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Author Topic: Pole saws  (Read 1829 times)

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Offline Stephen Alford

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Pole saws
« on: March 09, 2021, 03:10:11 PM »
   For quite a few years stihl made a HT 131 pole saw. Then they started producing a newer version called the HT133.  From what I can tell the newer model has a different style shaft and seems to be more plastic or maybe its some composite.  They were roughly the same price but now the newer version is running a couple hundred dollars cheaper. I borrowed one of the older style to try on the last job and they seem like a very useful tool. Worked well for pruning next to buildings and cutting trails for the tractor. Just wondering if anyone has any experience with these ?   Appreciate any insight as to use and maintenance.   Thank-you.
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Pole saws
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2021, 03:51:05 PM »
well.. i sorta built one to put on my 131 trimmer/clearing saw.  i bought a $20 knockoff head on a chance, not thinking it was even gonna be real.  i figured its a pic of the whole thing but will be just the part.  well.. it was the whole thing, shipped from an apartment in brooklyn in like 3 days, with new bar and chain for $20. standard chinese warfare.

i built an extension shaft and a driveshaft and a spline for it and its handy but in 20 mins mine started twisting the splines, which were made from weld on a piece of mild steel junk rod.  i can't say I'm surprised.  


there are 3 drive styles.  square drive here in america is standard, on a 1" OD pole.  then in europe they seem to have mostly used 7 spline on 26mm pole.  and now there is also a 9spline drive.  

my stihl has a 1" pole and .25 square drive.  i could not find ANY adaptation from square to 7spline.  the 26mm wasn't too big an issue, as a pipe tap threaded right into the chicom saw head and allowed it to be clamped to sch40 water pipe.  but thats pretty dang heavy.  you could find aluminum tube and use plumbing die to thread that if you can't find 26mm OD tube to build the extension.  

basically what I'm saying is there is no black magic in making a pruner attachment for your clearing saw if you have a lathe and basic metal skills. the 9spline drive is probably strongest but square drive is stupid easy to make with a piece of drill rod.  make sure you have a plastic bushing in the bottom to keep the driveshaft centered or its almost impossible to put the extension together.  the shaft will just lay on the bottom of the tube and never mate to the shaft in the power unit tube, which is centered by a bushing. 








Psalm 37:16

Offline Stephen Alford

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Re: Pole saws
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2021, 09:38:44 PM »
   Oh man now that's a "weapon" gives the ol line...headed for da roses.... a whole new perspective.    Maybe the cheaper model is European stock they are trying to move and have dropped the price because the square drive is more durable and preferred.  How do you like the bike handles as opposed to the D shape for working over your head. ?  
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Offline Walnut Beast

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Re: Pole saws
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2021, 10:46:58 PM »
  For quite a few years stihl made a HT 131 pole saw. Then they started producing a newer version called the HT133.  From what I can tell the newer model has a different style shaft and seems to be more plastic or maybe its some composite.  They were roughly the same price but now the newer version is running a couple hundred dollars cheaper. I borrowed one of the older style to try on the last job and they seem like a very useful tool. Worked well for pruning next to buildings and cutting trails for the tractor. Just wondering if anyone has any experience with these ?   Appreciate any insight as to use and maintenance.   Thank-you.
Those type work great. Ive got a power pruner its extendable like the Stihl. Its got a echo engine on it

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Pole saws
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2021, 10:58:11 PM »
 How do you like the bike handles as opposed to the D shape for working over your head. ?  
Well.. It's the only one ive ever tried and only for about 10 minites of actual work so i dont really know.  Its cumbersome but its also like 15ft long i think.  Its easier to use with the bars as pictured than when theyre perpendicular.  So my right hand is on the trigger and left hand is up on the pipe near the trimmer head to have some control. 
Its cumbersome to use for sure but maybe they all are to some extent. Id like to try a real one but i think theyre a lot shorter and all aluminum so not quite the same tool anymore.  No one asks a 16ft ladder to carry like a 6footer. 
Psalm 37:16

Offline thriceor

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Re: Pole saws
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2021, 10:52:31 PM »
I have an Echo/Koritz. Don't recall which model, but it it the fizz for cutting overhead.  Extends to about 15 feet, so yah gotta sorta be in shape.  Super reliable though.
...I'd rather trust a man who works with his hands,
He looks at you once, you know he understands...

