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What did people whack weeds with before weed-whackers?

For a variety of reasons (poor outdoor storage, limited outlets, etc. ) I do not want to get a gas or electric weed whacker, so I started to think of other options for maintaining the parts of my lawn that would normally call for a weed-whacker.

Presumably there was a need to whack weeds where a mower couldn’t reach before the weed whacker was invented. What tool (or tools) fulfilled this purpose and are they still available?

(Note: a cordless electric weed-whacker is probably really my best option but I am curious as to other options out there)

11 Answers 11

We own a tool that looks just like the one on the right here:

I used it just last week – it’s good for goldenrod, raspberries, oregano and the like. After a round with this the mower can handle it. Instructions for using it are at the American Trails site, among other places. We own a gas powered trimmer, but this is actually quicker (and lighter and quieter) when you want to do a fairly wide swath of clearing and you’re not trying to be precise. As for sharpening, we’ve had it for over 20 years and have never sharpened it. One side is now easier to use than the other, so I’ll think about sharpening it, but I really don’t know how. I’m ambidextrous so I just give preference to the better side.

For precise work, like the edges of paths, we use the oversize scissors pictured in the other answer, or the aforementioned gas trimmer if things are really getting so overgrown that it’s worth getting it out. We also pull up goldenrod, ragweed, and small pine trees by hand when we happen to be walking nearby.

What did people whack weeds with before weed-whackers? For a variety of reasons (poor outdoor storage, limited outlets, etc. ) I do not want to get a gas or electric weed whacker, so I started to ]]>