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Tree gaffs from Europe and USA are different

Richard Tregoweth - Tuesday, December 01, 2009

In arboriculture the Americans and the Europeans do things differently. Different climbing styles and different equipment - probably due to different trees.

Most differences are obvious but some are more subtle: tree gaff styles for example. There are the American-style gaffs - straight with a narrow point and European-style gaffs with the slightly crooked leg and a wider platform tip.

Ask ten climbers which gaffs they prefer and you will get ten answers. From our discussions with climbers it appears the European style gaffs are better suited to softer, thicker barked trees (eg pines). The crooked, slightly offset leg and wide platform tip offer better purchase in the bark.

Climbers using American-style gaffs in this type of tree say they tend to loose grip more easily due to the narrower tip - making for a tiring day. Some customers have both styles and change gaffs depending on the trees they are working on.

One thing is certain: you should always check which gaffs are on the climbers you intend to buy before you make your investment.

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