“There has to be a better way!” those were my words after trenching with an average size trencher, then shoveling in the hot sun and the hard ground. The trencher wouldn’t go where I wanted the trench, and the shovel didn’t fit in my hand very well. When it did, it bounced back at me in the hard dirt.

With the increased need to conserve water and the desire for healthy green plants, so has increased the need for the small trench — narrow and often shallow. These needs inspired me to take up the chain saw, usually sitting idle, and make it a more versatile tool. A friend of mine welded small “diggers” on a used wood cutting chain, and, behold, it actually did dig in the dirt (contrary to my father’s many admonitions).

I used it several years for my own use. Then in 1983 I hired a company in Portland, Oregon to engineer and design fine points, making the trenching chain as strong as possible with the most popular 3/8″ pitch chain in mind.

The criteria for its development was that it had to be simple and able to change over from wood cutting as quickly as changing any chain without altering the motor unit in any way. This limited us to motor units with outboard sprockets and also made it essential that we replace sprocket covers with covers providing more clearance and protection.

It is important to remember that this is not a trencher, but a mini-trencher, and that it does a really great job in the delicate, hard to reach places. It is almost indispensable for shallow trenches, so useful with drip irrigation, bender board, irrigation wire, and so on. This makes it an inexpensive and productive item to place among your other useful irrigation tools.

It came unexpected to us that many people were using our chain for root balling and root pruning. It’s beyond us to discourage that or any other profitable use. We were delighted with Glen Bergamento from Kauai Garden Center, Kauai, Hawaii when he said they were able to dig 20 palms in 30 minutes with no damage to the plants. This led us to develop a chain that can be used on any motor unit.

We are grateful for the acceptance we have received at the trade shows and on the job site.

Mini-Trencher should soon become as well known as the shovel!

Bill Rose, is the developer and inventor of Mini-Trencher.