A day at Woodfest with power tools and lumberjacks

Yes. Exactly. The makings of a good day out. It was at Wisley too, and I hadn't been there for a while. Not since the butterflies in the glass house to be precise. Today though was all about the power tools. 

I'd been invited along by STIHL to learn more about their new compact cordless range. They're a brand I know, but a brand I always thought were for the professional gardeners, rather than the domestic market. But this summer that all changed as they launched a new range of cordless tools - inclusing a chainsaw, hedge trimmer, grass trimmer and blower - known as the STIHL Compact Cordless System, aimed at home gardeners.

So I was keen to see more. 

We have a corded hedge trimmer and to be honest the cord is a right royal pain. I haven't managed to cut through it yet, thankfully, but I'm always conscious of where it is and as I'm usually up a ladder while I'm using it, it's just something else to be aware of.  This new compact cordless range is what it says on the box. Compact and Cordless. And lighter than I remembered our hedge trimmer to be. 

What I liked though was the interchangeable batteries and that you don't have to buy a battery every time you buy one of the tools. It makes sense to have two, but if you have the full range, why would you need a battery in each one - you can't use them all at once can you, and it saves storing something else and keeps the price more reasonable.

The items aren't the cheapest - the strimmer retails at £199 and the chainsaw's RRP is £249, but you are buying the quality that comes with the brand, and ninety years of their experience. Plus they seem easy use. I was particularly keen on trying the trimmer - or what I'd call a strimmer, and by trying I mean holding the trimmer as part of the demo. It seemed much longer than the designs I'm used to, and with our cording version recently biting the dust and replaced with a traditionally domestic version, I had visions of a strimm-off with MOH over at the allotment.  

With his and her strimmers.  Clearly, I would take charge of the STIHL one.

Although the trimmer is longer (or taller?) than others, I mentioned that before didn't I, it is perfectly designed to be balanced on one finger. Clever hey? It weighs just 3.3kg, including the battery, so I think I'd win the strimm-off don't you?

The other good design feature was with the cord. You know how in strimmers the cord can get tangled up, or like MOH you buy the wrong one, insist it will fit and then get yourself tangled up in the cord rendering it useless. Well there's none of that. If the cord needs adjusting you can do this mid-strimm by tapping it on the ground. It resets itself and you're off strimming again. Magic. You can buy replacement cords as a sealed unit, or the more DIY version, but the sealed unit wins for me.

No doubt if MOH had been there then his favourite would have been the lightweight chainsaw. And it was pretty impressive. I'm basing this on the men and power tools theory, it's well known...

But to be fair if I could think of a sustainable use for the compact chain saw I'd be very tempted. I've a fear though that if we were to get a chainsaw we'd end up with a very different looking garden, and one with much smaller trees. So it's probably safest we steer clear of that.

I was impressed with what I saw. I learnt about chainsaw and hedge trimmer maintenance - we should all be cleaning our hedge trimmers with a special oil after use, no I don't either, but it makes sense as the blades will be covered in tree sap, so the cleaner they are the better they cut. And the longer they last. 

And with all this talk of power tools I should mention safety. STIHL are big on this, and that's great to know. And it was great to see, I suspect at home we're a lot more relaxed than we should be regarding safety. But for the STIHL guys it's part of their everyday job and the protective gear they wear is designed to protect them. The demonstration showed how quickly the safety mechanism kicked in, and that's always good to know without experiencing first hand!

Oh and did someone say lumberjacks?  It was great to watch the lumberjack challenge and compare and contrast that to a much slower way of cutting wood too.

It was a great day out, thanks STIHL for inviting me.


* I was invited to Woodfest16 by STIHL for the purposes of this post, but all words and opinions are my own.