The Right Tool for the Job – Part 2
Making Toys For Your Parrots – Edge Utility Cutters – A Must-Have Tool! – G.E.T. Creative! – by Gaye Thomasson
In a recent post I wrote about utilizing “the right tool for the job,” particularly when making fresh/frozen chop for your parrots. While I was repairing and rebuilding some bird toys today for one of my Blue and Gold Macaws, I realized there is another tool you might want to add to your list of “must-haves” in your bird supplies.
One of my favorite toys to construct for my birds is made simply of drilled PVC pipe, sisal rope and drilled chunks of pine. I love making them and all of my birds destroy them, inside their cages and outside in their flights. (I suppose that’s their own way of showing their love and appreciation!) One part of the construction that I found almost painful was cutting the sisal rope with scissors, even heavy duty scissors. After a session with the materials, my hands would have indentations from the handles of the scissors, becoming almost bruised. It became a grueling and unpleasant part of the toy making, to say the least, when making a number of the PVC toys at one time, and it certainly wasn’t quick.
And then, a few years ago, I participated in a workshop with Deb White (MakeYourOwnBirdToys.com , superbirdtoys.com, and avianenrichment.com). Deb is an extraordinary soul, creative beyond imagination, brilliant with her knowledge of parrots, and lo! full of really practical ideas for making bird toys. When she offered a pair of edge utility cutters to share with those of us slugging through rope with scissors, I thought I’d died and gone to Heaven. Zip, snip, done! Next? No pain, just instant cuts. (I believe I heard Deb mumble under her breath that she’d really appreciate it if she could return home with her pair of utility cutters. So I took them out of my bag….and slid them back across the table to her! Darn.)
These cutters take a substantial amount of time out of the process, and truly make cutting cotton or sisal rope of any thickness, utterly painless. They are terrific for cutting other toy making materials as well; plastic links, leather strips, etc. (Just not metal – you will damage the blades.) I am forever grateful to Deb for sharing not only her toy making knowledge with us that day, but enlightening us on “the best tool for the job.”
Though I was unable to slyly confiscate Deb’s personal pair of Craftsman Edge Utility Cutters, I later managed to quickly locate some for my own parrot tool box. There are probably more, but I’ve found two manufacturers of them, Craftsman (Sears) and Husky (Home Depot). I’ve even seen Home Depot sell them in sets of two (one for you, one for a friend…or one to lose). They sell for under $20, and if you wait for a sale, there’s a chance you’ll find a pair under $10. The blades on them are easy to replace and last a long time making this tool worth the small investment. So even if you don’t hear a hearty “thank you!” from your flock when you give them newly strung toys, at least your hands will appreciate your efforts to save them some pain!
Take a look!
And please check out Deb’s websites as well. Her toys are fabulous!