Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Feelin' Fine With Felco?

Are Felco pruners really the Ferrari for the fortunate few? 

I followed the writings of the Felco fans and became firmly convinced that my garden would fail without the fantastic Felco bypass action. Febrile fantasies formed in my mind, and fomented a fixation on fire engine red shears--the Felco Number 6 model (for a fine-boned hand) was my final pick.

What's your opinion on Felco? Do you have fulsome praise for fundamentally sound secateurs? Or do you think the hype is a lot of fancy phrases for foolish flower gardeners?

The Felco forum will run here for a few days; your factual and philosophical feedback is fervently desired!

23 comments:

Karen - An Artist's Garden said...

I have just bought my first pair of felcos - so far so good
(The professional ones with the handle that turns as you snip - no more pruning blisters hopefully!)
K

Daffodil Planter said...

Karen, you are indeed an intrepid pruner if you were at the blister level of work. I have heard raves about the rotating handles. I was prepared to love them, but had the feeling that I could not control the secateurs with all that movement going on. Greetings to you in Wales!

susan (garden chick) said...

I bought a pair a few years ago when they were being offered at a special price to Master Gardeners. You are right about the reverence in which they are held; people practically tiptoped up to the table to place their order. I am not an independent thinker, am completely in thrall to peer pressure, so naturally I was excited to know such an important tool would soon be living in my garage.

Two years later, the reality is I never use them. I don't understand the loose grip - I get a cramp in my hand when I prune with them, and believe me, I never prune long enough to be at the blister level. So, I'm back to using my $15.00 pair from the garden center. However, take my feedback with a grain of salt; I get impatient and start hacking instead of snipping fairly early in the pruning process.

Daffodil Planter said...

Susan, Interesting to have comments from a MG who is also doing this as a profession--thank you! Did you get the Felcos with the rotating handle?

I have to oil and sharpen mine, in preparation for a weekend Pruning Ornamentals class--and am curious about what the teacher and others will be using.

Town Mouse said...

An ergonomist told me I just HAD to get the Felco #7 (or was it #9?), the ones where one handle pivots when you close them. So, I shelled out big bucks and I've since tried to get used to them but, truth be told, my hands are too small for them (or the Felcos are too big) and I'm back to the black-an-orange American Arthritis Organization approved model from Orchard Supply. I should have stopped to think when she said "you can sometimes find them on e-bay"... I'm starting to get consider offering mine.

Daffodil Planter said...

Welcome Town Mouse! That's an (expensive) shame about the poor fit with whatever number Felco is was. I should have included the Felco site in my original post, so will do so now

http://www.felcostore.com/

to help us puzzle out model numbers.

Perhaps someone will read your comment and offer to buy your pruners, or add additional advice--as arthritis and gardening are all too common companions.

Daffodil Planter said...

Just came across a nice discussion of pruners at the Sunset Magazine blog.

http://freshdirt.sunset.com/2009/01/saws-and-shears.html

Katie said...

I own a few pairs of cheapie hand pruners, and find that I especially love the cheap Fiskars ones. I sharpen them yearly and abuse them like nothing else. Maybe one day I will cross paths with a pair of Felcos.

Pam/Digging said...

Like Katie, above, I haven't crossed paths with a pair of Felcos yet. And it's not in the budget right now. But I haven't had any complaints about the generic hand pruners I've used for many years. I probably just don't know what I'm missing.

Jan (Thanks For 2 Day) said...

I love the Fiskars--they have worked for me as long as I've had them, at least 3 yrs. And I also have a pair of Cutco pruners...from the company who makes knives. They've been excellent, as well.

But I'm no professional...I just do this for fun, in my spare time:)

Daffodil Planter said...

Welcome Katie! So maybe sharpening is the key?

Daffodil Planter said...

Welcome Pam/Digging! This is getting more and more interesting--serious gardeners who are not using Felcos. Hmm!

Daffodil Planter said...

Jan, Another vote for Fiskars--will definitely check them out along with Cutco (a new brand to me). Thank you!

Frances said...

Hi DF, I have two pairs of felcos, both gifts from my husband. The first pair is for lefties, I love them but lost a screw and he bought another pair, this time for small hands. I also bought the repair kit for $9 that had the lost screw, so now have both. Neither has the swivel handle and both work great, but much greater with oil and sharpening, imagine that. I recently bought pruners with a rachet action for tougher stems, but keep going back to the felcos. They get my vote.
Frances

Daffodil Planter said...

Frances, Sounds like you are bordering on Felco Fanatic? I was just using their proprietary spray on my No. 6 pair. No holster yet though.

VW said...

I read your post and ran out to the garage to see which felcos I have - #2, it appears. I've had them for 10 years and love them. No others have come close. So they get my vote, too! Regards, VW

Daffodil Planter said...

Welcome VW! Wait a minute, you ran out to the garage in SPOKANE to check your Felco model number? I'll stop complaining about my 45 degrees and rain today. So you have the Felco storied in song and legend, the one that made their reputation? Glad to hear they are working so well.

Daffodil Planter said...

Reporting in from the field: I just finished an 8 hour class on pruning at Sierra College.

Near the end we cleaned and sharpened our clippers and loppers. The teacher has Felcos and loves them for their quality and their replaceable parts. She does not prune for a living, but said that her friends who do find the rotating Felco handle a wrist-saver. Apparently it takes some getting used to and then one flies around with no wrist strain.

Coronas also have replaceable parts.

Fiskars were popular with my classmates.

The key elements seem to be 1) bypass, 2) fit for your hand, 3) cleaning with fine steel wool and spray of your choice, and 4) sharpening with a stone.

David said...

You and your commenters inspired me!
http://montanawildlifegardener.blogspot.com/2009/02/great-purchase.html
I have Felco #2's and I love them, and "love" is not to strong of a word!

Lee said...

I have a set of cheap (I mean real cheap) pruners that I have been fighting with for about three years. I hate them and spit on them and their existence. I should cut my own throat with them but they would probably not sever my head completely. New pruners this year I swear, I will not subject another one of my plants to butchering.

Ginger said...

Thank you for visiting my blog!

I have heard about these pruners and appreciate the discussion here. I don't have any good/fancy pruners. My very favorite garden tool is a pair of garden scissors. Cheap, but amazingly effective for a variety of tasks! They don't cut quite as cleanly as pruners, but are close in strength.

Daffodil Planter said...

Welcome Ginger! Hey, if the garden scissors work, that's great. I use the pruners for snipping holly and camellias to bring indoors, and for actual pruning on shrubs.

Daffodil Planter said...

Welcome Lee! You got lost there at the end of the comments. Did you get new pruners yet? Has your life thereby improved dramatically?