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What's Your Favorite Tool?

Posted by Lauren Braden at Mar 30, 2010 09:41 AM |

Every trail maintenance volunteer has a favorite tool, sometimes by the end of their very first work party. Mine is the shovel. I remember exactly when my fondness for this particular tool came about. We were working on the Old Sauk Trail near Darrington, building a portion of new trail to reroute hikers away from a massive washout along the Sauk River. There I was, scraping away soil and digging out rocks as I'd done all morning with my trusty shovel, when a fellow volunteer asked to borrow my useful tool so that he could move some dirt. I watched him walk away with that shovel, and never had it in my gloved hands again that day.

I learned a hard lesson on the Old Sauk Trail. No matter how kind and generous I may wish to fancy myself, I must never let my shovel out of my site. Never. Or I might get stuck chopping up roots with a Pulaski.

For some enthusiastic volunteers, that would be a real treat, of course-- spending the whole of an afternoon root-whumping with the axe end of a Pulaski.

On a work party with WTA, volunteers are encouraged to try all of the tools, from the McCleod to the grub hoe. They each have their own unique attributes, and some will be more useful in a project like honing new trail while others will reach their full potential for a crew that is building a rock wall support. (Of course, a trusty shovel excels in all areas).

For more on the tools we use for trail maintenance, see our handy guide to trail tools. To try them out, you'll need to volunteer!

So, what's your favorite tool to use on the trail?



Somewhere between a well sharpened, long handled combi tool and a folding cross cut saw.

Posted by:

Matt Thyer on Mar 30, 2010 09:53 AM


Cross-cut saw - there's nothing better!

Then the pulaski, then an axe - then rocks & branches and logs (leverage and pounding tools). Grub-hoe and McLeod are a tie. I'm horrible with the shovel - (I tend to shovel left-handedly, and all WTA provides is right-handed shovels).

My least favorite is the bucket. I don't even like to sit on them.

I'll get out more this summer - I have a flex schedule, so can come out during the weekdays and do a back country response here and there.

Posted by:

Kim Brown on Mar 30, 2010 10:54 AM

Favorite tools

The two person cross cut saw. Nothing is more satisfying than getting into rhythm with another sawyer and making quick work of a big log.

Posted by:

ScottDT1 on Mar 30, 2010 11:50 AM