I got this pruner and the build quality is certainly good, but my cut experience is not going good. The cuts are not clean. Check the pics attached:

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This is how I do it: I place the pruner in position at an angle with the blade side up and snap! Or do I need to do it slowly? As you can see the cuts towards the end are not good. Or this is fine?

The pruner is a 15" mini pruner and I selected it cause it can cut upto 25mm stems.

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Although these are meant to cut up to 25mm stems, in practice, it's better to stick well inside the limit of the cut; in my experience with this length of pruner, achieving a very clean cut on stems at the maximum width is next to impossible. The other drawback with this type of pruner is that, because the length of your pruners requires a two handed approach, it's very hard not to slightly twist or wrench as you make the cut rather than keeping them at the same angle as when you started. In the top picture, the side of the pruning cut which is lower likely means you inadvertently did slightly twist the pruners as you used them - this is much easier to avoid with a smaller pair of secateurs that can be operated with one hand. Paradoxically, larger pruners (loppers) with much longer handles are easier to operate and keep level using two hands; I once used pruners like the ones you bought and I had a lot of trouble with them. I found they weren't very good at thin woody stems and did not make a clean sharp cut on thicker ones.

I missed your earlier question about what pruners to buy; I would have recommended bypass pruners that cut up to either 18 or 22 mm using only one hand, similar to these https://www.worldofwolf.co.uk/product/wolf-garten-bypass-secateurs/RR2500~RR2500?gclid=Cj0KCQiApaXxBRDNARIsAGFdaB_Mxq_f5oLfrZUWwPqpuARUcnvxK76jrZjn778_euT1BClFoqrsCo4aAq3zEALw_wcB. These are my favourites in the reasonably priced section (Felcos are said to be top of the range, but I've always found them uncomfortable to use). For thick branches on trees and shrubs, I'd have recommended loppers with an anvil action rather than bypass because these are better at cutting dead wood, (although bypass ones are better on live branches), with long handles (much longer than the ones you've bought). These are sometimes available with telescopic handles which means you can reach much higher branches by extending them.

Some guidance on pruners and how to use them correctly here https://www.gardenmyths.com/anvil-bypass-secateurs-pruners/

  • There are some pruners with springs and I heard that the springs break easily. amazon.in/Falcon-Major-Steel-Secateurs-Assorted/dp/B00LA47M60/… amzn.to/3aDNz6H – 4-K Jan 23 '20 at 16:29
  • That's the problem.One-hand pruners available here cut only upto 15mm, even the best ones. And the one you linked is available but crazily overpriced at 27 Pound or $35. I have mix of branches a little thicker than 15mm and probably 18-20mm. And you are right, these are not very good to use with one hand. Do you think I will benefit from a smaller one than this larger one? – 4-K Jan 23 '20 at 17:22
  • Whenever I've had them with springs like that, the spring inevitably falls out and gets lost rather than them breaking, so I don't really like those. I think you will find a smaller, one hand only use pair more useful generally - pity you can't get those that will cut thicker branches though because up to 15mm is not going to do all the things you want.... – Bamboo Jan 23 '20 at 17:30
  • So what's your take on this? This pruner good enough or should I change it to the ones that do 15mm cuts? I am confused :( I want the best one of the two and this is my very first time purchasing a pruner. – 4-K Jan 23 '20 at 17:31
  • 1
    To answer your earlier question in this thread ("what's your take on this?"), for cuts over 25mm I would recommend buying a Japanese-bladed pruning saw. Nice clean cuts, one-handed operation, lasts for years without sharpening if properly maintained. Also useful for smaller twigs as well, but I use a secateurs for those - unlike Bamboo, I love my Felco 8 :) – Jurp Jan 23 '20 at 21:56

There are a few factors to consider:

  1. cutting edge sharpness - the finer the edge on the cutting blade the more readily it will bite into a wood surface. Try using the pruner on a hardwood dowel and see if it marks the surface easily, then try it on softer wood such as a pencil. When sharpening, make sure to eliminate nicks and sharpen to one angled side followed by a completely flat side to ensure the cutting blade meets the anvil as accurately as possible.
  2. related to number 1 is thinness of the cutting blade. A thicker blade will be strong, but more likely to create resistance and twist the cutting sideways.
  3. tip spread - as you apply force to the handles there may be some tendency for the cutting edge to move sideways relative to the anvil side. This results in a bending and crushing rather than a cut. Check that the bolt at the pivot point is snug.
  4. twisting motion during cut - take care as you cut to keep an eye on what the anvil side is doing. Sometimes you can deliberately twist sideways to keep the cutting edge moving towards the anvil side.
  5. wood softness - particularly with sappy softwood, if the cutting edge is dull there will be a tendency to crush the wood, perhaps separating and splitting bark from the wood at the cambium layer. In effect it is yielding to a flat surface. Some wood such as elder has little to no pith and therefore will collapse rather than cut. Your third pic shows some cracks indicating compression followed by release as the cutting edge passes through. This is less likely to happen in active soft wood since the tissues are more tightly bound longitudinally.
  6. length of cut - sometimes it helps to not worry too much about the first cut to get the bulk weight off the work, then make a second more exact cut at the precise location you need.
  • The bolt is snug. I just received the pruner today. – 4-K Jan 23 '20 at 16:35
  • 1
    Point 6 is important. If you are cutting a heavy branch which is growing sideways, the weight will open up the top of the cut and compress the bottom on either side of the blade so it can not cut cleanly, Often the result is that something gets torn apart, not cut. This applies to any type of pruning, right up to chain saw work. – alephzero Jan 23 '20 at 19:30

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