Trail Tool Time

Username2's picture

By Username2 - Posted on 02 October 2012

NB: Originally posted elsewhere on the Global Riders Network and appears via syndication.

On most trail build days the members of BMORC arrive with boot loads of digging implements and weapons of bush regeneration.

I thought it might be an idea to start a thread relating to our tools of choice and ways to maintain them, allowing other trail builders access to a wealth of knowledge and discussion.

I'll get the wheel rolling here.

My latest investment has been the Rider & Bell Rakho.

I bought it direct form the Sydney manufacturer a month ago and it has been great. So far it has been used around the house for various projects and on a Knapsack build day. So far not one tine of the rake has been bent and I am yet to sharpen the blade and as most of you know knapsack has its fair share of rocks.
My only modification has been oiling the handle with raw linseed oil as it does not come with any finnish.

This tool gets 5/5 grade reversals!

[Mod. moved to Blue Mountains trail advocacy]

Flynny's picture

In order of handiness

1. Bradshaw (fire rake/rake hoe what ever you want to call it)Best trail building tool.
You can get cheaper versions of them from bunnings but I brought a couple of old ones of the local fire brigade when they were updating.

2. Maddock

3. Bow saw

4. shovel (I like rounder nose ones cause they are easier to dig with but other like square mouth ones cause they are easier to shape with)

Not much maintenance for any of them other than the occasional sharpening to help cut through the tree roots

Ray R's picture

I'd generally agree with Flynny - but top of the list has to be more volunteers!

For cutting back the overhanging grass around the trail edges at Yellomundee, the good Honda 4 stroke line trimmers are great - that is if you can't get the Billygoat "Outback" self-propelled slasher there.

ChopStiR's picture

Use the right tool for the right job. Ideally I could carry them all.

My Preference is my ergonomic shovel, near straight tip with a flat base. Handy for digging, scrapping and compacting.

The Maddock is my second favourite tool, great for digging out chunks of hard compacted soil and African love grass.

I've yet to buy a McLeod (fire rake/rake hoe/bradshaw) Fantastic for raking/scraping the surface. (Not something I have needed much so far)

DigDig's picture

Yep RACKHOE an ADZES and a SHOVEL for ground work.Brick bolster scuch chisel 2lb hammer and a scuch hammer for rock work.Granpa tool no.6 and no.2 with folding saw and cutters for weed removal/regen.

moggio's picture

The humble shoe to kick stuff in when riding.. amazing what you can do.

Also in the backpack when riding taken a green shopping bag and trowel for touch ups... the bag allows you to carry quite a lot of dirt and the trowl scrapes quite a bit. Frustrating compared to mattock and rakhoe but better than nothing.

hawkeye's picture


J the B's picture

But I also use:

  • Wheelbarrow. Self-explanatory. I also have a heavy-duty bucket that I use for dirt when a wheelbarrow is too cumbersome.
  • Trolley. Excellent for moving large rocks around that are too big to lift.
  • Secateurs. Good for small pruning jobs, and essential for brush matting, so you can tuck the brush in properly and make it less likely to wander into the trail.
  • Rake. For raking the leaf litter off the trail.
  • Large sack. For putting the raked leaf litter in to use on any exposed dirt that's not in the trail tread.
  • Ground-sheet. For putting spoil on to re-use somewhere else. Also for vegetation that's going to be re-planted. If you don't use a ground-sheet when you dig, you usually end up leaving a big mess.

But the number one tool I want is a compactor like the one that we used at the IMBA workshop. It's better than using a rakho, as it's heavier, sturdier, and has a smaller surface area so gives better compaction. Anyone got a welder and has the means to knock one up?

ChopStiR's picture

Talk to Rory(the Original post), he made his own compactor.

moggio's picture

Yes there are lots of discussions on the best size and shape for the Rory Compactor. That was a great tool.

Chuck's picture

I don't a have a favorite trail tool. Maddock, rake, shovel, lump hammer, bolster/scutch/chisel. Plus I always carry my pliers and a screw driver as some habits are hard to kick.

Meh, I don't really needs tools, I can just organise you guys to do what I need done. Smiling

juggs's picture

i work for a company that wholesales erosion revegetation tree planting civil products
if any groups need anything more then willing to help out with either damaged stock or at cost etc
we direct import the majority of our erosion control or sediment control products

im not trying to plug the business and wont even give the name out can pick stuff up from my place in western syd if need be
please remove if inappropriate or im stepping on a sponsors toes

ex are jute mesh coir mesh silt fence star pickets coir logs treemats water crystals ag pipe and so on

HEC's picture

I was thinking a courier trolley (rubber wheels) could be useful to haul the bigger rocks around 'cause its lower to the ground.
That hand pick that somebody brought along was very useful too.

moggio's picture

We were using a trolly at Yellowmundee on the IMBA workshop and they worked quite well except for one blowing a tyre. Does save the back.

Kingy's picture

My boots and my grapplers

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