google-site-verification=PLxdjxeeRx53n6qHdreWNoGPDmKef1mER0KomFpoMuU B5F6D66464859FD25EBB6673D4D3438B B5F6D66464859FD25EBB6673D4D3438B

Changing Trailer Brakes – It Is Easier Than You Thought!

changing trailer brakes

This morning the weather was beautiful, it felt like spring was near. But this afternoon I will be changing trailer brakes.

I have a tree job scheduled today but it is calling for rain in the afternoon, so we aren’t sure how much work we will get done. In the afternoon while its raining I will be changing trailer brakes.

This short story is a peek into the life of an Arborist. There is always tree work to be done, and a never ending parade of equipment to repair or service!

The Tree Job To Work On

We had a crew of 4 men and we took 3 trucks to the job. Our job location was on top of a hill with a great view to the south. By the time we got there it was starting to get cloudy.

It was not a big job but this is what needed to be done.

  • Remove the dead limbs and trim a pin oak tree in front of the house.
  • Trim the Kwanzan cherry tree that was overhanging the driveway.
  • Cut the lower dead limbs from a hedge of pine trees.
  • Remove a pine tree from near the hedge.
  • Grind out the stump from the pine tree and grind out tree roots that were above ground from the cherry tree.

Pruning The Trees

We laid out ground protection mats, so the truck tires would not leave ruts, and drove the bucket truck to the tree. We needed to get about 20 feet from the driveway to reach the tree. Wheel chocks come in handy when the truck is parked on a slope.

I used the bucket truck to work on the oak tree, While the others trimmed the cherry tree and picked up the branches that were cut off and fed them though the chipper which blew the chips onto the dump truck.

After I was done with the oak tree and the lawn was raked clean beneath the tree, we moved the chipper and chipped the pine tree we had cut down. The dead limbs from pruning the pine tree hedge were the last to be chipped.

Grinding The Stump

We used the 3 point stump grinder attached to a compact John Deere to grind out the stump and roots. This stump grinder is almost always attached to the rear of the tractor. It goes with to all jobs that are take downs and need the tree stump ground out.

When I was grinding the stump the sky was noticeably darker, the rain was coming.

Dumping The Wood chips

Sometimes the customer wants the wood chips from their tree, so this time we dumped them under the pine tree hedge and scattered them with the tractor and by hand.

We got everything loaded and tied down and it started to rain just as we were ready to leave! We all went back to the shop and had pizza for dinner!

Changing Trailer Brakes

changing trailer brakes

After dinner, I began changing trailer brakes. They are drum brakes, so there are several steps involved to do that.

  1. Jack it up and remove the wheel.
  2. Remove the hubcap from the end of the axle.
  3. Remove the safety cotter pin that goes through the nut holding the wheel hub in place.
  4. Remove the nut, it should have been finger tight.
  5. Remove the washer and bearing behind it.
  6. Now the hub will come off and there is another larger bearing behind that.
  7. Cut the 2 wires that provide electric to the brakes.
  8. Finally, we are at the brakes, there are 5 nuts to remove, then the brake drum comes off.

Now I Am Ready To Install The New Brakes

changing trailer brakes

  1. Fasten the new brake drum with the 5 nuts.
  2. Connect the 2 new wires from the new brake drum to the existing wires.
  3. Put on the larger bearing and put the hub on after it.
  4. Put the other bearing on and the washer after it.
  5. Tighten the nut until it is snug.
  6. Put the safety cotter pin through the nut so it can not back out.
  7. Make sure there is grease on the bearing, add more if needed.
  8. Put on the hubcap.
  9. Fasten the tire to the hub, make sure the lug nuts are tight! Then lower the jack and pull it out from under the trailer.

changing trailer brakes

One side is done! Now repeat the steps for the other side. When the other side is completed wipe off any dirty tools and return all tools to the toolbox so they can be found next time!

