White Ox Logger Gloves for heavy duty use

Saturday, June 22, 2019
white ox protection gloves

Genuine White Ox gloves for logging and heavy duty work

I saw this picture on Reddit and I just knew we had to cover it on The Tool Yard.

The original poster of the photo said:
"Firewood cutting on Tuesday. I felt a tug on my glove while loading a 6’ white pine log in my truck. It wasn’t until I got home that I noticed this hole. You can imagine what my finger would’ve looked like, had I been barehanded. It’s not easy to rip open a White Ox logger’s glove."

review white ox glove
Seeing as this glove did its job and protected the dude's hand while loading pine after cutting wood, I thought we should check this glove out. 

And it turns out, this is the kind of gauntlet style glove that serious working men and women use for carrying work, rigging, welding and all kinds of duties like equipment handling and have been made for 70 years by North Star. 

Let's be clear, the White Ox Glove is a top of the line glove that one uses every day when the construction or farming job demands a safe pair of hands. 

North Star's gloves have become the name brand that people turn to for protecting their fingers on the basis these gloves do the job you want them to do. Like when welding, gotta keep those sparks at bay!

Usually sold in bulk by the dozen, because all gloves eventually do wear out when used by hard-working people.

Here's the design description:

  • 100% cotton; fourchette pattern (the most comfortable of glove patterns)
  • Double ply quilted palm equates to construction from canvas of 22-ounce thickness
  • 10 oz. canvas smooth back; knit wrist. 
  • Fuzzy nap both inside and outside. 
  • Reconfigured index finger seam gives the same protection as wrap-around construction.
  • Fast red dye for printing does not bleed. 
  • Gauntlet style
  • Near leather hand safety for the price of canvas!
  • Have elastic banding
welding gloves best
The gauntlet is ideal for using when welding

Don't let the hype sway you, check out these genuine reviews from actual users on Amazon:

"Boxy at first. I’ve found that it helps to get them wet and wear them until they’re dry to speed up the break in period. Once they shrink, they are a truly custom fit. Easy off and on. Tough gloves. Very glad I discovered these. Much cheaper and way better than the work gloves I was wearing."

"These gloves are tough, well fitting, comfortable, and with double layer construction they provide some good thermal insulation also."

"Favorite gloves for logging and sawmilling."

"I'm a rig lizard, these are great".

"Exactly what I expected. Good quality, cheap work gloves best suited for hard use and if you end up getting them saturated in bar oil / sap / gas / nasty stuff, you can toss them because they aren't that expensive and you have 11 other pairs in the truck."

"More expensive up front, but more comfortable and far outlasts other cotton gloves."

"All good quality gloves are expensive, however I have used this brand for over 50 years and I still prefer them to all others. I choose this site as it provided the best price. I expect that at my age, this bulk price quantity will out last me."

If those reviews do sway you, check out the price on Amazon!

Hand sizing is across the board so you be able to find a pair that fits. If you don't have access to Amazon and you're feeling blue about that, you can always try Lowes or Home Depot.

Why are White Ox gloves made of cotton?

You were thinking if you want the best welding gloves or heat resistant gloves, they wouldn't be made of cotton right?

It almost seems counter-intuitive as cotton can burn as fast as paper can under the right conditions.

The reason these gloves are made of 100 percent cotton is because synthetic gloves will tend to melt under heavy heat conditions. Given cotton actually has relatively good thermal properties, they do the job that's required.

There are other more durable gloves that can handle the heat on welding jobs and the like, however cotton gloves also provide the dexterity that many users need.
Chainsaw Gloves

There are plenty of gloves that offer more safety protection if you have a big chainsawing job at play. While you sure can use White Ox, gloves like Husqvarna's saw protection gloves are ideal if you are a regular user of a chainsaw. Once you've done your cutting, switch them out with your White Ox for easier grip and throwing!

How to choose the best chainsaw for your cutting needs

Sunday, June 16, 2019

You need a fallen tree cut & cleared.

You need it cut down today because it has fallen over your driveway and you need to get the car out.

So what do you do?

Grab that chainsaw and cut it up for firewood?

Ideally, you would but seeing as you are here looking for the best chainsaw to help you out with that situation, let's help you choose the best chainsaw for your needs.

In this case, we presume you are a homeowner, renter, back yard enthusiast, weekend warrior kind of user. You want a chainsaw to cut down the odd tree on your section, and chop out branches that are poking out awkwardly across the driveway or hindering your view.

We'll focus on the best range of chainsaws that can you might want to have tucked away in your shed for such occasions and safety industrial chainsaws for cutting down forest pine for another day.

