Mahmood Scissor-hands in da house!

15 Mar, '06

I was bored stiff yesterday, and as I fired the gardener last week (the guy pissed me off, was getting too lazy, too familiar and trying to take advantage of my cool attitude with him, anyway) I decided to stop by a new glory hole on the way home and pick up something that would pick me up, and what better thing to get then another power toy?

So I stopped off at Al-Mahroos (past the Salmania round-about, just after the Alam Flora place, turn in into the alleyway and you will be surprised at the buildings: huge modern sales offices, garden tools shop and workshop) and went a-lookin… a few minutes later I walked out with this beauty!

Makita Electric Chainsaw

So I went home, plugged it in and started hacking at the hedges!

I’m not kidding. I honestly thought that the bloody thing would work like a hot knife through butter and was surprised when it didn’t actually work like that. Damn thing sounds great but doesn’t cut when one adopts the “fire-hosing” approach, so that stupid twit Edward for sure was faking it.

After being walloped round the head by Frances (while the chain-saw was off of course, she’s careful that woman) and told to do it slowly and surely (!) and not in a hurry (!!) the last hedge actually was cut in a much better fashion once this new advice was registered in my brain.

But oh you should see the other 4 hedges, the first two were cut manually and they look like they were in a stampede of elephants (that’s what prompted the chain-saw buying idea) and the other two were even worse than the first pair!

I’ll get the hang of it one day I guess… but damn, it does sound beautiful! 🙂

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  1. Mahmood’s Den » Blog Archive » Lumberjack Mahmood? | 24 Mar, '07
  1. Steve The American says:


  2. Rick says:


    That is a chain saw- not a hedge trimmer! Chain saws are for cutting wood, hedge trimmers are for cutting hedges.
    I have a yard business so I notice these little things.

    Take care, Rick

  3. mahmood says:

    Steve: COWARD!

    Rick: I realised this small error after the masticating the first 3 hedges! Damn, but it does have a nice sound! So BD77 not totally down the drain… that’s another reason to go and spend some more money at Al-Mahroos (if they have a hedge trimmer that is!)

    Does anyone want to buy this super-duper Makita Electric Chain-Saw number 5016B? Used once, in perfect condition! Going cheap!!

  4. mahmood says:

    Oh Rick, I’m sure that’s the same unit they use to trim the hedges at the Ritz, though maybe they have a different chain.. will have to actually stop and ask next time I see them trimming. Do you know if the chain on this unit could be replaced with a hedge-trimming one?

  5. Rick says:


    No- a chain saw can’t be adapted to trim hedges. Here is a jpg of a gasoline powwered trimmer:

    The blades move back and forth in a scissors motion. On a chain saw the teeth move in a circular motion.
    Keep the chain saw for trees and buy a new electric trimmer. Trimmers are cheap and work for years.

    Take care, Rick

  6. mahmood says:

    Thanks again Rick.

  7. billT says:

    At least you can go into the movie business. You can call your first movie The Bahrain Chainsaw Massacre since you already have the leading character under contract. It would be a great way to get rid of gardeners.


  8. Nkb says:

    Just get an electric hedge trimmer. You don’t need a heavy duty gas powered one. You can use the chan saw when the trees grow a little, or a branch falls off, so all is not lost.

  9. Mike says:

    One of my teachers in high school slipped while operating a chain-saw. Nasty scars.

    Mahmood, keep that bad boy out of your armpit:)

  10. Tony Tindale says:

    So Mahmood, are you planning to re-enact (with a Manama angle) The Texas Chainsaw Massacre?

  11. Mike Knight says:

    Hi Mahmood,

    This did make me smile – I have this image of you with baseball cap on backwards, gritted teeth, and a grim look of determination on your face as you “attacked” your poor hedge.

    “If” the gardener at the Ritz Carlton does indeed use a chain saw to keep all the garden there looking so good (and it is rather wonderful) he must be 7th Dan grand master Blackbelt in Ti-Chain! – I would keep him as a close friend – he has skills you are probably best not knowing about!

    You could always give him a part-time job moonlighting at your place – then you can Vlog this Ninja hedge cutter in secret and expose his secrets to a nervous hedge phobic world.