It is always a good idea to check the tire air pressure and tread wear at this time. If everything is good, you are ready to take the trailer back on the road!

Bucket Truck Outrigger Pads – How And Why We Use Them

bucket truck outrigger pads

I want to show you how to use bucket truck outrigger pads. All bucket trucks should have outrigger pads as they help protect the ground or driveway. These pads are always wider than the outrigger foot on the truck. The extra width helps spread the crushing weight to a reasonable level so the area beneath the outrigger isn’t harmed.

You don’t need a big bucket truck outrigger pad, even a medium size pad can more than double the square footage on the ground over the original truck outrigger’s pad. Any extra square inch will help against compacting whatever is below the pad. Which is important if the outrigger will be on the edge of a driveway or on a brick or stone sidewalk. Each of those we don’t want to break or smash.

You definitely know the primary reason for bucket truck outrigger pads is to provide a strong base for the outrigger to press against. The outriggers job is very important, it must keep the truck steady while the boom and bucket are in operation pruning the tree. That is why it is crucial to have strong and trustworthy footing for the outrigger. If the outrigger moves or slips that movement will be magnified in the bucket.


Why Must We Use Bucket Truck Outrigger Pads

bucket truck outrigger pads

My bucket truck has a sixty-foot boom on it and that size boom requires two outriggers. There is one on each side of the truck, they are mounted directly behind the truck cab and beside the pedestal that holds the boom to the truck.

Since the boom is mounted pretty much in the middle of the wheel base on the truck, the suspension and tires can support the boom when it is working out the front or back.

But when I want to work at the tree out the side of the truck, then the outriggers play a huge role. The bucket truck is much narrower than it is long, so when I swing out to the side I won’t have the length of the truck acting as a support.

My bucket truck has it’s outriggers extending on about a 45 degree angle. The outriggers are about 3 feet wider than the truck when extended to the ground. That is enough of width, plus it is very solid against the ground so it will be able to keep the bucket truck from leaning over. If you wouldn’t use an outrigger and fully extend the boom out the side of the truck, it would lean very much! So far that it would be in danger of tipping the truck!

So now you can see there is a lot of weight on these outriggers when the boom is in operation. The bucket truck outrigger pads are crucial to keep the main outriggers from sinking into a softer driveway or lawn. These pads can be twice the footprint or even bigger than the small steel pad attached to the truck outrigger. With no outrigger pads the outrigger will sink significantly into grass if it is a softer area of the lawn!


How Do I Use The Bucket Truck Outrigger Padsbucket truck outrigger pads

Using my bucket truck outrigger pads is not hard at all. First I determine where to park the truck at the tree I am going to prune. Then park the truck on as level ground as possible and make sure the brakes are locked.

Then if the wheel chocks are needed I take those from their compartment. They get firmly placed against the tire on the downhill side to prevent the truck from moving.

After I’m certain the truck can’t roll I will pull the bucket truck outrigger pads from their compartment. The pad is placed on the ground where the outrigger will come down. This needs to be a flat and sturdy place. Flat so it doesn’t slide downhill when the outrigger presses down on it. And sturdy so it doesn’t sink into the dirt or driveway.

While the outrigger is coming down toward the pad I need to make sure it is going to be centered on the pad. If it won’t be, I need to stop it is descent and rearrange the pad until it will be centered. Continue putting the outrigger down until it touches the pad. Double check that it is still in the center of the pad. Keep putting the outrigger down until the frame of the truck starts lifting a bit and the truck is level.

I repeat the same steps on the other side of the truck and make sure the truck is as level as possible when finished.


My Favorite Bucket Truck Outrigger Pads

bucket truck outrigger pads

We have just recently upgraded our bucket truck outrigger pads and I am really happy with them! It was time for new outrigger pads, the old pad was only an inch thick and was starting to bend a bit when it had a lot of weight pressing on it.