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Offline Stephen Alford

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Re: Pole saws
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2021, 07:06:44 AM »
   Welcome to the FF thriceor . Is it for personal use or  do you do do pruning work ?  Pole saws are not that common here and there seems to be a bit of work for them.  Saws and operator get about 30/hr .   Any pics from your part of the world ? 
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Pole saws
« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2021, 07:12:25 AM »
Thats what i charge to run the clearing saw and in this part of TN thats what an RN makes.   Its more than double what my phlebotomist wife gets with 20yrs experience.   
Psalm 37:16

Offline Old saw fixer

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Re: Pole saws
« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2021, 10:31:09 AM »
     I have a Stihl HT 132 pole saw.  It adds about 7 feet to my reach and weighs around 13 pounds ready to go.  I purposely did not get the extendable HT 131, since I am not the powerful young man of my 20's any more.  All I need is to clear limbs that are in the way of cutting grass around the house and pond.  The pole saw is also good for clearing tangles of limbs and trees brought down by the recent ice storm.  I am a one man team and have to work carefully. 
     The 131 and 132 pole saws have a 36.3cc 4 Mix engine, with an advertised 1.9 bhp.   I am told that all the Stihl pole saws use the same saw head, all but the HT 250 come with that darn picco chain, the HT 250 comes with 3/8 picco chain.
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Offline thriceor

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Re: Pole saws
« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2021, 03:35:20 PM »
Thank Stephen.  It is for personal use, I have about 30 acres of woods I battle honeysuckle in.  It is an old PowerPruner.  What I meant to say is I can reach about 15 feet away, it probably extends to about 12 feet.  I'll try to get some pics.
...I'd rather trust a man who works with his hands,
He looks at you once, you know he understands...

Genesis- "The Chamber of 32 Doors"

Offline Stephen Alford

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Re: Pole saws
« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2021, 06:52:56 PM »
   Well Mr Mike that is the crazy part of it.  You can get 30 an hour with a chainsaw and  with a polesaw or commercial clearing saw like the fs 560 you may be able to get 40 an hour. They are not that common and folks don't want to put out a lot of coin for that kind of a saw. I am going to check and see if the rental places carry them.  For a tractor and implements and they wont pay 35 an hour...go figure.     The mentality these days is why buy if you can borrow.   :(

    Looking forward to your pics Mr thriceor.
   
    Good catch Mr fixer...checked today and the new HT 133 has that 1/4 picco. The HT 131 is a little more robust with the 3/8 picco.  That is more appealing.  I notice you have a stihl 261 c-m....would be great to get your opinion on how you find it performs.  Thank-you  :)
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Offline Old saw fixer

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Re: Pole saws
« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2021, 07:23:19 PM »
     Stephen, my 261 C-M is very smooth and starts easily.  Mine has the new type 3 carburetor control system that may have gotten rid of the earlier bugs like hard or no start and etc.  I wanted the 16 inch bar because it will cut anything I ordinarily come across in my timber stand improvement.  I do have options available if needed.  No buyers remorse here! 
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Offline Stephen Alford

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Re: Pole saws
« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2021, 07:32:39 PM »
    Good to know...I thought they might be nice for trim work. At the moment they have been on back order since November.  
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Offline VirginiaFarm

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Re: Pole saws
« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2021, 08:28:51 PM »
I stihl am a powerful young man in my 20s and I have the HT131. Fantastic pruning saw for getting higher limbs from the ground. One of my favorite uses is to drop lower cherry and oak limbs with it. I use it to cut around 20" long pieces so the firewood rains down and I don't have to use the chainsaw to cut smaller, unwieldy pieces. Also great for cutting vines, dead limbs. A great tool for timber stand improvement.

