18 PM
We have all kinds of trails and woods roads and lots of rough ground. For maintenance I use a 4 Wheeler, chain saw, loppers, pole saw w/rope lopper, and a heavy duty Fuerst 42" BushHog. Works good for me. Too bad Fuerst went out of business. I don't believe Swisher or DR equipment would last long around our place - to rough.


(http://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/21065/BushHog.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1394578578)
 


(http://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/21065/P1190917.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1564096237)
 

gg
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: livemusic on July 28, 2019, 02:37:05 PM
Holy cow, look at this! Never seen one of these backpack chainsaws, wonder are they selling wherever they are available? Europe, Canada? Built for thinning forests. This looks awesome for trailbuilding. Hmmm, probably not available in USA due to no demand? I doubt there is much thinning here. But for me... might want one!

Would be interesting to see how it fares versus a brushcutter clearing saw. This backpack chainsaw gizmo looks to cost $1,500 to $2,000 USD? Of course, a top of line Stihl clearing saw costs $1,300 or so. Anyone know about this thing?

Backpack Chainsaw - new opportunities for forest spacing - YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkRaYwPpOu4)
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: livemusic on July 28, 2019, 03:11:41 PM
And here is a battery powered backpack chainsaw! At about the 2:30 mark, he is, basically, doing what I do when clearing a trail. Of course, there might be larger stems as well as vines.

Skogsmagasinet testar fossilfri röjning - YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAJcydnyB0M)

I got the Milwaukee kit in; I bought the pole saw kit and was lucky that I kept 'surfing' online, as I found a place that had a deal where you get a free attachment with the purchase of a kit. The kit is one of the attachments, the motor part, battery and charger. I chose the pole saw kit and my free choice was the articulating hedger. Both work great! The pole saw has an extension and the whole pole saw is pretty long with the extension. It has a simple harness; you put your head and right arm through and it offers some support. It's still pretty heavy even with that. But wow, does it cut! I didn't even realize it has a low speed and high speed and heck, I was impressed with low speed and then I found the high speed button! It cuts great.

The articulating hedger trimmer gizmo works great for clearing new trails of small saplings and maintaining the trails. I think it said it could cut up to 3/4 inch? Not if it's oak, I tell ya. Oak and a few other hardwoods have really tough saplings. I'd say maybe 5/8 inch. And some saplings are just uber tough. But for most, it will get them. When "mowing" a trail after it's been built, I just wave it back and forth in front of me and it gets pretty much everything clean as can be.

But... the Milwaukee kit (and other brands would be the same challenge) is pretty hard on your back because these things are not light and are a bit unwieldy.

I got a big battery and it lasts longer than my back, I guarantee. Real good run time length, actually, it's impressive.
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: Hilltop366 on July 31, 2019, 12:47:33 PM
Another option, requires very little power to run but does not mulch.

https://www.cutthat.com/product/sabre-samurai-cutter-2/ (https://www.cutthat.com/product/sabre-samurai-cutter-2/)
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: dustintheblood on July 31, 2019, 09:53:54 PM
Well after couch-viewing all this talk about bush trail work, the mrs and I hopped in the tractor for a midnight toodle through the woods to see the fireflies at night.  Well didn't I spend more time lookin at all the work to be done brushing and popping out rocks.

Loading up in a couple of days to do the annual work.  Hoping for some wet weather to loosen up the stones and make them easier to get out.

This round's going to be using the box scraper a bit more to really make things purdy  8) 8) 8)
Already did a couple of passes with the ripper teeth set way down low. Now it's a no teeth pass, and some good old fashioned shovel work. 

Have a fresh new blade on the big Stihl trimmer - ready to go.

Now all I need is temps below 100F and a few million less bugs ---- then stand back and watch me go!!!!
Title: Re: Best tool to maintain trails
Post by: livemusic on August 03, 2019, 11:04:10 AM
I hired a guy to help install a water line and he does yard work, so, he did a little trimming around my trees. He has an Echo PAS 225 2-stroke. It's only 21cc powerhead. I just looked it up and it looks like it's a combo device; you can put on different attachments. Anyway, he was just using the string trimmer with .095 line. Hmmm... I was surprised what he got done with that trimmer line. There were wiry little saplings, small, yes, but wiry. Oak and privet, cat briars, etc. He went right through it and cleaned it up to the ground. These little saplings are probably 1/8" or less but tough. It seems you could find some uber tough line, maybe from Europe, or some kind of plastic blades that would cut even tougher stuff. Point is, it could be that my 45cc Husqvarna 345FR brush cutter clearing saw, which came with a trimmer attachment, could suffice for trail maintenance of small growth. If so, that's a solution unless I get way more trails. With a lot more trails, that brings me back to previous talk about something one could ride, like a riding lawnmower or something to pull behind the ATV.

One thing interesting about his little trimmer was it was light enough he could use it with one hand. Light enough, he didn't even have a harness.