What’s new in the world of pruning tools? essentialARB spoke to equipment specialists Jake Hobson, founder of Niwaki, and Chris Gottfried, founder of CEuk, to find out.


Jake Hobson, Niwaki: I’d say it’s a renewed interest in hand tools as an alternative to mechanical chainsaws and hedge cutters, prompted by a combination of environmental concerns and people looking for a more creative, craft-orientated approach to work.

Rather than merely getting a job done as quickly as possible, more arborists are keen to slow down and enjoy the process. A lot of people in the arb industry have a great affinity with nature, and removing the noise and air pollution, while giving oneself time to think and enjoy a process, makes perfect sense.

Forestry Journal: The Stallion in action.The Stallion in action.

Chris Gottfried, CEuk: Throughout 2020, CEuk saw a significant rise in the demand and use of Stallion blades. There is no question that the pandemic has had a major impact. But perhaps what has come as a surprise is the increasing demand from utility arboricultural firms, rail networks and highways agency contractors who use Stallion blades with AUS fibreglass rods.

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From industry feedback, many firms have told us that they can achieve easier access and completion of works with little disruption. For example, our customer Network Rail has reduced delays as a result of fewer trains being in operation, making clearance and vegetation management tasks quicker to achieve with more teams uninterrupted. Perhaps also, with more people staying home, their focus turns to their garden which has resulted in a rise in tool and equipment purchases.

Forestry Journal: Making use of Niwaki secateurs.Making use of Niwaki secateurs.


CG: Biggest is not always the best. There is a purpose to each of our various Trojan handsaws and Stallion telescopic polesaw sizes. We recommend the blade of a Trojan handsaw and Stallion telescopic polesaw will cut small stems, but also branches up to ¾ of the length of the blade. The Trojan 360 logging pruning saw will cut large diameter timber, yet our smallest saw, the Trojan 250 handsaw, will still cut 4” diameter branches too.

We used industry feedback to produce a concise range of Trojan handsaws in straight and curved blade options. A straight blade ideally suits pruning where access is limited – for example, pruning or coppicing near to the ground where branches are tightly packed. A curved blade produces a slightly quicker cut, although many arborists use the shape to hook or extend their reach when in the tree. Most arborists will have straight and curved blade Trojan handsaws in their kit bags on hand to match the pruning task.

Forestry Journal: Putting the Trojan 360 to work.Putting the Trojan 360 to work.

Access to spare parts is also an important factor. Every single part of our range is readily available in spare part form giving your pruning tool a prolonged life. It is reassuring to our arborist customers that their purchase is backed up by our spare parts service.

We have to talk price too. CEuk started from humble beginnings and we have always prided ourselves on providing a performing saw that offers genuine value for money with a service that goes the extra mile. Since our launch in 2009 we’ve been honest and fair, only having to increase prices once during this time. As a result, there can be a vast difference in price compared to competitors. We’ve deliberately maintained our prices as this is what we feel they are worth and all we have done is improve our economies of scale and become as efficient as possible throughout our manufacturing and stockist sales channel to offset the potential increases. Our Stallion telescopic polesaw remains a flagship product for the industry and yet it remains over £100 cheaper than our closest competitor.

Forestry Journal: A choice of Trojans.A choice of Trojans.

JH: Keep things simple, have appropriate tools for the job, and learn how to use them properly. It’s normally a false economy to buy the cheapest, so buy good kit, look after it (learn to clean and sharpen everything, it makes all the difference) and use it properly.

Don’t bash stuff about and don’t overdo it. Pruning saws, Japanese ones in particular, depend on rhythm and precision rather than brute force. Secateurs, even the very finest forged ones, all have their limits, depending on wood type, season, angle of cut, etc.


JH: We continue to add to our Niwaki GR Pro range, which combines all you would expect from a range of pruning tools geared towards a professional arborist.

The latest addition is the Niwaki GR Pro Barracuda clippers, which offer the length and ‘clipability’ of topiary clippers combined with the strength of bypass secateurs.

We have also added the Niwaki GR Pro S-Type secateurs, which have a more pronounced shoulder to the handles, compared to our regular GR Pro secateurs, and a somewhat angled blade that steers down away from the hand. Ergonomically these are more suitable for slightly weaker and smaller hands than other full-size secateurs, but offer the same firm, refined cutting action.

Forestry Journal: The Niwaki GR Pro S-Type.The Niwaki GR Pro S-Type.

CG: We have produced a new Trojan leather tool holster which is really convenient for storing your folding saw when out in the woodland. It also fits secateurs and other small tools needed for on-site. We have also launched the Trojan 600 Giant Saw – a beast of a folding saw that is ideally suited for cutting large timber whilst in the forest or on-site, when a chainsaw may not be accessible to use or carry for long periods.

In 2020 we launched the Bison 1879 forestry axes and accessories range. Hand-forged in Germany using traditional craftsmanship, the range provides hardworking hatchets, splitting axes and tools for the outdoor adventurer.

Our Leyat secateurs and loppers also hit the shelves in 2020. Manufactured in Switzerland to premium grade standards, this range of secateurs and loppers has been extremely popular with orchard growers, arborists and viticulture professionals during the recent autumn and winter pruning season.

For more information on the CEuk range, visit www.ceuk-intl.com, email info@ceuk-intl.com, or go to the CEuk Facebook page, www.facebook.com/CEuk.Intl.

For more on Niwaki’s range of Japanese pruning tools and other accessories, visit www.niwaki.com.

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