Here are some questions that you may want to think about when trying to decide what is the right kind of chainsaw to buy:

  1. Am I experienced enough for this particular chainsaw? Basically the bigger the chainsaw, the more experience you need. 
  2. How often will I be using the chainsaw? Maintenance is a bitch. Sharpening. Chain stretching and maintenance. If you're doing very simple yard work, a smaller saw is for you, perhaps a battery powered saw?
  3. What type of wood will I be sawing most often – hard or soft? If you're cutting down apple trees, you don't need a beast of machine. Chopping out redwoods, well...
  4. Does the size of the trees I want to cut matter? Understand this: a 30cm guide bar can cut almost twice its length – that's about half metre diameter log. If you wanting are cutting big trees that have aged many years and you're reading this page, you're an amateur so you might want to get a pro to fell your trees...

Only ever buy a chainsaw with a chain break

The first choice you are going to make is one of safety. A chainsaw is not a toy. It is a killing machine if you screw up and cur your femoral artery in your thigh and you bleed out in the middle of a forest

You must only ever buy a chainsaw that features a chain break.

This is a safety feature that will prevent the chainsaw from cutting your arm or eyeball out if you get what's called a kick back, which is when the chain catches and the force causes the bar to raise up towards you at a speed your brain cannot comprehend.

If you are buying a second-hand chainsaw then you need to really check that it has a chain break.

Most new saws on the market will feature the safety measure as it's the law in several countries, however, older units which have been sitting gathering dust in a shed for a 10 - 15 years will not necessarily have a chain break.

If you think we are being pedantic and overzealous with this safety caution this simply Google something like "chainsaw kickback accident face" and check out the horrific images of facial injuries.

Will you use petrol or an electric chainsaw?

The second choice you might want to actually consider is whether you buy a gas or petrol powered electric (battery powered or corded)

Each has its merits and drawbacks.

Petrol chainsaws will need more maintenance and fuel and oil but can go all day and are a bit more portable in a sense.

Electric battery powered chainsaws need less maintenance but their batteries will wear down meaning you'll need spares if you have a big cutting job to do. You do still need to use bar oil with an electric chainsaw.

If you think a battery powered chainsaw doesn't have the balls to cut wood, they do. Check out how well the DeWalt 60V FlexVolt chainsaw performs on the length of a fallen tree:

Which means it will do the job if a tree indeed falls over your driveway and you want to clear it after the storm...

Corded chainsaws will never tire but you're stuck with operating them only when they can be connected to mains power and, like with an electric lawn mower, you need to be careful of the cord when using the machine.

We flesh out the discussion on gas or electric chainsaws here.

If you've decided you want the good old two-stroke gas engine (so you'll need to mix gas with oil), them read on for what are some ideal choices for the beginner or semi-confident user.

Despite what you may have heard:

Size matters when it comes to bar length and engine power

The 'power' or length of the chain bar is often used as a means to 'value' a chainsaw in terms of its performance. In a sense this is true but the reality is you do not need a 20-inch bar if you are not going to be cutting down 20 inch trees and are probably an actual arborist.

Makes sense right?

If you are just going to be doing home handyman type tasks, a  12-inch bar is an ideal starter length for you. This is because they are fairly easy to maneuver into place and they can get in to tricky, small spots more easily and safely. If you want to meet midway, you can always have a crack with a 16 inch bar.

The weight of the chainsaw is a real factor too. Unless you have arms of steel like Superman, you will suffer arm fatigue and you will probably find a few muscles in your back that you didn't know existed as well. Standards to reason, a lighter chainsaw is suited to the learner so you can focus on cutting efficiently rather than worrying about holding it up!

The same can be said for engine size. You probably don't need a 70cc engine (which can in effect be stronger than a moped motorcycle!).

You probably actually might want to consider the Husqvarna 14 inch 120 Mark II:

best husqvarna chainsaw under $200
Husqvarna is a tied and true brand of chainsaw, known for quality.

Husqvarna knows their target market and this machine is just perfect for beginners and homeowners who aren't professional lumberjacks. They have also given it a nice price at under $200 bucks.

  • It's designed to start up easily, just learn to use the choke properly.
  • Has the chain break feature we mentioned above.
  • It's quite ideal for everyday backyard tasks such as tree pruning, hobby work or firewood cutting
  • The chain tension system allows for quick adjustments on the fly
  • Ideal for light duty, light-duty, occasional trimming and pruning tasks
  • Husqvarna offers a three-year warranty!

