Having a long-reach manual pole saw can be a huge money saver if you look at the costs associated with a professional tree service to do the job. It can cost HUNDREDS of dollars to trim high branches off a few big trees, but with a small investment – and a bit of practice – you can complete the job at a fraction of the price with the longest pole saw available.
The longest manual pole saw on the market is an extendable tree trimmer from Scalebeard. This cutting tool consists of 8 epoxy resin threaded poles giving 26ft overall reach with an alloy steel curved saw blade at the sharp end.
It’s a desirable piece of kit for those who want to trim high up tree branches without having to climb the tree to reach them. It can take a bit of practice using a cutting tool with this length, but keeping your feet on the ground is a far safer option when trimming tree branches!
Before we get into the specifics of the Scalebeard pole saw, lets first cover some pole saw basics…
What is a manual pole saw?
Unlike an electric or gas-powered pole saw which does the cutting for you by means of a motorized saw, manual pole saws rely on the good-old-fashioned sawing action of the user to cut through branches.
Manual pole saws are a MUCH cheaper option than a powered one and are usually adjustable to suit the height you need to cut. Any out-of-reach tree branch that needs trimming can be made a whole lot easier – and cheaper – by means of a simple manual pole saw.
How thick of a branch can a manual pole saw cut?
Generally, the length of your blade will determine how thick a branch you can cut safely. For instance if your blade is 8 inches long, you can cut a 6 inch branch safely. The extra couple of inches provides just enough length to employ the sawing action required to cut through the branch without the blade slipping off.
That said, branches with a thickness of over 6-8 inches are probably best tackled with a powered saw. It’s a hell of a lot quicker and easier, albeit more expensive to purchase.
Are long-reach manual pole saws difficult to use?
The longer the pole saw is, the more cumbersome it is to position into place. With a really long pole saw, getting it vertical can be a challenge. Once you have it in place and begin sawing, the extra length and accompanying weight obviously requires a bit more effort than a shorter one.
The Scalebeard 26ft tree trimmer is the longest manual pole saw on the market and has a significant amount of flex when fully assembled which some people would not expect. This makes it awkward to wield when starting out.
The longest pole saw available on the market
Firstly, the Scalebeard 26ft Tree Trimmer is extendable, so the pole sections are screwed together to build the required length for any trimming job up to 26ft high. It should be noted that the fully assembled pole and blade actually measures 21ft but the ‘reach’ is 26ft in total.
The pole is relatively lightweight and strong but as mentioned previously. It is very bendy and awkward when fully assembled and takes a bit of effort getting it vertical. Assembling is easy-peasy, just screw each piece together and finish by attaching the blade section.
The blade is sharp and cuts in both directions but is a little thin and will bend if you’re not careful. It has hooked sections on either end to ensure the blade doesn’t slip off while sawing, and the whole blade section is fixed by a couple of wing nuts for easy replacement when necessary.
The build quality of the Scalebeard 26ft tree trimmer is just ok. The main issue is the connections – the screw-together poles can loosen a bit which is annoying but doesn’t really affect the performance.
The two wing nuts on the blade section are a bad design choice as you can knock these loose on adjacent branches when positioning the blade. I just replaced these with some locking nuts and problem solved.
The storage bags are of good quality, not really much more to say about that.
The following video gives you a good idea of what you have to deal with if you purchase the Scalebeard 26ft tree trimmer:
As you can see, it’s not without its faults. It’s cumbersome, awkward and there are some design issues that could be easily rectified to make it a truly useful cutting tool.
For me, the flex in the fully assembled pole is annoying. I get that a more rigid material would make it too heavy but it’s just too bendy – it’s like a fishing rod with a saw on the end!
BUT… When $100 gets me the longest pole saw available on the market, I’m willing to persevere with this tool. I have lots of big trees on my very minimal estate that would cost a small fortune to trim by professionals.
It’s not perfect, it’s average build quality and it takes some getting used to… But it does the job, right?