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Machete? Last resort for pruning.

Machete? Last resort for pruning

For at least four centuries, the machete has enabled farmers and explorers to clear their way efficiently through vines and brush in the tropics. But it can also be put to good use in the garden.

An effective tool for clearing weeds, brush, vines, and thickets, it can tackle stems too limber for an ax or saw, too thick for hedge clippers, or too numerous to cut one at a time with pruning shears.

To use a machete, you hold stems near the top with one hand while swinging the tool with the other. Always wear boots and leather gloves. Be certain nothing will impede your swing.

Prices range from about $5 to $10, depending primarily on the type of handle (plastic or wood) and the shape of the blade (some are swept back or have a hook at the tip to snag branches).

You'll find machetes at some hardware, garden supply, and military surplus stores. Vacationers often bring them back from tropical countries. They also are available from two mail-order suppliers (both have free catalogs): A.M. Leonard, Inc., Box 816, Piqua, Ohio 45356; Smith & Hawken, 25 Corte Madera Ave., Mill Valley, Calif. 94941.

Photo: Faster than pruning shears, classic machete's 20-inch blade slices through pencil-thick brush in this garden

Photo: Keep machete sharp with whetstone strokes along blade's existing bevel. Brace blade between wood scraps in a bench vise
COPYRIGHT 1986 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1986 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Sunset
Date:Apr 1, 1986
Words:236
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