Best battery powered chainsaw under $200 bucks

If you want the same kind equivalent tool as above but battery powered, Dewalt has you covered with their 20 volt Max XR 12 inch. It's a deal at under $200 bucks.

dewalt best electric chainsaw under 200

This yellow and black beauty is a smaller and easy-to-use saw which is designed for home use by weekend warriors and odd job specialists who will use the saw a couple of times a month or season. 

If this sounds like you, we suggest you check out the delivery options on Amazon:

DEWALT DCCS620B 20V MAX XR Compact 12 in. Cordless Chainsaw (Tool Only)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 by 586 reviewers on Amazon.com

Using medium size chainsaws for serious wood cutting

If you're a seasoned 'around the home user' and you want to sneak out to the back blocks and log some felled timber, then it might be time to consider moving up into what we could call a 'medium range' chainsaw. 

We're thinking you've probably used your original saw many times and have a good knack for using it. 

You're experienced enough using it that you can make good clean cuts but now you really want to be able to literally able to sink some metal teeth into some big trees - winter's coming and you want that woodshed full!

We're talking about chainsaws that have blade sizes between 14 to 18 inches, with engine displacements of 40 to 50 cubic centimeters (CC). These kinds of engines are a serious step from lighter use electric saws that's for sure!

And given that, the risks and dangers of using these cutting machines increase and we strongly recommend you start to think seriously about safety wear such as trouser chaps, gloves and full face helmet and visors. The truth is, you won't likely get a kickback to the face with a one-inch sapling branch but if you catch a snag on the middle of a thick trunk, the engine will kick back harder and faster than a stone flicked up by a car into your windscreen.

So, y'all ready for this?

First, to embrace your inner lumberjack, get out your best flannel shirt, put it on and then check out this beauty:

Husqvarna 18-Inch 50.2cc Gas Powered Chain Saw

best 55cc chainsaw

This monster will do some serious cutting so give it some serious respect as part of your decision making process. Even if you're just a tyre kicker, check out what it offers:

  • The 450 delivers 3.2 horsepower, making it well-suited for medium-duty jobs, such as pruning and domestic cutting
  • 3.2 HP X-Torq engine reduces harmful exhaust emissions and increase fuel efficiency
  • LowVib vibration dampening; minimal effort via Smart Start feature and combined choke/stop control
  • Centrifugal air cleaning system; inertia activated chain brake; snap-lock cylinder cover
  • Purchase this Husqvarna handheld item along with 3-32 ounce cans of Husqvarna pre-mix fuel, register your product online, and your consumer warranty will be extended from 2 years to 4 years
  • The 450 has a lightweight frame that minimizes strain on your body, even after extended use
  • Auto return stop switch and visible fuel level makes the saw easier to handle. Equipped with Smart Start and fuel pump to every time ensure easy starts.
Here's some reviews from users who have brought the unit via Amazon:

"This beauty (back to the chainsaw) has fired up first time, every time for a year. I just follow the cold start instructions that are clearly marked on the saw. I do live in FL but have used it in OR when the temp was around 38. I do not know about sub freezing start ups. Husqvarna is a Swedish company, so I think it will do well in the very cold"

"I truly love this chainsaw. Oh yeah, I used it to take down a deck. It was just 2x12 and 4x4 PT wood, but it made the job quick and easy. I did NOT cut through any nails or screws. Just wood. I would recommend this product to everyone."

" I wasn't disappointed. No problem with start-up. The first job I had was to clean up some storm damage. Had a large red oak uproot. At the stump it was about 29" diameter. This saw cut through that like a knife through butter. I cut up that tree in no time. "

"It's a hell of a saw and definitely glad I made this buy. It's been put to work and has yet to leave me down."

If those reviews are enough for you, check out the pricing on Amazon:

And there you have it, three great options for buying a chainsaw for the home owner.

How to sharpen an axe (so sharp Gimli would use it!)

Sunday, June 9, 2019
gimli swining battle axe

How to properly sharpen an axe 

Think back to The Fellowship of the Ring when Boromir is checking out the broken Sword of Elendil and he says of it "still sharp".

This is an in-joke to Sean Bean's character Richard Sharpe from his show Sharpe who was a soldier during the Napoleonic Wars.

And if Sean Bean knows the importance of a good sharp joke, he'll understand how important it is to swing a sharp axe when chopping wood or bringing down a horde of Orcs!

After all, one does not simply walk into Mordor without a sharp axe!

You also need to take Gimli!

It's obvious that one sharpens an axe so that it cuts wood better but a sharp edge means you can apply less force which means you can cut more accurately and for longer. A sharper blade also reduces the risk of an accident occurring because the edge is less likely to slip from where it lands.

