Product Review – Slammer Tool, The Ultimate Landscaping Tool?

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One gardening tool to cut through anything, one garden tool that can dig anywhere, one garden tool to rule them all…

The Slammer Tool is an industrial grade, commercial multi-purpose tool that is a combination of a crowbar, axe, spade, mattock and grubber all in one. This tool is designed to cut through tree and bamboo roots, break concrete, remove tree stumps, dig post holes, split wood, loosen heavy soil and more. It combines the force and impact of a heavy sledgehammer with the cutting ability of a digging bar and an axe, that’s serious cutting power!

If you’re wondering about the name, it’s called a Slammer Tool because it uses a powerful slide-hammer action, the downward force of the solid steel inner bar slams down the heavy cutting blade, producing lots of force in the same spot again and again, focusing all its energy in a very small, precise area for highly efficient and accurate cutting.

Using the Slammer Tool is much easier on your back and shoulders than a digging bar, as there’s no twisting or swinging involved. You lift the sliding handle straight up using your legs or core muscles, and then bend your knees to drop your whole bodyweight down with the weight of the tool to SLAM IT DOWN!

Basically, the Slammer Tool is a hand-powered jackhammer that’s great to use in tight spaces where heavy machinery can’t reach. It’s built to last, made from high tensile steel, structural pipe and abrasion resistant steel plate, so it can handle the toughest of jobs. It takes almost no space in a work vehicle, can do those difficult jobs that no other tool can do, is easy to use, and a less expensive option than using heavy industrial equipment or herbicides.

 

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Where can you purchase this product? This product is made and distributed by Ryset Australia, a wholesaler which supplies the retail garden and professional agricultural industry. Ryset doesn’t sell to the public, but supplies retail outlets.

The Slammer Tool can be purchased from www.forestrytools.com.au or  www.theolivecentre.com who both deliver Australia wide. The retail price is around $275.

International readers can purchase the product from the following distributors and stockists worldwide:

 

Product Description

The Slammer tool weighs 9kg (20 lbs), about the same as a large crow bar. It’s made of two parts, one which slides inside the other.

The lower section is made up of a blade welded to a structural steel tube shaft, and weighs 4.5kgs (10 lbs). The blade itself is made from hardened abrasion resistant Bisalloy steel plate.

The upper section which sides up and down inside the lower tube is made of a solid high tensile steel bar with a welded hand guard which forms the handle, and also weighs 4.5kg (10 lbs). It slams into the lower section to accurately and powerfully drive the blade into whatever is being cut.

Conveniently, the tool can be separated into two shorter 4.5kg pieces, one in each hand when walking around, if you don’t want to carry a longer 9kg tool around.

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The lower section has a durable heavy rubber buffer attached to the top of shaft to absorb the shock and eliminate the noise when the upper section slams down on it. There’s also a wool baffle inside the shaft to reduce shock and noise, and a spare wool baffle one is supplied with the tool.

Here’s the tool assembled together, it’s 139cm (954”) long and weighs 9kg (20 lbs)

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The Slammer Tool comes in it’s own tough and really well made carry bag, with Velcro closures and a heavy duty reinforced flap on the blade end. To protect the blade and your vehicle when transporting the tool, the blade comes with a protective tubing safety cover which fits over it tightly.

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The tool uses a heavy duty, sharp, 5-sided blade to cut through roots, rocks and tough ground.  The bladed is made from Bisalloy abrasion resistant steel hardened to around 40 Rockwell C, which is the same as a lawn mower blade.

I did some research on the blade material and found that the company which makes the steel is Bisalloy Steels, Australia’s only manufacturer of high-tensile and abrasion-resistant quenched and tempered steel plate used for armour, structural and wear-resistant steel applications.

The angled sides of the blade make it easy to dislodge the blade when it’s sunk deeply in the ground by rocking the tool side to side.

The welding joint is clean, even and tidy, and it fuses together the blade, the tubular shaft and a solid steel reinforcement rod which sits inside the  shaft to strengthen and brace this critical area. The blade is coated in a durable tough black finish which doesn’t wear off very easily.

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The blade has an nice evenly ground edge or bevel, it’s sharp and ready to go. The angle of the bevel is wide enough to put lots of metal behind the edge of the blade when used against hard materials such as concrete. The front edge of the blade is concave, or curved inwards, which allows it to sit on tree roots easily and not slide off sideways when cutting. The hardened steel blade can be sharpened with a file or grinder to maintain the edge.

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There are two product labels near the top of the handle, one for SlammerTool.com, a website with lots of great information on the tool, and…

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The other label, the Ryset label, the Australian maker and distributor of the tool.