I’ve upgraded to the Mytee Products outrigger pad! It is one and a half inches thick, easily thick and strong enough for our truck. The color is black and it has a rope handle attached to the one side because these pads are pretty heavy. Its rope handle is a loop and makes it very nice to pick up from the flat ground. The smallest outrigger pads weighs around 15 pounds, but some of the wider pads are quite a bit heaver.

This outrigger pads has a crush rating of 200 PSI and the vertical load rating is around 60,000 pounds! Both of those are strong numbers, easily strong enough for our truck.

The material used to make the outrigger pad is high density polyethylene, famous for it is tensile strength and durability. An outrigger pad like this can be used for a lifetime!


Storage Compartment For The Outrigger Pads

bucket truck outrigger pads

Our bucket truck is important because it has the boom on to lift me up to prune the tree. But it also has many toolboxes to carry all the tools and equipment we need to work on trees. Chainsaws, leaf blower, handheld pruners, ropes, rakes, and pole saws are all essential tools and we have a toolbox for each of them!

The outrigger pads each have a compartment near the back of the truck, one on each side. This compartment is built specifically for outrigger pads. It is the perfect width and about 3 inches high. There is enough room on each side to easily slide the pad in and pull it out.

The compartment slopes down a bit, that keeps that pad in place against the back. It shouldn’f fall out while driving but for safety there is a small chain to close in the front. That chain has a snap on so it is easy for me to unhook when I want to pull out and use the outrigger pad.


Which Bucket Truck Outrigger Pads Are The Best

bucket truck outrigger padsbucket truck outrigger pads

There are a several brands of high quality and trusted outrigger pads, all with varying size and thickness. But two brands stuck out to me.

The Mytee Products are a brand that is popular and trusted. I chose them because I wanted the inch and a half thickness. That specific size was a bit harder to find because the one inch or two inch thickness is more common. I thought the price was reasonable as well and so far am very happy with these pads!

Mytee Products also makes the one inch and two inch pads. You can choose their round outrigger pads if those fit your needs.

The other very good bucket truck outrigger pads are from Buyers Products. Their pad is very similar and they offer one inch and 2 inch pads in a variety of sizes. Their standard pad does have rounded corners, but they make square and round pads as well.

I have used other products from Buyers so I know they make quality tools and equipment!

If you have any questions be sure to ask them in the comment section below and I will do my best to answer them for you!

Your Arborist Friend: Justin


Highest Rated Leaf Blowers

A leaf blower or simply a blower is a power tool that can be held and operated with one hand. There are many different blowers to chose from, but today I want to talk about the highest rated leaf blowers. All leaf blowers have a primary job of blowing air to move leaves, small sticks or other debris.

There are different sizes to chose from among the highest rated leaf blowers, starting with small battery powered blowers, on through the standard hand held blowers, and then the large powerful backpack leaf blowers. Each of these have an engine, either gas or battery which forces large volumes of air through a narrow tube that is aimed in the direction we want to blow the debris. Most of the air tubes have a round nozzle at the end, but sometimes the nozzle can be flat for a wider but not as high force of air.

Highest Rated Leaf Blowers For Ease To Use

highest rated leaf blowers

The battery powered leaf blowers have really grown in popularity over the last few years as they are small, lightweight, and very easy to use. Even better they use the same battery as a compact cordless tool set, so you may not need to buy extra batteries or charger. Everything is much simpler if all the tools use the same size batteries.

Some of the highest rated leaf blowers among the battery lineup can compete with the handheld gas blowers in wind speed and the more important, cubic feet of air per minute. While the m.p.h. of the wind is important as well, the more c.f.m a blower has makes it able to move more debris at once.

These battery leaf blowers are excellent for blowing grass clippings from recent lawn mowing. With very little effort the grass clippings on the sidewalk or driveway are blown back into the lawn!

A few advantages of a battery leaf blower is how quietly they run. You won’t need earplugs or disturb the neighbors. I can tell you firsthand how far and loud the noise of a gas leaf blower travels during the stillness of evening. Peaceful quite in the woods is ruined by somebody in the distance blowing leaves from their yard or driveway!