Have also used it to dispatch a fairly aggressive snake by the house one time. 

Offline thecfarm

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Re: Pole saws
« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2021, 10:18:53 PM »
I was looking at a battery powered one. This is a tool that I will use around the fields and than it will not be used until the branches start to bother again. I suppose I will use it on the woods roads too.  ;)
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Re: Pole saws
« Reply #15 on: March 12, 2021, 03:50:29 AM »
I use a manual Fiskars out on the woodlot. I can reach up a lot further, and fir branches are easy to cut. I have a 12' reach. A lot lighter to hold over your head. ;D Plus I can leave it out there.........well the bears do find them. Those crazy monkey bears. ;D

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Offline Stephen Alford

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Re: Pole saws
« Reply #16 on: March 12, 2021, 07:35:51 AM »
   Good to hear the endorsement Mr VirginiaFarm  for the HT131...man...you would really get attached to a fs560 clearing saw... :)

   Looked at the battery power one Mr Cfarm  .... they are not that  much lighter and I wonder how those batteries would stand up to snow and sub zero temps. Some of the work being discussed will be trail and driveway maintenance.  When we get one of those wet snow or just heavy snow events branches lower substantially. But it is also an opportunity to know what to trim.

   The one I had Mr SD did not seem to work well in hard woods. Here there is a highly sought after and much valued realty  asset ....water view.  Trees cant be cut but there are no provisions regarding...limbing... ;D   It is really quite a standing local joke...a small kiddies splash pool on the front lawn qualifies as a....water view ... when the home goes for sale. :D

Offline PoginyHill

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Re: Pole saws
« Reply #17 on: March 12, 2021, 07:53:33 AM »
I use a manual Fiskars out on the woodlot. I can reach up a lot further, and fir branches are easy to cut. I have a 12' reach. A lot lighter to hold over your head. ;D Plus I can leave it out there.........well the bears do find them. Those crazy monkey bears. ;D

(Image hidden from quote, click to view.)
Glad to know I'm not the only one that likes to prune spruce/fir - with a manual pole. Makes walking around the woods a bit easier and maybe someone will enjoy clear lumber someday. And it's the only workout my biceps/triceps will generally see.
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Re: Pole saws
« Reply #18 on: March 12, 2021, 08:18:59 AM »
Yeah, and the photo there is deceiving, because a lot of them knots are internodal shoots that come out the second year, and not whorls. ;D Long ways between actual whorls. ;) I only prune the special ones. As far as seeing around the forest the crown has lifted a lot naturally, with most them low limbs being dead. My ground was all thinned with a clearing saw 10-16 years ago: 2005, 2007, 2011. Growing like gang busters.
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Offline thriceor

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Re: Pole saws
« Reply #19 on: March 24, 2021, 09:18:16 PM »
  Welcome to the FF thriceor . Is it for personal use or  do you do do pruning work ?  Pole saws are not that common here and there seems to be a bit of work for them.  Saws and operator get about 30/hr .   Any pics from your part of the world ?
Stephen, here are a few pics:

 The neverending honeysuckle battle:
 

 the maple grove I've been thinning for a few years:
 
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Re: Pole saws
« Reply #20 on: March 25, 2021, 02:54:22 AM »
Are you getting any maple regen yet?
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Offline treemuncher

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Re: Pole saws
« Reply #21 on: March 25, 2021, 09:34:00 AM »
I'll cast a vote for the Echo dedicated Pole Pruner. I've had mine close to 20 years. Not fun to run but it is dependable and fast when the chain is sharp. Only repairs that I've made to it was the inner support bearing kit. 

It was about $600 when I bought it IIRC. In the long run, it was well worth it because it is so dependable.
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Offline Tom King

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Re: Pole saws
« Reply #22 on: March 25, 2021, 12:58:54 PM »
Mine was new in 1999, and I think it's an HT85, but don't remember exactly (eighty something).  It's still working fine.

The one I end up using the most stays in the toolbox on the pickup.  It's a cheap, 20V Ryobi.  It doesn't cut anything like as fast as the gas fueled one, but comes apart into three pieces that fit fine in the truck toolbox.  

