Which is better? Straight or Curved? It's pretty easy - neither, and both. Silky straight blades have been the traditional choice or Arborists and Orchardists as they are a better choice for undercutting and are slightly easier to get into tight spaces. However a Silky curved blade will cut slightly quicker than a straight one, because the natural curve of the blade will 'bite' into the wood at the toe end of the cut as you pull the blade towards you, increasing the cut speed. A curved blade is also advantageous when you're cutting above your head. The blade will stay in the cut more easily and again the curve will naturally assist cut speed.
In the end however, it comes down to personal choice. And it's like the age old argument of Ford v Holden. You'll never convince everyone that one is better than the other, or which one they should have - but the users enjoy the benefits of working with a high performance tool regardless.
When you ask which one should you have, the key question is what kind of usage are you planning? If you're going to use the saw for continuous periods of time, then a sheath saw will probably be better for you. Sliding the saw into the sheath making both hands free to move branches etc is certainly an advantage. Sheath saws also tend to usually be longer in blade length, making them better for cutting larger limbs. However if you're just using your saw around the garden at home, then a smaller folding saw may be more suitable. Folding saws are also great for the car glove-box, or on the quad bike around the farm, and now very popular for the track building and maintenance crews and even the mountain bike rider.
For most of us it's nearly impossible to recapture the original edge on our Silky Saw, and therefore many people prefer to simply purchase a replacement blade. Most Silky blades are impulse hardened (the teeth and blades are heated instantly and hardened) and stay sharp about three times longer than non-hardened teeth. These blades are therefore incredibly difficult to sharpen. There are saw doctors with specialised machinery that can do it for you, but there is a cost to this.
Some Silky blades however are not impulse hardened, and more commonly the larger saws. For these saws, if you do wish to sharpen the blades, we recommend the Silky Feather Edge Sharpening File. This file is wedge shaped on both sides which allows you to get right in to the teeth of the blade.
Attached also is the Feather Edge File User Guide that shows you a list of Silky Saws that are sharpenable and the angles that you should be sharpening to.
Your secateurs are one of the most used tools for smaller pruning jobs, so you want to make sure you get the right one. The first thing to do is make sure you have a pair that fits your hand comfortably. Check that the handles don't open wider than you can stretch your hand, as secateurs that are too big for you lead to quicker fatigue while working. Once you've got that sorted, you then need to decide if you prefer a bypass or anvil pair?
What is the difference between Bypass and Anvil secateurs? And which one is best for you to use? There are two main types of secateurs, bypass and anvil.
Bypass secateurs work the same as scissors, having a blade that crosses another blade or anvil to perform the cut. Anvil secateurs work with one blade coming down onto an anvil.
Bypass secateurs are most suited for cutting jobs from deadheading to trimming thin branches, and the main advantage is they can cut delicate stems without causing bruising to the stem being trimmed.
The benefit of anvil secateurs is power. The wide point where the cut is made requires less force, making them great for cutting hard and dead wood branches. They can be used for everything that bypass secateurs can do, but are particularly useful for woody stems as they are less likely to stick to the stem.
Regardless of which one you choose though, you do need to ensure you keep the blades sharp to avoid crushing or bruising. And remember to also always open your secateurs and get the branch all the way in. This is the strongest part of the blade, and snipping wood with the tips can risk breakage, will stress your hands, and even dull the blade.
It's easier than you think! Keeping your tool blades sharp is essential in ensuring you get maximum results every time you use them. And it's true... sharp blades will make your job a whole lot easier!
For your secateurs, snips, hedge shears and loppers, there are generally two types of blades - Bypass and Anvil. On all of these tool blades you will see a bevel, which is the angle that ends at the sharp edge. This is what you want to sharpen, along the angle of that bevel. Bypass tools have a bevel on one side of the blade and anvil tools have a bevel on both sides of the blade. With a sharpening file of some sort (we use and recommend an Eze Lap medium grit diamond file), you want to follow the angle of the bevel and sharpen away from yourself. 9 to 10 strokes with your file along each bevel will bring your edge back quickly and effectively.
For sharpening your Silky Saw, refer to the FAQ above.
The recommendation we would give you is warm soapy water. This will remove most of your dirt and grime from your tool, but you really want to use this method immediately after using the tool. If you have more permanent or stubborn build up, you may need to use a little harder abrasive and cloth or brush.
We have a new product on our website - the Yanipika Resin/Sap Remover. This is an Alkaline cleaning agent with a combination of citrus extract oil, mineral water, surfactant, and corrosion inhibitors. A quick spray of this on your tools and blades, and they'll clean up nicely and easily.
Once you have cleaned your tools, remember to dry them thoroughly before putting them away. After you have cleaned them, we recommend a light coating of Camellia Oil, which is designed to give extra protection to your tools and blades.
We also have a General Tool Maintenance Guide that may help you further.