Front Range Seed Analysts
1997 Seed Forum Volume 11 Number 2
BETTER SCARIFICATION TOOLS
by Annette Miller, RST USDA/ARS National Seed Storage Lab
Model train buff and seed analyst Dennis Moss recently lent me a catalog that has changed my attitude toward seeds with exceptionally hard seed coats. Among the metal trunk tree kits, fake water, loom-aline for model ship rigging, and Rocky's Tavern replica kit, are a wide array of small tools which work wonders for holding the slipperiest seeds and scarifying the toughest seed coats.
Micro-Mark the Small Tool Specialists" is located at 340 Snyder Avenue, Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922-1595, phone: 1-800-2251066. Some tools we have purchased and used at the NSSL are: diamond needle files (and handles, sold separately), micro saws, the x-2000 knife handle with an ergonomically comfortable rubber handle, world's smallest wood chisels, a jeweler's hand vise, and a "surgical seizing tool" (a clamp with rubber ends). The last tool grips too softly for seeds I've been working with lately but in my future there may be a seed for this tool.
In the category "tools we haven't bought but look interesting":
- Pen size micro-torches
- Micro pliers
- Miter Master and The Chopper
- The tool that gets the prize for best name: Crocodile action ear polyps. This has a bent handle, long shaft, and tiny jaws at the end.
Our search for more ergonomic tools led us to Swanstrom Tools USA of Superior, WI 54880. We ordered plizers, transverse cut pliers, and several tweezers with thick rubber handles that are baked onto the tweezers. You can I t "drag" as you do during purity analyses, but you can poke and pick up seeds and seedlings. Occupational therapists recommend the wider grip for those with hand pain from repetitive strain injury. All of Swanstrom's tools that we purchased are high quality, light weight and comfortable. The plizers and pliers have a delicate spring action.
Gone are the days of frustration over seeds that wreck the razor blades and my hands. Micro-Mark and Swanstrom should be invited to next year's meetings.
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