    On a serious note – if you get the electric hedge trimmer – invest in a plug in powerbreaker which will cut off the power if you happen to slice through the power cord! I did exactly that – and it was an “interesting” moment…. This was quite some time ago – so modern trimmers may be better equipped to deal with manic hedge murderers….. buy the strongest, brightest coloured extension cord you can find – and take care not to frizzle your frazzle 🙂


  12. Citizen Quasar says:

    Hi Mahmood,

    I guess by now you know that the right tool for the job is a hedge trimmer and NOT a chain saw. I WILL add a couple of pointers though. Lawn power tools generally come in two species: gas powered and electric powered.

    Gasoline powered lawn tools generally have more power and don’t need kilometers of extension cords. However, they are louder and can sometimes be difficult to start. Also, most have two-stroke engines which require a mixture of gasoline and oil to operate. Also, they use oil which must be checked frequently during the job as it uses up quickly and may burn the engine out if allowed to empty.

    Electric powered lawn tools are quieter and easier to start. However, they generally have less power and require oodles of extension chords.

    Make sure and clean these tools after the job and store them properly.

  13. Citizan Quasar

    There is now a whole line of BATTERY powered LAWN tools and they are NICE. Most I have seen are powerfull enough for most garden jobs. They don’t slurp gas and of course they don’t need oodles of extension cords. Home Depot and Lowes carry them in the States and I would not be surprised if Geant has some in Bahrain.

  14. Harry says:

    If you are considering emmigration to Canada, there are openings for lumberjacks in British Columbia.

  15. mahmood says:

    Thanks Harry! I’ll take you up on that offer, where do I sign up?

    CW: as ever, thanks. Geant unfortunately do not carry those yet. I was there this afternoon looking for trellising which they had in stock last week, but ran out recently.. so I bought some seeds instead and went to a garden centre and got them from there.

    CQ: thanks, I’ve got enough extension cords and have already drawn up plans to install all-weather sockets in the garden to shorten those extensions.

    Mike: of course! But keeping with the electrics theme, the garden taps water pump stopped working and needed resetting. I didn’t think to just get the float switch and tipping it up while a tap was open, I had to open the cover while the electrics were live and wanted to flip the relay… needless to say the space in that compartment was restricted, and I electrocuted myself in the process… not kidding.. although tickley, but not my idea of fun. Thank goodness I pulled back quick enough. Fixed it though, I proceeded to water the honey-suckle which I transplanted into the front door planter!

    Fun afternoon!

    I finally had time to put together the portable super-duper-workbench I bought a couple of months ago from Manazel (before they go out of stock) and it looks sweet. Arif used it with the powered jig-saw to cut spacers for the trellises. I used it to drill those spacers and prepare them for installation. I installed two trellises one on top of the other at the front door planter in order for the newly relocated honey-suckle to crawl into. Replanted said honey-suckle Frances got from Scotland on her last trip there last summer and it was thriving in its large pot by the pool; now hopefully it will like the North-facing wall… time will tell on that.. but now the front-door planter looks almost complete. I’ve got Euphorbia Milli Hybrid, some carnations, a fantastic pink hibiscus, a red Ixora and a bed of Gazania at the side encircling a Sultania Rose (which is not doing very well, but some new growth is noticeable.)

    Now I am absolutely bushed. Time for bed!

  16. mahmood says:

    oh, one more thing… I finally bought an orange tree (satsumas) and planted that in a large pot which I placed on the pool deck.. let’s hope it survives.

  17. Steve The American says:

    Mahmood, you call it cowardice. I call it prudence. While I was happy to fly fighter jets for America into harm’s way, lingering about a far too enthusiastic Mahmood with chainsaw in hand, wondering aloud “I wonder how this thing works,” should give impulse to any strong heart to flee.

    However, now that all have been warned and I am safely thousands of miles away, far from any possible blood spatter, may I suggest the combination of your dangerous fascination with power tools and your art: Many artists here in the hinterlands of America sculpt logs with chainsaws. There is probably not much demand in Bahrain for chainsawed totem poles but who knows what object d’arts of local interest you might liberate from their sleep within local timber. All you need to make it happen is a dream and a chain saw.

