Hand tools the old way to go for a new frontier
The use of small hand tools in farming can be found all over the world, however in the 1st world many of these tools and skills on how to use, maintain and repair these tools have been lost. If you go to 3rd world countries you can still find these small hand tools still being used today, although western society is driving them out in replacement of small machinery, gripping them in the reliance on fossil fuel. The very interesting thing is almost everywhere you go around the world where they still use small cutting hand tools (sickles) you will find many different types of tools that are almost the same, very similar size and similar curved shape. The education in the correct use of such tools can help in reducing our reliance on fossil fuels. We all need to put away our small machinery and get back to our roots of hand tools. I have had many of conversations on the fact you can do more work in a shorter amount of time with small machinery when compared to hand tools. I recall such a conversation while I was working at the Permaculture Research Institute (Tagari Farm) many years ago and a challenge was put to me – who can cut faster me with my machete and my hook or the challenger (who had done council work as a brush cutter) with a brush cutter with a blade on. So the challenge was on setup on two different terraces of the same width with the grass the same height (was last cut at the same time with the tractor) and with a large audience we were off. From the get go it was neck and neck, by the middle it was still neck and neck, and when we finally got to the end some 45 minutes later it was still neck and neck and a tie finish. In a discussion after with the consideration that the more work you do the tireder you get for the hand tools and for the brush cutter the more the vibration affects you, we concluded that it would stay a tie all day with the possibility that the hand tools may come out better off than the brush cutter. This was especially considered when taking into account the fuel needed for the brush cutter. As well as the energy required in the manufacture of both pieces of equipment. Also after only 2 hours of using a brush cutter you start to damage your nervous system from the vibration.
Hand tools the old way to go for a new frontier. Do you know how to use them correctly?
Permaculture Tools runs a range of courses on the correct use of hand tools.
Permaculture Tools also sells a range of hand tools (more coming soon)