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How it Works

The Slammer tool uses the downward force of the inner bar to slam the cutting blade through roots and tough ground.

To use the Slammer Tool:

  1. Place the blade firmly where the cut needs to be made.
  2. Lift the handle straight upwards.
  3. Drive the handle downwards by lowering the arms and bending the knees.
  4. Repeat until the cut is made.
  5. To remove the tool from the ground after a deep cut, rock it from side to side along the cut and it will lift out easily.

Note: Use two hands to hold the handle, I had a colleague in the photos below use only one hand to make it easier to see what’s going on.

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The Slammer tool comes with a printed instruction manual, and there’s also an electronic version of the manual which is a bit different, but covers most of the same things anyway. You can view or download the Slammer Tool Operating Manual from my site or from the Slammer Tool website.

 

Testing the Slammer Tool

The Slammer Tool used in the first tests was supplied by Ryset, it’s a well-used loan tool for testing, and I was fortunate to have the opportunity to use the tool over the period of two weeks to put it through its paces for the purposes of this review.

 

Test # 1 – Removing a Yucca Tree in a Tight Space

Sometimes a gardener or landscaper encounters one of those jobs in really tight spaces where machinery or other tools cannot be used.

In this case it’s a Yucca tree growing in a narrow 45cm (18”) wide garden bed below a window frame and rendered window ledge, and very close to some tiled raised steps, all very easy to damage. There were some copper water pipes in that bed too running to a nearby garden tap to make things a bit more difficult. One careless swing could become a very costly accident!

The broken stump pictured below is what was left of a yucca tree after a car with a tow rope was used to try to rip it out. Most small shrubs and trees are easy to pull out this way, but yuccas have soft wood and the rope cut through the stem and the roots stayed firmly lodged in the ground.

I should point out that Yuccas have really nasty deep roots, and this narrow garden bed was actually filled edge to edge with very dense surface roots, neither a pick nor a shovel could cut into the ground at all. I know, I tried…

 

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Broken yucca tree stump rooted deeply into a narrow bed with no working space around it, the Slammer Tool is the only tool that I figured could do the job, so I used it for this test!

 

Here’s the Slammer loan tool pictured against the stump to be removed.

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I’ve taken the tool apart here to show the two sections.

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To remove the stump, I cut around it in a hexagonal shape, like a stop sign, cutting straight down as deep as I could go to slice off all the lateral (sideways growing) roots. After cutting all the way around, all that was left holding the stump in the ground was the deep tap root growing straight down.

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To cut the deep tap root, I cut in at an angle of 45-degrees from as many sides as I could get to, lifting the stump up from the ground bit by bit after each cut. The angled cut was made 30cm(12”) below the top of the soil.

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This is the bottom of the root which the Slammer Tool sliced through!

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The yucca root was just over 12cm (4.5”) thick, and cutting at an angle it was a much longer cut to make, closer to 15cm (6”) through solid wood.

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Yucca stump removed safely, no damage done to the house wall or window area around the garden bed. Score: Slammer Tool – 1, Yucca – 0!

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The yucca stump was cut off 30cm (12”) below the soil surface, and to make sure the remaining root didn’t re-sprout, I used the Slammer tool to cut even deeper and make an X-shaped cut at the top of the remaining root, going down an extra 45cm (18”), effectively splitting it four ways lengthwise! It never grew back, and a new garden was planted over the area.

 

Gardening Lessons – An Easier Way to Remove Yuccas with the Slammer Tool

A few weeks after removing the problematic yucca, a landscaper visited my work asking if I knew a way to remove yucca trees easily. I told him about my experience with the Slammer Tool and he liked the idea.

He came back my work a fortnight later, said he bought a Slammer Tool, really loved it, and thanked me for the suggestion! Even better, he figured out a better way of removing yuccas! They tied the tree trunks to a car tow bar using webbings traps to spread the load so they didn’t cut into the trunk, and drove forward very slowly. As the trees bent over, they cut into the roots from the opposite side with the Slammer Tool, releasing the yucca’s tight hold on the soil. The trees fell over easily with their deep roots attached, any remaining roots were cut away to remove the offending yucca trees from the property.

The Slammer Tool is also great for removing hard to access plants such as agaves with their dangerous pointed leaf tips and broad leaves which obstruct access to the base of the plant. The same landscaper told me that before he bought a Slammer Tool, he removed some large agaves with a brush cutter. The juice and bits of plant flying around went all over his legs and gave him a bad rash. Using a manual cutting tool like the Slammer Tool is much tidier, and you won’t end up covered in irritant plant material.