A guide on how to sharpen your axe

As always, use the right tools, secure working space and play it safe with gloves as apt. Or use your bear hands, you know what to do right?

And you know that preparation is key.

There's a saying I came across a while back that goes something like this: if you have six hours to chop down a tree, then you should spend the first four of them sharpening...


To begin.

If there is any rust on your axe you should clean it off with a rust eraser or steel wool. You can use sand paper at a pinch.

You don't need to polish the axe head so you can see yourself in it but why have a rusty axe? 

Sharpen an axe with a stone or file

If you have a sharpening stone, then you're on a path to sharpening glory.

Ideally, your stone will be coarse, maybe even a diamond-coated sharpening stone. 

Or you have a file. 

When you sharpen a knife, you move the blade against the stone which is stationary. 

The reverse applies when sharpening an axe or hatchet. Your file or stone will be what moves so you axe should be stationary. 

Ideally, you can clamp it in a vice so it doesn't move but a great trick I learned as a lad in Scouts is if you place a plank of wood under the axe head, you'll be able to raise the edge of the axe enough so you can sharpen at a good angle.

You can hold the axe handle down by standing on it and then use firm strokes over the edge.

Just like this:

sharpen a hatchet with a file

When you have made good progress on one side, flip the axe over and repeat. 

You'll know your axe is sharpened well enough when having swapped sides, a nice shiny 'raw' edge appears that looks ready to split wood. 

Using a grinder to sharpen an axe

Electric grinding tools are a legitimate tool to sharpen an axe with but there are some real risks when using these tools - for goodness sake, only use a grinder that the safety guard still attached and wear protective eyewear and gloves to keep those hands and eyes safe.

When using a grinder, the key thing is to ensure you you maintain the correct cutting angle of the axe itself. If you are not careful, the grinder could level out the whole blade - which would be detrimental to the 'splitting power' caused by the different thickness at the edge of the blade. 

Here's a handy video which shows how to cut -doesn't necessarily follow our suggested safety guidelines....

This is bascially the same method you can use to sharpen a lawn mower blade!

Best oil for ride on lawnmowers & garden tractors

Saturday, June 1, 2019
best ride on tractor oil

There's a real satisfaction when you've finished mowing the lawns.

You look around and your yard looks magically awesome, it's the best feeling.

This can be the most rewarding part but for this 'lawnman', the best part is doing maintenance and doing stuff like changing spark plugs and adding oil to your ride on.

There's something really satisfying filling oil into an engine.

It's like you know you are doing something worthwhile, something that says to your mower, I love you and when I ride on you, I know you're not going to let me down.

OK, now let's cut the crap and get on with what you want to know:

What is the best oil for a ride on lawn mower?

First up, you need to appreciate that ride on mowers (and garden tractors) have a larger oil capacity than push mowers. Their capacity is typically 48oz or 64 oz to bear that in mind when purchasing your oil. You may need to purchase two bottles, depending on their size.

Here are three great options that are excellent choices for you to use in your grass cutter. Let's start with one of the most popular lawnmower brands in the world, Briggs and Stratton

briggs stratton ride on oilBriggs and Stratton's oil will keep your mower's engine running strong with this oil specially formulated for use in higher operating temperature ranges.

SAE 30 oil is a stock standard 'weight' which means that this oil will work a treat in 40°-100° F temperatures. Make no mistake though, Briggs and Stratton's version of SAE 30 oil is the 'top shelf' of oil products.

Naturally, it suits all 4 stroke or 4 cycle engines, so don't use it in a chainsaw (use two stroke oil!)... Oils like Pennzsoil are designed for more modern mower engines.

Amsoil oil is a small engine lubricant full of chemical compounds that are artificially made using chemically modified petroleum components.

Pennzoil Ultra is synthetically developed. This means that if you regularly use it in your lawnmower (over the long term) then you greatly increase the chances of long service life and reduce the need to replace your lawnmower at year 7 instead of year 7. 

This is of course hyperbole and you absolutely need to regularly maintain your engine to lengthen its lifespan!

Can I use synthetic oil in my ride on lawn mower?

toro best oil lawn mowerYou sure can use synthetic oil in your ride on mower. It's really important to understand that your use of synthetic oil does not absolve you from performing regular lawn mower maintenance.

Toro, is a tried, true and trusted brand amongst many consumers and their synthetic oil is considered a good standard.

What makes synthetic oil so good is that it in terms of characteristics it is more 'oily' than most mineral oil compounds. They lubricate engines better which results in the oil being consumed more efficiently.

How often should I change the oil in my ride on lawn mower?

The oil should be changed approximately every one hundred hours of use and at the very least you should change it once a year. 
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