  18. Next thing you know Mahmood will want bonsai lessons…………..

  19. AGA says:

    Orange tree? I don’t know what a satsumas is, though I’ll google it in a few moments, but I have to share on the general “orange tree” matter. I say “share” euphemistically, its more of a confession about a psychological “compulsion” I suffer from. Years ago, when I was a teen, I planted seeds form a couple oranges I had eaten (along with grate fruits and some other citrus fruits). This is the first year, some 25 plus years later, that I actually have oranges (green at present). I live in Michigan, the Mercot orange trees are in containers, and every Spring they get moved outdoors, and every Fall they move back indoors. My wife has killed a few of them, assuring me that it was an accident, but I have five surviving trees. They are “bonsai ‘d” at about 5 feet tall. I have to say that I envy your “warm” weather, your garden and pool, and the overall excellent shape they are in notwithstanding the gardener who lost his job. 🙂 Speaking from experience, a good pair of hedge clippers (I mean really good – German steel) works alot better than the mechanized contraption in terms of results and time. On the other hand, both will out perform a chain saw. LOL.(unless you are sawing a tree or carving an ice sculpture). Personally, I stay away from anything that needs to be plugged in. Its just too darn easy to get distracted and to cut the power cord. Well, at least that’s the line that won my wife’s assent to my gasoline powered purchases. 🙂

  20. CharlesWT says:


    The chain saw is the most dangerous hand tool that can be purchased on the open market. It requires no license and no training to own or operate. An overall average of 40,000 injuries and 150 deaths occur annually, within the USA alone, from chain saw related accidents.
    Basic Chainsaw Course

  21. Mike Knight says:

    Hey Mahmood,

    For goodness sake do a new blog!

    Everytime I open your blog, I see a picture of a chain saw, and directly above it the ONLY blooming tree on Bahrain Island that you might actually get executed for cutting down 🙂


  22. Beware of Mahmood The Toolman Al Yousif!!!!

  23. mahmood says:

    sorry about that folks, I’ve been in the garden non-stop almost since yesterday afternoon and enjoying it tremendously. I’ve just come back in after cutting and shaping two small hedges (with normal garden shears I might add, so no chainsaw any more!) and am absolutely bushed (pun intended!).

    I’m going to have a shower in a few minutes then go watch a movie with the family…

    Having fun! (transmission back to normal soon..)

  24. mahmood says:

    SBG you know that would be a good show to have hear, especially with you showing the tools and how they’re to be used. We could both be making money and raking it in! How about it?

  25. mahmood says:

    AGA, 25 years! Man you are patient, I hope and pray that your current crop would satisfy your wait and hope that it was worth the wait.

    I don’t know why, but although I do have 3 or 4 fruit trees planted, I never really give them any attention, the drip or the sprinkler take care of them; however, I have always had in mind to have a few citrus trees specifically around the pool deck. I got this single solitary thing now, but I have emptied two large pots of their contents (one had a passiflora and the other a honeysuckle, both of which have been replanted in the ground and climbing on trellises quite happily so far) I shall pass by the nursery tomorrow and pick up a couple more satsuma trees, or maybe one satsuma and one lemon, remains to be seen and dependent on my mood.

    But in any case, I shall believe the gardening advice in saying that you should never plant seeds from a mother plant or fruit because the result might not look like the parent, or just won’ be successful. Judging by your experience – and I recognise that your is an exception – I shall invest in plants rather than planting the seeds of those fruit I happen to eat.

    In any case, I’m an impatient individual and I can’t picture myself waiting for 25 years to see results! That fact earns a lot of respect from me, to you.

    Here’s to a good crop!

  26. AGA

    Wouldit be possible for me to get some of Mercot orange tree seeds from you????? My new greenhouse is ITCHING for some items to grow.

  27. Steve The American says:

    For those of you in need of some beach reading this summer and likewise fascinated by citrus, may I recommend Oranges by John McPhee. It’s a slim compendium of facts and stories about Our Friend, The Orange. It’s a fascinating fruit.

    For example, I didn’t know that they sawed the tops of orange trees off and grafted them to the bottoms of other trees in the orange orchards. It seems that some varieties of trees are good fruit bearers while others have good roots for foraging. I was also surprised to read that you can graft all kinds of different citrus branches on to the same tree so that you can have half a dozen different citrus fruits growing on the same tree: oranges, lemons, etc.

  28. Steve

    Allow me to extend an invitation to you to come up and visit for some beer, ribs and lessons in branch and root grafting grafting. It isn’t that hard to do once you understand the concept and have the right tools.

  29. mahmood says:

    CW: the right tools means a 16-inch electric chainsaw? I got one of those! Now what?

  30. You need an artistic eye, patience and a beginners tool set to get started. Seriously though I have used a chainsaw before on larger bonsai to remove some unwanted branches and do some rough carving on the trunk.

  31. Citizen Quasar says:


    This IS an interesting topic. Yet seeing that picture of a chain saw, the smiling picture of you in your banner, and that huge tree with the picnic table in your banner kind of gives me the willies.