Offline thriceor

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Re: Pole saws
« Reply #23 on: March 25, 2021, 01:22:56 PM »
Are you getting any maple regen yet?
No new growth that I've noticed.  I'm just trying to help the better trees get bigger and make the area look nice.  
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Pole saws
« Reply #24 on: March 25, 2021, 02:09:55 PM »





42ish yr old maple stump in wife's friend's backyard.  3/8ths to half inch growth rings from about year 10.  I dont know for sure what type but we tend toward red maple.  Very dark, moist, and thick topsoil. 





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Offline dustintheblood

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Re: Pole saws
« Reply #25 on: March 25, 2021, 10:47:19 PM »
Stephen, thank you for starting this discussion about pole saws, cause it really isn't about the saws themselves, its about TSI.

Admittedly, I am finally getting to that stage of micro management where I can really make those improvements to things that will yield dividends long after I'm worm food.

Leant my Stihl pole saw to a friend for the past week, and his only report was "dang that's heavy after a few hours use".  Will loop back and send the specs of my saw when it comes back this week.

On the upside, I like the new Stihl system I have where the main shaft is interchangeable with various implements.  I have a tiller head and a sweeper head that really make it versatile and cost efficient.
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Re: Pole saws
« Reply #26 on: March 26, 2021, 03:23:45 AM »

42ish yr old maple stump in wife's friend's backyard.  3/8ths to half inch growth rings from about year 10.  I dont know for sure what type but we tend toward red maple.  Very dark, moist, and thick topsoil.

Silver maple.
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Pole saws
« Reply #27 on: March 26, 2021, 05:42:51 AM »
What gives it away?
Psalm 37:16

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Re: Pole saws
« Reply #28 on: March 27, 2021, 04:33:15 AM »
Form and branching habit, mostly.

I had one home owner who was insistent it was a box elder in his yard because some old guy said so. I was thinning some of his ground out back and he thought he would test me. :D

Had some kids and their dad at another place wanting to test me. The kids had planted a hardwood tree in the yard. They knew what it was. 'Yellow birch', I said. Their eyes got big and smiled, 'How did you know?' I said, 'Magic. Here, taste this twig. Minty?' Them, 'Yup'. :D :D
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Offline SwingOak

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Re: Pole saws
« Reply #29 on: March 27, 2021, 04:52:05 AM »
Tree shape, bark, soil type, rate of growth - all say Silver maple.

Messy trees, and not much good for anything compared to other maples. 

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Re: Pole saws
« Reply #30 on: March 27, 2021, 04:57:07 AM »
 We were at our husky dealers yesterday to talk about a 345 saw that quit, at 2 to 3 hundred :o we decided to get Rita a small used saw that she can handle. The 345 was 16 yrs old not bad for a homeowner saw. Anyway while there we looked at the pole saws the smallest ones were $599.95 that was a shock to Rita so I didn't get it :(. She will have to ride in the bucket to trim branches with the pull type a few more times ;D.

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Pole saws
« Reply #31 on: March 27, 2021, 10:07:21 AM »
Everything is crazy expensive.  The poor keep getting poorer. 
Psalm 37:16

Offline Stephen Alford

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Re: Pole saws
« Reply #32 on: March 28, 2021, 09:51:42 AM »
   Well Mr SD had a chuckle after reading your post.  Back in the day of the Botany labs with Professor GR Powell and the twig identification test those of us at the back of the class went by ...bite ...marks on the twig not smell or taste. By the time any yb twig passed 28 young foresters there was not much left.   :D
   Now when push comes to shove on a ... Whats this test in some ones back yard full of ornamentals  ... my go to is ...Arctostaphylos uva ursi... They then ask what's that ?  I think of GR fondly and respond.. I don't know the common name I only studied the Latin. :D