 

Test # 2 – Cutting Back Invasive Tree Roots to Allow Young Trees to Grow

After the first test, I was so impressed with the performance of the Slammer Tool that I bought my own. A colleague told me that he planted some young trees along his fence but they weren’t growing. When I visited, it was clear what the problem was. On the neighbours side of the fence were a few large trees planted very close to the fence, some were weedy trees that would have just blown in. Their roots extended into his garden beds, depriving his trees of water and nutrients, no wonder they weren’t growing after a year! I had the right tool for the job, so I gave him a lend of my Slammer Tool and showed him how to use it.

 

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Trees planted on the neighbour’s side are too close to the fence, the ground below is a tangled mess of hard roots where nothing grows!

 

To give young trees a chance to grow, it’s best to avoid competition from roots of larger, invasive trees. If tree roots have already invaded a garden area, a trench can be cut a distance from the garden area, preferably along the fence line, to sever invading roots.A root barrier can be fitted into the trench if it’s made deep enough, but an open trench will cause any growing roots to be air-pruned as they can’t grow through open air.

Even if a trench is shallow and eventually fills in with soil, or the offending roots finally grow underneath, it will take time for that to happen, which gives new trees the time they need to establish themselves.

The problem with digging a long narrow trench a few metres long in hard, compacted, root-filled soil is that it’s difficult back-breaking work! I brought over my Slammer Tool and showed my colleague how it works, and in no time he was cutting a long trench around 45cm (18”) deep along the fence line.

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Root barrier trench cut using Slammer Tool, no digging required!

 

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Cutting through compacted and root-filled soil is much easier with a Slammer Tool because the impact force goes into exactly the same place each time, every time, it’s much more efficient.

 

Hard, woody roots below the surface of the soil make manual digging impossible, the only way to get into the soil is to cut through them.

 

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Heavy roots below the surface!

 

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Here is a nice clean cut made through a hard woody root, the curve in the front of the blade stays on top of the root and holds the blade in place.

 

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Slicing through more roots, the blade does not move from the cut, unlike a digging bar, which strikes all over the place, and can dangerously deflect off hard, slippery live roots.

 

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The Slammer Tool has amazing cutting power, this cut was made through compacted soil, tree roots and rocks, the blade stayed sharp after a few metres of trench cutting, and the black finish on the blade wasn’t scratched or chipped in the process!

 

Test # 3 – Splitting Firewood

The Slammer Tool is a versatile tool, it has so many uses, which I’ll discuss a bit later in this review, but one which caught my attention was splitting firewood. After cutting several metres of trench through compacted soil, roots and rocks, was the blade still sharp enough to split wood?

I had to try this out on some really hard wood, so we used some rock-hard Australian redgum firewood for this test. The thing with redgum is the that wood is very dense, it blunts cutting tools such as saws, and has very uneven grain, making it much harder to split cleanly.

 

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A piece of redgum standing on its end.

 

Splitting narrow pieces of very hard timber with unpredictable and uneven wood grain can be quite dangerous with an axe the blade may be deflected or run out the side of a piece of timber during the cut. It’s so much safer and easier with a Slammer Tool.

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The crescent-shaped blade tip of the Slammer Tool blade sits securely on even fairly narrow pieces of timber.

 

It doesn’t take much force to split the toughest hardwoods with the Slammer Tool, in the test below the handle was only lifted about a foot to give a fairly gentle tap and the blade sailed right through without any effort. The weight of the tool itself did all the work. When you have a 4.5kg (10 lbs) of force coming down on an equally heavy blade, it’s much heavier than any axe!

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Redgum firewood easily split in two, the uneven split shows how bad the grain is in this dense wood, which plays havoc with axes and block splitters, and can easily cause deflection.

 

The narrow blade works best on hard wood, if you try to cut into a large pieces of soft wood wider than the blade, it may get jammed. The inventor of the tool recommends when splitting to put wood on a hard surface with a piece of plywood underneath, rather than on a wooden block.

Small rounds of timber can simply be split in half. When splitting large rounds, split from the outside using the blade with the grain. To keep the wood in place to be split again, and to stop it going everywhere, an old tyre can be place around larger timber rounds.

 

What Else Can the Slammer Tool Do?

The Slammer tool is a really such a versatile tool, it’s a worthwhile investment because it can do so many jobs that other tools can’t do, and it makes any task that much easier to perform. It’s used by many professional landscapers, botanical gardens and park departments for it’s simplicity, durability and ease of use.

