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Bidding a Creek Ditch and Ravine Brush Clearing - Hand Tools Only

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by WhistlePig Hollow, Feb 27, 2014.

  1. WhistlePig Hollow

    WhistlePig Hollow LawnSite Member
    Messages: 26

    Hey fellas,

    Mostly a lurker that is taking the dive into lawnsite this year. Great forum with a lot of great resources. Looking forward to learning and sharing.

    I am about to bid a brush clearing job that I am pretty excited about and walked the property with the owner yesterday. Didn't get pics but will need to go back out there before I submit final bid so I will try to snap some shots when I get back over there today or tomorrow.

    Owner wants a take down and clear job of all brush up to full grown trees which mainly includes privet and brambles. There are a few trees that I will be taking out and we are good to burn everything onsite. Ditch is deep and wide enough for me to burn small piles and windrows. The catch is there is no room for anything powered except hand tools. I might be able to sneak a DR or Billygoat style brush cutter into some of the areas but not enough to do the whole job.

    Moving from the creek ditch, we hit a steep walled ravine that is full of scrub brush and brambles and old branches that they want cleaned and cleared. Again I can burn but will be limited to hand tools. I might even have to rope in and tie off to comfortably work a couple of the sections of the ravine. yeehaw! Estimating a 4-5 day job based up steepness and limitations of using heavy equipment.

    I can snatch a few guys for labor as needed and I am pretty comfortable with my numbers but I am trying to determine if you guys know any hacks that I am missing that might help make the job easier.

    Here's what I got for the job and I can either rent or buy (have room in budget for 1 cash purchase up to $1k if it will be something I use on the regular)

    - couple of small bar chainsaws for larger privet and small trees
    - String and blade trimmers (don't have a big handlebar set up but might rent???)
    - couple of bow saws, pole saws, hand saws, hand loppers etc

    I am probably going to rent a walk behind brushcutter for the week to ensure if I get to a spot where I can use it to make up some time, then I will fire that bad boy right up.

    I am always looking for suggestions from those more experienced so fire away with some thoughts. It is a big job. It compromises about 1 acre of their 10 acres if I had to justimate.

  2. whiffyspark

    whiffyspark LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,496

    Just burn the whole ravine
    Posted via Mobile Device
  3. Sprinkler Buddy

    Sprinkler Buddy LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 1,185

    I would run,run,run from that! Hand tools, bringing in day labors, make sure your insurance is up to date! This sounds very dangerous not to mention very time consuming and a lot of physically intensive work.

    "Just burn the whole ravine" Great advise!!! lol That's what I would be thinking once in it for a few hrs.
  4. JeffH1

    JeffH1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 85

    All hand tools for that sounds brutal!

    Would love to see some pics!
  5. twomancrew

    twomancrew LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 940

  6. 4 seasons lawn&land

    4 seasons lawn&land LawnSite Gold Member
    from NY
    Messages: 3,614

    Sounds like some good old fashioned labor. Nothing wrong with that. But are you sure you can't get an excavator in there and rake all the brush right down off the banks?
  7. YellowDogSVC

    YellowDogSVC LawnSite Gold Member
    from TX
    Messages: 3,793

    I'm not big on "grabbing labor" because of the aforementioned liabilities but sometimes you can find some hard workers that can turn into reliable helpers that way.

    If you can get a machine down there, that would make things go a lot faster. I don't like the idea of "roping off" unless you are experienced with that and carry workman's comp. Real easy to get hurt.. think bees and being tied off. It has happened to us.

    Nothing wrong with doing it by hand. I started with a Poulan chainsaw, DR mower, and truck before moving to a tractor and bush hog.
    Sometimes doing it by hand makes it look really nice.
    With all the rain Tennessee has had, if you could burn in small piles in the ravine, that would be better than trying to mow or ball up that bramble to chip or haul off. That's nasty stuff and I remember it from living in the South.
    I attached a couple of pics showing a job on a cliff face that was 100% hand work except for where I brought the mulcher in to dispose of everything. It was vines, brush, dead wood, logs, grapevine, and brambles.

    Nothing wrong with doing it by hand if you plan it well and if you are new to this type of clearing.. go for it.

    20130305_083315 (640x480).jpg

    20130307_140126 (640x480).jpg
  8. gene gls

    gene gls LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,213

    Extended hedge clippers are ok for small stuff. Most likely you will blow out the gears on trying to cut stuff that is too big. Been there done that. I use an Echo Power Pruner ( chain saw). You can stand back away from the crap to reach it to cut.
  9. gene gls

    gene gls LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,213

    I have ruined my fair share of hand tools over the years on these types of jobs. My go to tools now are an Echo Power Pruner and an Echo trimmer with a "ninja" blade, the 3 pointed one.
  10. gene gls

    gene gls LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,213

    Check out this site, www.pecobrushcutters.com

    A friend of mine has one and loves it for tight work areas. Try finding a rental shop that has them. Could save on man hours.

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