With an electric engine there is very little maintenance needed, pretty much just put the leaf blower away when you are done and then when you need it again you can fully expect it to be running smoothly. Also, another advantage is there is no pull rope to start it, simply just a button or throttle to fire it up and get to work!

Handheld Gas Blower – My Favorite Of The Highest Rated Leaf Blowers

highest rated leaf blowers
highest rated leaf blowers

In our Tree Pruning and Removal business we use a handheld Husqvarna blower. It has a gas engine, but for us that is not a drawback. That is because our chainsaws use the same gas. A gas can is in the truck for whenever the blower needs refueling.

The Husqvarna leaf blower we use is one of the highest rated leaf blowers in the industry. Its built tough enough for commercial use, we have been using ours for several years now and it is holding up well.

I especially like the compact size of our blower and it still does a tremendous job blowing debris. Most of the time we are using the blower to clear sawdust, wood chips, small sticks, and leaves from the lawn, flowerbeds, or driveways. But it gets used for other things. You can pretty much use you imagination for the numerous task a handy leaf blower can do.

A single handle mounted directly on top of the machine makes it easy to change the blowing direction by simply turning my wrist. The overall length is reasonable, plus the blowing tube can be adjusted to different lengths. A shorter length is especially helpful when blowing leaves out from under shrubbery in a crowded flower bed or working in tight spaces.

Another nice feature is the throttle has a cruise control, meaning it can be set and locked for the longer periods of blowing. That can be helpful so I don’t have to constantly keep my finger on the throttle trigger.

Backpack Blowers – The Biggest Carriable Blower

highest rated leaf blowers

No discussion of highest rated leaf blowers would be complete without mentioning the true workhorses in the leaf blower family. The backpack family of leaf blowers are worn on the back, held there by straps similar to a normal backpack.

We have a pretty big backpack blower that gets taken to some jobs, but it doesn’t get used as much as our handheld blower. Its bigger and bulkier so we usually only take it with to a job that we can use the backpack blower. Also, the weight of the blower is heavier than the handheld blower.

Most times we are only using our leaf blower for a few minutes at the end of each job. It doesn’t make much sense to carry the big blower with just to save a minute of time.

However, some jobs have a lot of debris to blow, then the biggest or highest rated leaf blowers cubic feet of air moved per minute is needed. During spring cleanup when the lawn needs to be cleared a big powerful blower can blow sticks, leaves and other debris from the grass.

In the fall when leaves are falling from trees there is an easier way than the hard work of using a leaf rake and raking the leaves onto piles to be hauled out. Pull out the backpack blower and start making leaf tornadoes! Blowing the leaves onto a pile or along the road can be an option. But first be sure the township has a truck that comes along to collect them! Or sometimes it is better if we load the leaves into our truck and haul them away ourselves so the leaves don’t have a chance to scatter in the wind! It is a letdown watching stray leaves blow back over the clean lawn!

Using The Highest Rated Leaf Blowers During Winter

highest rated leaf blowers

Did you know a blower can be used for clearing snow from sidewalks, porches, and other areas that have foot traffic? It sure can! Usually the bigger the blower the better for blowing snow, but a smaller blower will work, just will go slower and not be able to handle deeper snow.

We’ve used our backpack blower quite a bit blowing snow from sidewalks at properties we do snow removal. A coating of snow is easily cleared just by walking down the sidewalk blowing snow as I go. An inch of snow can be blown off but will take a bit more time and persistent aiming of the nozzle. At a certain point, probably when the snow depth climbs above a couple inches it is best to put the blower away and get out a shovel or snowblower made to remove snow from sidewalks.

A handheld leaf blower or battery leaf blower will be enough to blow small amounts of snow from your homes sidewalk or deck. Although they are a bit small to use for commercial snow clearing.