Offline Old saw fixer

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Re: Pole saws
« Reply #33 on: March 28, 2021, 11:28:51 AM »
     I got tired of pinching the bar in the cut on larger limbs, so I got the angle drive Stihl sells for the pole pruners and hedge trimmers.  I have an HT 132 pole saw.  I didn't learn about the angle drive from Stihl, it was discussed on another forum.
     In my humble opinion, Stihl is missing a lot with their poor marketing, it may be on the corporate end via the sales rep, or there aren't dealers really interested making a few more dollars.  The fact that most of the local (within 50 miles) dealers are Ace Hardware, Southern States Coop stores and John Deere dealers doesn't help things.  Sure, they have stock on the shelves, but the sales staff should have experience with the tools they sell.  Now this is Mid Atlantic Stihl territory, other areas may be better.  And my years working in a saw shop that catered to loggers could have based my thinking....
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Offline Clark

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Re: Pole saws
« Reply #34 on: March 28, 2021, 10:56:09 PM »
    In my humble opinion, Stihl is missing a lot with their poor marketing, it may be on the corporate end via the sales rep, or there aren't dealers really interested making a few more dollars.  The fact that most of the local (within 50 miles) dealers are Ace Hardware, Southern States Coop stores and John Deere dealers doesn't help things.  Sure, they have stock on the shelves, but the sales staff should have experience with the tools they sell.  Now this is Mid Atlantic Stihl territory, other areas may be better.  And my years working in a saw shop that catered to loggers could have based my thinking....

Actually, that is why Stihl doesnt allow the big box stores to sell their products. Ive certainly met employees at Ace who knew Stihl saws and some that dont. I can guarantee you that no employee at Home Depot would have a clue about chainsaws.

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Re: Pole saws
« Reply #35 on: March 29, 2021, 04:56:32 AM »
Up here I avoid John Deere shops that sell Stihl. Only remember a parts man at the counter, and many times walk in and no one manning the shop at all. Forget service. :D I have to go to a saw shop and these days getting scarce. One here has changed hands twice after the long time owner retired in 2014. That fella knew his saws and he pushed sales/service big time. None of this coming back in 5 days for the saw, it was fixed pronto. Parts was most of the time there on the shelf.

The previous owner could not afford insurance, a lot of thefts. We'll see how the 3rd owner does this year.

Pruning trees in the yard and woodlot, I'll stick with my Fiskars. ;D
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Re: Pole saws
« Reply #36 on: March 29, 2021, 10:32:41 AM »
     SwampDonkey, I bet the Fiskars is much lighter, too!  How far up will the Fiskars pruner cut, and how thick a hardwood limb can be easily cut?  I understand the doubtful service, believe me.  I've seen and heard so much in my time....  I can fix it if I can get the parts, including the Motronic, if I had the computer program. 

     Clark, I agree with you, but that aspect isn't my problem.  My gripe is that Stihl parts and accessories are hard to find in their website, even the "Stihl guru" counter man at the Farm store couldn't find a 20" 3005 bar to fit my 036.  Come on, guy, don't you know it is the same as the bigger saws up to 088?  And no, I don't want to go back to work as a parts man, I am retired!  I guess it is hard to find employees who are interested in their job, other than the paycheck.
Stihl FG 2, Stihl 036 Pro, 017 (presently out of service), HT 132, MS 261 C-M, MSA 140 C-B, MS 462 C-M, MS 201 T C-M
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Online SwampDonkey

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Re: Pole saws
« Reply #37 on: March 30, 2021, 04:21:03 AM »
    SwampDonkey, I bet the Fiskars is much lighter, too!  How far up will the Fiskars pruner cut, and how thick a hardwood limb can be easily cut?  
I can go 12 feet high. I wouldn't want to cut a limb much bigger than 2 or 3", if I was cutting them for hours. I have cut bigger, but that becomes too much work if doing all day. I mostly have been pruning softwoods that heal fast, like balsam fir. Limbs not much bigger than 1".  Our fir here live longer, grow bigger than south of us because the land is more elevated. Fir don't like wet feet, even though they grow dog hair thick with cedar. They are like a bad weed. But they sure look nice, straight as an arrow. Smell nice to. :D
No amount of belief makes something a fact. James Randi


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