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Draper Expert 45312 225 mm Bypass-Pattern Secateurs
I'm very fortunate to have a very large garden as I love growing all types of plants, shrubs and trees but of course there is a considerable amount of maintenance work involved. I own a small collection of secateurs however one of my two pairs of bypass secateurs has become corroded over recent years and almost useless despite my efforts to restore and sharpen. My daughter gave me these Draper expert bypass secateurs as a birthday present last Autumn and it was the ideal time of the year to test them out with the usual abundance of pruning and trimming at the end of growing season.
~~ Draper Tools Ltd ~~ Originating in 1919 Draper Tools is a British company and I was impressed to discover the business has remained family run to the present day. Draper Tools prides itself in producing quality tools at reasonable prices along with following high ethical and environmental standards of practice.
~~ Bypass Secateurs ~~ There are three main types of secateurs; anvil, parrot-beak and bypass. The two cutting blades of bypass secateurs work like a pair of heavy duty scissors. Bypass secateurs are probably the most widely used secateurs in the garden as they are ideal for fine to medium plant stem pruning and cutting.
~~ Initial thoughts ~~ Being fussy about colour, I liked the green painted and black plastic and rubber black colouring of these secateurs, but more importantly I thought they looked well made in design and material, giving an overall immediate impression of quality. They feel solid without being too heavy. I have quite small hands so can tend to find secateurs cumbersome and awkward to hold and operate, these secateurs feel comfortable to grasp, open and close.
~~ Description ~~ The secateurs are 22cm long and 6.5cm at the widest part. I would say they are perfectly suitable for those with small to medium size hands and with or without gardening gloves. The metal handles are designed in such a way to provide a comfortable and sure grip. The lower handle is curved downwards at the end to prevent your fingers from sliding off the handle as you work. The higher handle is made with a wide black rubberised and textured strip to provide user comfort and prevent slipping. In my view this is especially good design because often when pruning your hands can become wet due to recent rain, dew or watering on the plants or shrubs. On more than one occasion when using secateurs I have found my hand slip as I've began to cut a branch which has resulted in a bad angled cut or the secateurs falling out of my hand altogether. The handles are spring-loaded for ease of use.
The blades are Teflon coated to prevent corrosion, another good design feature as secateurs stored outside throughout year in a shed (or on occasion accidentally left out in the garden) do need to be durable. Surprisingly quite a few of my garden tools have become rusty and corroded to some extent over time.
A black plastic thumb lever lock releases the blades. I found this needed quite a bit of force to shift at first but after a few weeks of use this eased and has since been easy to push across with my thumb yet provides a strong secure lock when closed. It would be a simple matter of tightening a screw if in the future the lever lock becomes too loose.
There is a little black plastic slider button for three blade opening positions marked by dots. The narrowest allows the blades to open only at 2.5cm, central position is 3cm and the widest is to 4cm. At first I thought it a little disappointing the blades did not open wider than 4cm, but quite honestly in use I have never found this to be a problem or hindrance in any way at all.
~~ Ease and Efficiency of Use ~~ I have been using the Draper secateurs for 9 months as my main pair of secateurs, they were used extensively during the Autumn clear up in my the garden and for a couple of large pruning projects in early Spring. They are comfortable and reliable to work with, both for small projects and large. My hands have never ached or slipped whilst using these secateurs. The secateurs will cut cleanly through woody stems, smartly through soft pliable stems and also neatly trim delicate fine stems. They will easily and efficiently cut a blade of grass. I have used these secateurs to prune large shrubs such as rhododendron and hydrangea, prune back wild rose and honeysuckle and also cut thin branches of trees such as willow, laurel and hazel. They are presently in regular use for trimming herbs, tomato and cucumber plants and even collecting flowers for vases indoors. In my experience so far they have proved to be excellent general use secateurs. They have become rather muddy at times, also on a couple of occasions left out in the garden during rain and along with a considerable amount of use I can say they are operating as well as they did when new. For a relatively inexpensive pair of secateurs, I'm thoroughly impressed.
~~ Availability and Price ~~ Draper Expert 45312 225 mm Bypass-Pattern Secateurs are currently available from Amazon priced £9.72 and from Tooled-Up.com for £11.99. In my mind these secateurs are very good value for money, a few of my more expensive secateurs just do not compare in terms of good overall design.
~~ Conclusion ~~ Well designed, comfortable, efficient and durable bypass secateurs. 5 stars without hesitation.