Don’t forget to wear gloves when outside blowing snow. Without warm work gloves the hand holding the blower usually gets cold first because it is gripping the blower and not moving enough to keep itself warm.

Storage For A Leaf Blower

Like everything else you will need a place to put the leaf blower when it is not in use. Often a shelf is a great place to set them, or perhaps a hook to hang it on along a wall or from the ceiling. An outdoor shed or garage is an ideal place that way no unwanted fumes from a gas blower can escape into the house.

At home my leaf blower is stored under a shelf in an outdoor shed. At work our handheld leaf blower has a designated spot in the truck toolbox so we always know where it is and so the leaf blower goes with to each job.

Do you have any questions about leaf blowers? Be sure to ask me in the comment section below and I will be happy to answer them!

Your Arborist Friend: Justin

Commercial Wheel Chocks – The Solid Rubber Wheel Chocks

The best and safest way to be sure your work truck or trailer will not coast after it is parked is to use commercial wheel chocks. These solid rubber wheel chocks are stronger and can withstand a heavier workload than the cheaper and lesser rated standard wheel chocks.

If you don’t think many people use wheel chocks, you just need to start looking around. Places to look are anywhere a trailer is parked, a recreational vehicle sometimes has wheel chocks at its tires, a vehicle parked on a hill may use them, or often any type of lift or crane will use wheel chocks for extra precaution against unwanted movement.

Why Are Wheel Chocks Required?

Depending on the type of truck it may be required by law to use wheel chocks when parked. Most vehicle have a reliable breaking system for when they are parked, but some older trucks are not as trustworthy. Therefore, it is a good idea to have a set of commercial wheel chocks to put at the rear tires when parked to prevent the truck from rolling.

Trailers that are not equipped with air brakes will not have any braking applied to the wheels when unhooked so it is especially important to use wheel chocks on unhooked trailers. Any of those trailers unhooked on even a small slope will want to roll, or at the very least it will cause extra stress on the trailer jack.

While preforming a pre-trip inspection of the truck the wheels should be chocked because the truck will be running and the driver will be on the outside doing the inspection. With the truck engine running there is a higher risk it could move without wheel chocks being used.

How I Use Our Commercial Wheel Chocks

In our tree pruning business we often use wheel chocks for our boom truck when it is parked at the tree and in operation pruning or removing the tree. When the bucket truck boom is high in the air there can be no chance the truck moves or the wheels roll. Any small movement at the ground is magnified many times when the boom is at full extension. Something as simple as throwing a piece of firewood into the truck box can be felt by the person in the bucket.

To use the commercial wheel chocks is pretty simple and straightforward. Park the truck and lock the brakes. Determine which way the truck could roll if the brakes didn’t hold and put the wheel chocks on that side of the tire. Put a wheel chock on each side of the truck. Preferably the rear tires are chocked but the front tires can easily be chocked as well. Under special circumstances or on a steeper than normal hill all the tires can be chocked.

The Solid Rubber Wheel Chock

commercial wheel chocks

The commercial wheel chocks have become my new favorite as the previous kind we had are not solid and after using them they cracked on the sides and aren’t able to hold nearly as much weight. The crack actually got big enough that if the truck would be put into gear and driven forward it would have been able to squash the chock and drive over it.

A solid rubber wheel chock can be a little more expensive than the regular chocks. But the price difference isn’t much and the extra strength, product life, and trustworthiness will be worth the cost.

A solid rubber wheel chock is going to be much stronger than a hollow wheel chock. With a hollow wheel chock the strength is in the edges and the small braces in the center. But with the solid chock the strength is all the way across the chock. That makes it much harder to crush and the solid chock can hold back more weight.

With a standard wheel chock you run the risk of a heavy truck crushing the chock and rolling over it. If you are using light equipment or trailers a standard chock probably is good enough for you, but with heavy trucks and trailers you will be thankful to have a commercial wheel chock you can trust in.

