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 Post subject: The Slammer tool
PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2014 1:26 am 

Joined: Thu Oct 09, 2014 11:35 pm
Posts: 3
Location: Wanaka, New Zealand
Kia Ora from New Zealand,

I thought I might post some information about the Tools that I make here in New Zealand.

First off, it was 25 years ago digging out a large grove of Ph Henon that I broke every tool my dad had in the shed including some quite expensive chainsaws. My Great grandfather had a coal digging tool called a jack pick and it was a large slide hammer that I copied and found quite useful for cutting roots and transplanting the large mature bamboo. I was living in Redmond, Washington at the time and a group of people were setting up a Bamboo nursery called Bamboo Gardens of Washington.

I loved the concept and became a regular till I started working there, when I was not making Snowboards( our first boards were made from Bamboo! 28 years ago) or Mountain bikes. I was big time into Hemp at the time and found that Hemp and Bamboo went hand and hand. While working at Bamboo Gardens I was in charge of removal, maintenance, grove propagation, bamboo construction, and making Slammers! The tools were a combination of tools that already existed and Ned from Bamboo Gardens in Oregon had shared with us his designs. We had local engineers make them and we sold a few, but not many. We also sold the King of Spades and used all these tools daily. The Slammers were O.K. but with daily removal jobs they did fail regularly and we would just weld them up and bend them straight again. One of the best tools we used for super duper dense bamboo removals was a Kango K26 Demo saw and a small digger, but both were very expensive and The Slammer/ King of Spades combo made nice neat rootballs and were easy to pot up and Sell again!

In 1999 I left the States and worked in Maui Hawaii removing running bamboo from the State Parks and we made stronger Slammers and made our own spades. I also got to make some awesome Bamboo houses with Jeffree Trudoe and Bamboo Technologies. I went on a cycle trip to New Zealand and I never left. While living in N.Z. I was helping on farms and this led to making Slammers not for Bamboo but for digging in real hard soil, rock and roots. I made 14 different prototypes with a 100 year old engineering firm and we made and tested these tools till we were happy to sell them. There were lots of different metal combos and connection types until we found a simple, solid, and user friendly tool. So we filed our patent not on the slide hammer but on the connection that attaches the blade to the pipe and takes the load of the male section when being Slammed. We use this connection in the construction of all our tools. We also found the best blades were made from a Abrasion Resistant Steel produced in Japan by the JFE corporation. This steel is used in digger buckets and armoured plating in military equipment. The design of a 5 sided blade was also so very important so that we could get the tool out of dense rootballs and dirt with out breaking our backs. Working the tool side to side it cuts its way out, so very important! The pipe is high grade structure pipe made by TATA steel and the solid bits are High tensile. We sell quite a few tools to engineers who know the cost of the steel and find our price more reasonable than if they sourced it themselves and made it at there shop.

So even though the tool was designed for Bamboo most of our tools are not sold to Bamboo people but all different types of labour intensive jobs. One thing that has always been a subject of these tools is using it as a pry bar. Wether you are digging out a prized clump of Buddha's Belly or removing concrete in a emergency earthquake, if you pull the male section of the tool out to gain greater leverage you are going to bend the pipe. My Slammer is 8 years old and I have bent it hundreds of times. Usually it is because I have not cut the roots completely thru or I am just trying to pry a very heavy load. Remember we use these tools as a anchor for 4 wheel drives that weigh 3.5 tons! When I bend the pipe, I flip the tool over and pry and bend till it is straight. It is not easy to bend when the male shaft is all the way in the pipe. We have used Stainless steel pipe, seamless pipe, carbon fibre pipe, and even titanium! I have bent them all or broke them. So when I am taking out large clumps or stumps I also use a very old and heavy bar to help pry. Most of the time I do not need it and over time I now know when I am pushing the limits on my old well used Slammer.

I have seen many different Slammers made in the last 25 years and seen many copies of the one we make and well, you know you must be doing something right when lots of people copy what you do. Good luck to all of them, for me its all about making a good value tool that I use everyday. I make money using The Slammer not Selling it. I still work with Bamboo, but now it is mostly for Bio Filtration on Agricultural land and growing Temperate runners in forms then using the rhizomes as the building material rather than the canes, because its stronger and looks so cool! Educating people about bamboo and selling tools to control, maintain, and remove the areas where it is not wanted has been very helpful for me to break down the barriers that label this useful group of plants as invasive weeds!

I hope this helps others to understand The Slammer and how it came about and our website will also have a lot of information. Thank you for taking the time to read this long post, and Happy Slammin'

T.J. Irvin

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