Here is a list of uses for the Slammer tool:

  • Landscaping – digging into heavy compacted soils, or hard ground filled with rocks, roots, or buried concrete can be done much more efficiently with the Slammer Tool, with less strain on your back.
  • Planting – the Slammer Tool can be used to aerate the soil, remove unwanted plants, and help mix compost or fertiliser into the soil to improve it. New plant and trees are better able to establish themselves much faster when their roots can grow more easily through loose, friable soil.
  • Transplanting Trees and Shrubs – is often done using a spade to cut around the rootball, but thick roots can’t be cut through easily, so a digging bar with a wide blade is also brought in. Using the Slammer Tool, it’s easy to make a clean cut around the rootball, and lift it out.
  • Removing Flax, Bamboo and Large Grasses – by cutting at the root base with the Slammer Tool while a second person lifts the plant out. For large roots, cut through at a 45-degree angle from one side, then make another 45-degree angle cut on the opposite side to cut right through, much like chopping through a tree with an axe.
  • Stump  Removal – is much easier when all the roots around the stump are cut, allowing the stump to be moved and levered. Working closer in and underneath the stump, more roots can be cut with the sharp blade, and after the taproot at the bottom is cut, pry the stump out of hole.
  • Digging – can be done using the Slammer Tool just like a  digging bar to break up the soil.
  • Removing Woody Weeds – using just the lower half of Slammer tool with the blade end as a weeding tool to dig out and lift long taproots.
  • Breaking Concrete – is fairly quick when the blade is driven into an existing crack in the concrete, it takes a bit longer if the concrete is intact. There’s also a Chisel Point Slammer Tool available which is specifically designed for breaking concrete.
  • Post Hole Digging – is much quicker and easier when the Slammer Tool is used first to break up the soil. Once the soil is loosened it can then be removed with a hand auger, post hole digger or post hole spade with much less effort.

 

The Slammer Tool is a durable and reliable implement which can be also be used as a first response tool in various emergency scenarios:

  • Earthquake Recovery  – In areas where machinery cannot reach or where power is not available, the Slammer Tool can be used for forced entry, digging and cutting, prying and breaking rubble to gain access.
  • Fire Services – can use this tool to gain access to buildings, break rubble, lever burning logs out of the way, and as a digging implement to dig out burning root systems from the ground, dig trenches, or reach broken pipes in the ground.
  • Mountain Rescue – can use this tool to break rocks and ice, dig out emergency shelters or embed it deep into the ground as an anchor point.

 

Maintenance

High quality, heavy duty tools like this will last a lifetime when they’re looked after, and it’s fairly easy to keep a Slammer Tool well maintained.

I’ve copied the following maintenance guidelines from the instruction manual:

  • Clean the Slammer regularly keeping it dry and free of dirt
  • Separate the inner shaft from the outer shaft and blade. Oil both parts of the Slammer regularly.
  • Use a file or grinder to keep the Slammer blade sharp.
  • The Slammer comes with a woollen noise-dampening baffle inside the shaft. This will need to be periodically replaced based on usage. You can use a 25cm x 3cm strip of a woollen blanket or purchase a baffle pack of 10 from our shop.
  • Under incredibly heavy loads, the Slammer may bend. In this case, it can easily be straightened. Find the apex of the radius and apply pressure in the opposite direction or take the tool to your local engineer.

Conclusion

The Slammer Tool has to be one of the most useful tools I’ve ever purchased, period. Being a heavy duty lifetime tool made from premium materials, which performs brilliantly for the tasks it was designed to do, it’s excellent value for money. In summary, it’s an irreplaceable manual hand tool that packs the punch of a power tool, yet is really easy to transport, and it’s the perfect tool for those impossible landscaping or gardening jobs where no other tool is quite right. It doesn’t matter whether you’re dealing with hard ground packed with roots, rocks and builder’s rubble, plants with root systems designed to make them unmovable, or piles of well-seasoned rock-hard firewood timber, the Slammer Tool is the right tool for the job, and I wholeheartedly recommend it!

Deep Green rating for the “Slammer Tool” is 5 stars!

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If you are interested in submitting a product for review, please contact us via email at deep_green@optusnet.com.au , thanks!

 

 

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About Angelo (admin)

Angelo Eliades is a presenter, trainer, writer, permaculture consultant, urban permaculture pioneer and food forest specialist.
This entry was posted in Product Reviews, What's New! and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Product Review – Slammer Tool, The Ultimate Landscaping Tool?

  1. thelongview says:

    Sounds interesting. Is it available in India?

    Like

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