    You’re not planning to cut THAT tree down are you? I guess not as you probably don’t have a long enough extension cord to reach it. (Ha! I’m only joking!)

    Speaking of gardening, what kind of tree is that?


  32. CharlesWT says:

    400 year old mesquite tree Bahrain Tree of Life

  33. Citizen Quasar says:

    Thanks, CharlesWT.


  34. AGA says:

    Mahmood: I appreciate the euphemism of patience, but the truth is that it requires psychotic devotion. I googled Satsuma and received Mandarin oranges. These are fine oranges, so fine, that people where I live eat them out of a can. (: You and I are in our 40’s, (though I suspect that your 40 plus years are the equivalent of 60 plus years of AGA life 🙂 ) so I heartily support your decision to plant trees instead of seeds. I suspect though, with your exercise program and quitting smoking, that you could plant a few seeds and see them bear fruit, so to speak. The only seeds that I plant now are seeds that mature in 30 to 90 days.

    CW: Though dyslexia runs in my family, I seem not to have it except when I am trying to spell words that I have not seen in print. When I spell words that I have not actually seen, for some inexplicable reason, I try to spell them in “French”, which I “studied” since I was 7 years or so through high school. I then proceed to anglicize the word and the result is “mercot” . The actual spelling is Murcott, or honey tangerine (thanks to my Google efforts). When I was growing up, these were prized oranges, since we would only get them when my grandparents would stop by our house on their way back home to dah UP from their wintering vacation in Florida. Grandpa would always have a bag of Murcotts for us, and we would eagerly greet him and proceed to have a few oranges while we conversed about their adventures in the sunshine state.

    If you indeed have a greenhouse, the kind that I have often “fanaticized” about, then I envy you. I also respect you, since you’ve been able to make that acquisition in Taxachusetts. 🙂 If you get a chance post some pics on your site, I’d love to see it. My fantasy is the kind that I could plant my orange and grapefruit trees into the ground and let them grow tall. I could then sit in a lawn chair (in my undershorts with a pina colada) with green grass and semi tropical trees in the dead of winter! I also have banana plants, and had coffee, pomegranate, kumquat, avocado, rest their souls, victims of a mistaken belief that the glassed in but unheated porch can’t get that cold in November. If I receive viable seeds from these Murcotts, you are welcome to them.

  35. Jamal says:


  36. AGA

    This will make greenhouse # 2 once it is installed. Ironically the reason this new greenhouse was bought is because of Bahrain. Or rather some plants I brought back a few years ago that now will be propagated and sold to another nursery that has agreed to buy them. The very inhospitable business and growing climate in the Commonwealth of Taxachusetts is another issue.

    If you do have what you think are some viable orange seeds please let me know. I would love to get them growing


    That is ONE BIG Greenhouse!! WOW!

  37. Wettap says:

    Glory Hole???

    Google it. Or go to the


    (BTW, great blog)

  38. Zeezoo says:

    Mahmood, I love gardening, but I would be terrified of coming to see your garden. I will only come if you enter it in the annual Garden Club contest. i am sure you would win in the “gutsiest” category! yikes!

  39. mahmood says:

    ah well, trust urbanisation to take something that is mundane and turn it to crudeness. shan’t complain though, that’s how languages develop!

  40. mahmood says:

    Zeezoo, next year! I’ll enter it in the “new gardens” category as it will be less than 4 years old. I’m still shaping and chopping and changing… the water feature is coming up next I think and a small patio at the front garden… or maybe not! Will have to wait and see…

    I’ll send the family off for a holiday this summer so I can spend ALL my time gardening. That will be my holiday!

  41. Johnster says:

    I have just read this blog Mahmood – and there are so many new names, how exciting is that?

    Anyway, I was wondering whether this cutting the top off and grafting it on to the bottom really works….and then I thought about some well know personalities that form the subject of certain other blogs of your and they proove it works as they now talk out of their **** !

  42. mahmood says:

    Oh by the way… I rehired Biju (the gardener) last week. He apologised and promised to apply himself to the garden much better than he has been over the last couple of weeks.

    Let’s see what this second chance brings in…

  43. Abdulla Sarhan says:

    Salam Mahmood
    I think thire some stores in Bahrain LEND bulding tools, So it will be better if you try it that way since we in Bahrain dont use hedge trimmers or chain-saw

  44. mahmood says:

    Thanks Abdulla, yes I’m aware of the rental scene and in truth I got the chainsaw by mistake thinking that it is a hedge-trimmer. Now I know better.

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