TD News, Number 1, 2009 - Internet Web Site: '' Send an e-mail request for username and password to: ''

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Accessories for the Field

Pulaski Sheaths—When not in use, the Pulaski's sharp ax and hoe toolheads should be covered by an orange plastic sheath. As currently designed, the sheath's strap can slip through the buckle, allowing the covers to loosen or fall off the toolheads. The tech tip "Improving the Pulaski Sheath" (0823-2347-MTDC) explains how to modify the current sheath with a strip of nylon webbing and a metal buckle to keep the covers tight on the toolheads.

Belt Sander for Sharpening Pulaskis and Axes—Field crews typically use hand files to sharpen their Pulaskis and axes. Narrow belt sanders can be used to do the job more quickly, but sanders can damage the blade if they are used improperly. The tech tip "Modified Belt Sander Sharpens Axes and Pulaskis" (0823-2327-MTDC) explains how to fashion a bracket that allows a commercially available belt sander to be used much like a draw file. Diagrams for constructing the bracket and instructions for sharpening single- and double-bit axes and Pulaskis are included.

Collecting Native Seeds—Collecting native seeds by hand can be a tedious and time-consuming task. MTDC was asked to evaluate some alternative methods that might streamline the task. The tech tip "Hands Beat Machines for Collecting Native Seed" (0824-2353-MTDC) describes field tests that compared the Garden Groom Pro hedge trimmer, the Euro-Pro Shark hand-held vacuum, and traditional hand collection.

Photo collage containing three photos.  The first is a Pulaski with sheath.  The second is a belt grinder used to sharpen axes.  The third is of a person using a seed collector.

For additional information on the modified Pulaski sheath, the belt sander bracket, or on collecting native seeds, contact Mary Ann Davies, project leader (phone: 406-329-3981, email:

Helicopter Accessory Tips

Leadlines—Some leadlines are incompatible with the standard 3,000-pound capacity cargo net because the leadline hook's spring gate does not close when the two cargo net links are inserted into the hook. The tech tip "3,000-Pound Leadline Retrofit" (0857-1304P-SDTDC) describes an investigation into this problem and offers some possible solutions. The most practical solution is to retrofit the affected cargo leadlines. Instructions on the retrofit are included.

Dip Tank Guide—Firefighting helicopters use mobile, collapsible dip tanks to cut the distances they must travel when the local water source is not deep enough, or to alleviate environmental concerns when using water from local steams or lakes. Dip tanks come in many sizes, shapes, and forms. The tech tip "Helicopter Dip Tank Capabilities and Users' Guide" (0857-1303P-SDTDC) provides helicopter field operators with the information needed to match the proper dip tank to their equipment, while improving safety and reducing costs. Information on care and maintenance of various dip tanks is also included. This tech tip updates the original published with the same title in 2006.

This photo contains two drawings.  The first is of a leadline retrofit.  The second drawing is of a water-filled dip tank with a filled bucket coming out of it.

For additional information on the leadline retrofit or helicopter dip tanks, contact Carl Bambarger, project leader (phone: 909-599-1267, ext. 253; email:

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