Storage For The Wheel Chock During Driving

All trucks will need a storage area for the chocks while the truck is driving on the road. This storage area needs to be approved by the state department of transportation Basically that means they need to be secured or stored in a safe place so they won’t fall out while driving.

Our boom truck has a special compartment just behind each rear tire that the chock fits snugly into. This commercial wheel chock holder is a V shaped compartment that is sloped inward and keeps the chock secured while driving.

This convenient holder is easy to put the chock into for storage and pull it out of when chocks are needed. And with the holders location behind each rear tire, no extra steps are needed to apply them.

Other places wheel chocks are commonly stored would be in a toolbox or some other compartment on the truck. Those are also great places to store them, but a small downside with a toolbox is the toolbox could be crowded and you need to dig them out.

Commercial wheel chocks are great for your trailer for when it is unhooked. Sometimes a trailer is unhooked at a job site and left there. It would be a good idea to have wheel chocks for then. Most trailers have a small storage area near the front or mounted in between the trailer frame near the hitch. That would be a convenient place to store them while driving, or if there is no toolbox a small compartment can easily be added beneath the trailer deck.

The Best Color For Commercial Wheel Chocks

My favorite color for any commercial wheel chocks is black. That is a pretty standard color, especially with the solid rubber wheel chocks. Black seems to blend in nicely and is less noticeable than some of the other bright colors.

If you get into the steel wheel chocks you could expand the color range quite a bit as they could be painted in pretty much any color.

Your Arborist Friend:


What Is Felling Trees – Easily Cut Trees Down

You may be wondering what is felling trees or why it is said that way instead of cutting trees down. Maybe you were talking to your friend about some trees and the work that needed to be done with them and some would need to be removed. The person giving you an estimate probably wondered if it would be alright if they could fell the trees into the neighbor’s yard since that was their only option to safely remove the trees.

Read more

Best Rated Gas Pole Saw – Cutting High Tree Limbs

pole saw

Today I want to show you one of my tools that often comes in handy. My best rated gas pole saw is an excellent tool to use on many jobs, especially to prune lower branches that are hanging near the ground and also to cut high tree limbs.

By using a pole chainsaw we can save a lot of time by quickly pruning or removing branches without needing to climb the tree or drive the bucket truck into the yard to the tree.

Here is a job we have just completed that my best rated gas pole saw was an essential tool! Using it to cut 2 branches that were about 30 feet from the ground!

Read more

Top Rated Hand Pruners – Felco Pruners

Felco Pruners Trimming hedges and shrubbery or small trees require a hand pruners to provide a beautiful finished job. I want to share with you my thoughts, experience, and reviews on my top rated hand pruners. Felco pruners are a small, yet essential tool we use in our business, as do other arborist businesses. They are also recommended for landscapers and home use. Almost anybody can use them around the home if your home has any type of shrubbery, trees, or even a garden. This tool will be vital in maintaining the health of your garden, flowerbeds, and trees.

Read more

Top Rated Leather Work Gloves – Protect Your Hands

leather work glovesHello all. I am a co-owner of a family owned tree pruning and removal business. During the winter and for certain jobs throughout the year we mostly use leather work gloves to protect our hands. This article is about top rated leather work gloves that can be used for a wide variety of jobs, including arborist related work and power tool operation.

Leather gloves are generally more expensive than other gloves but they are of higher quality and offer enhanced durability. In our arborist business we use leather gloves as they are the most durable. Handling ropes and rough or sharp wood and branches will quickly destroy a polyester or cotton glove. Those glove would be lucky to survive one day of use, while a leather glove can last much longer even with heavy use.

Read more

Hard Hats For Tree Work – Ear And Eye Protection

hard hats for tree work

As a co-owner of a family owned tree pruning and removal business, my goal is to help you by describing the hard hats for tree work we use on our jobs. The brands I recommend and some facts about them I learned from wearing them. They are comfortable to wear all day and offer head, ear, eye, and face protection.

Read more