JoAnne Skelly: Helpful, Innovative Tools | Serving Carson City for over 150 years

JoAnne Skelly

Friday, August 27, 2021

My friend Pat volunteers at the Wilbur D. May Arboretum in Reno and was fortunate enough to work with someone who’s a tool junkie. He introduced Pat to some pretty useful lightweight tools that make the aging body easier. Pat shared these tool ideas with me.
Pat and I both love to circumcise. We’re both petite, and when she said she found an easy-to-use extension saw, I wanted more information. I find it difficult to use my pole saw / pruner combo when extending it past its two foot pole length. It’s awkward to pull on the rope for the pruning shears to work, and I always prop the bar on my hip to have enough leverage to pull hard enough to cut with the rope-powered pruning shears. I can’t use the saw at all. Pat said try the Hooyman extension saw instead. I searched the internet,, and found two collapsible saws. One extends to five feet and the other to 10 feet. The shorter one folds to 12 inches and the longer one folds to 28 inches. On the side it says “unbelievable cutting stability – even when fully extended”. Maybe I need to try one of these.
Another tool Pat told me about that extends your cutting range is the ARS LA-180ZF305 razor-head telescopic scissors that have a ½ inch cutting capacity. The handle ranges from 6 feet to 10 feet and weighs 2.75 pounds. At the end there is a bypass pruning shears with sharp blades that are operated via a trigger. Imagine a pair of secateurs on an extension rod. This tool isn’t cheap. But if I could pull the trigger and have a 6-foot range, let alone a 10-foot range, I could prune so much more without the need for a ladder; so it would be worth it! The blade is designed to be interchangeable, just like all the blades on my favorite and frequently used secateurs. One online reviewer reported that she learned to use it during a cutting class at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and loves it. Another tool I can invest in.
We also talked about extra long handle hedge trimmers that can extend our short reach. While researching these, I saw another long-handled tool that can be used to trim the grass edges while standing. The cutting mechanism works when the handle is squeezed. Trimming the grass without bending over or on my knees could save both my back and my knees. I become more and more aware of this as I get older.
Good tools make work easier!
JoAnne Skelly is Associate Professor and Extension Instructor Emeritus for the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. You can reach her at [email protected]