Rule of Thumb for Loppers – Top Tools Tips

Loppers are used on many tasks as they are handy for quickly cutting back brambles and small branches. When going through the safe handling of loppers in the tools talk before tasks, many OCV ‘old hands’ refer to the Lopper Rule of Thumb  – here it is explained:

Loppers versus bowsaw - which to use?

When should I deploy the loppers?


Anything smaller than the circumference of your thumb is fine to cut with loppers; anything larger than your thumb, then a bowsaw is far better for the job. Don’t force the loppers shut as this can bend them, making them unusable, which will make other volunteers and our Tools Officer sad. Also remember not to lop your actual thumb, but we can trust you not to do that, right?


Using loppers for the appropriate size of scrub

A correct use of loppers, well done!


Appropriate use of a bowsaw for wood that is too big too lop

Yep, that’s far larger than your thumb – a bowsaw is the right tool for the job


Loppers can seem like tame and well behaved tools, but they can fall open if carried the wrong way up, which could pose a hazard to other volunteers. Carry loppers close to you and with your hand on the bottom handle so they won’t get any ideas!

Don't carry your loppers so they fall open!

Loppers getting out of hand! Watch out!


The correct way to carry loppers!

Loppers the right way up and under control!

So now you know, and you can safely lend a hand on an OCV task!

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