Traditional Japanese hand tools accomplish work by relying more on angle of attack and blade sharpness rather than force and weight. A high carbon steel is commonly used that can be honed to a very sharp edge, the head is typically set at a very ergonomic angle, with the whole assembly being lightweight to reduce fatigue.
- Sickle (Kama) - While requiring a stooped or kneeling posture, the light weight and extremely sharp blade make this tool my favorite for selective cutting where a scythe won't fit. It cuts well with a flicking motion, with the blade hitting the target in a slicing motion. They are available in different weights and sizes.
- Hoe (Kuwa) - The long lightweight handle and the sharp blade angle makes for an easily adjusted cutting angle from scalping to deep cutting. Combined with a sharp English garden spade to cut the edge followed by this hoe makes very light work of cutting edges for new sheet mulch beds where a formal edge is desired. It is also great for rough working sod in preparation for overseeding.
- Brushhook (Yabukarigama) - This is a great tool for clearing blackberry (Rubus discolor). It can be used in a chopping motion, or held level and used to cut canes off at the knees, while a partner rolls back the canes. You can work a whole hillside of blackberry in the time it takes another to nibble at a corner with pruning tools.
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