Trying to figure out which tools to get need advice

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by jnap31, Aug 2, 2006.

  1. jnap31

    jnap31 garden guy

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    I will be getting a number of tools over the next few months I am tired of constantly buying old shovels and tools at auction and yard sales only to use them for varying lengths of time and have them break, I am ready to invest in quality tools that will last and that I can pass down to the future grandkids so here are some shovels I was looking at tell me what you think is best
    http://www.leevalley.com/garden/page.aspx?c=2&cat=2,44813&p=45712 (I was wondering where these are made?)
    these are stainless steel and claim to be more durable than carbon steel So why are they so much cheaper than these Which look like carbon steel ?http://www.garrettwade.com/shopping...RODUCT&iMainCat=0&iSubCat=0&iProductID=107076 Now which do you think is the better quality? I am thinking the latter but the former says they will replace them if they break.

    here are some more that look pretty good I am no retired sumo wrestler but as much as I use them I really need something that is at least this good, still I like the idea of having an all stainless tool. I am not as good at replacing wooden handles as my grandpa. Kind of nice that there is a huge wooden handle manufacturer though about 40 min from my house. Still they claim these are less likely to break than the stainless ones
    http://www.leevalley.com/garden/page.aspx?c=2&cat=2,44813&p=46956



    here are some more UK tools they claim they will last a few generations but I dont believe it not with the original handle anyway http://smithandhawken.resultspage.c... tools&uid=26087140&&isort=score&w=spade&rk=9

    I have wanted one of these for awhile but the price!http://www.groworganic.com/item_GDO500_DeepSpader.html wish I could just make one by welding rebar to a pipe but I guess the rebar tines would not be strong enough wonder if their is another way perhaps I could look for other steel that would be strong enough?
     
  2. MELOC

    MELOC Master Of My Domain

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    i don't think i would buy stainless implements. stainless may not rust but it will bend easily. it you put carbon steel tools in a bucket or tub of oil and sand, they will outlive you. i think it was shrek who also suggested waxing the handles to keep them from splitting.

    i seem to encounter many rocks and roots and have no mercy on my tools. if i used stainless, they would all be bent beyond recognition.
     

  3. jnap31

    jnap31 garden guy

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    Thanks Meloc anyone else?
     
  4. catahoula

    catahoula Well-Known Member

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    never mind, you know way more than me.
     
  5. jnap31

    jnap31 garden guy

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    I bought a fair share of cheap wally world tools that broke also I guess maintenance is important but it helps to start with quality.
     
  6. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Sears (craftsman)will replace tools if they break...we had a fiberglass handled pitch fork for 2 days and it snapped....they kindly gave us wood in exchange...

    I like a tined hoe for barn cleaning as well as pitchfork :shrug: I also have a scratch hoe (U shaped blade) that I like in the garden...

    There is a company here in Maine that makes high quality logging type tools...

    http://www.mainemade.com/members/profile.asp?ID=1958

    and scythes

    http://www.scythesupply.com/
     
  7. Marcia in MT

    Marcia in MT Well-Known Member Supporter

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    A good file is indispensible for any edged tool, including shovels, spades, dandelion diggers, hoes, and the like. Working with a sharpened tool is SOOO much easier than with a dull one!
     
  8. Jeslik

    Jeslik Well-Known Member

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    I've generally been happy with fiberglass handled tools; I used to break wood handles all the time; now, if I replace something, it's because I break the metal! My general preference is for tools with large rivets, so I can drill them out, when something goes wrong, and replace them with bolts.

    One word, though you didn't ask, unless you are shoveling for the exercize, don't try the Fiskar's all-steel shovel. My goodness, but that'll make you work. Thing must weigh 15 pounds.

    I'd follow MPillow's lead, and buy from Sears, since they warranty their products, or plan on a life of re-fitting handles. I have a stainless pitchfork - handle broke first time I used it, and it's in a box in storage with the rest of my life atm. But it is pretty.
     
  9. CatsPaw

    CatsPaw Who...me?

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    buy a $10 shovel, get a $10 shovel.

    You don't have to spend a fortune. Just look for heavy gage steel. Stronger handles...fiberglass, poly, or just heavy wood. Crapsman tools, break'em, replace'em.

    Pick up a cheap tool, then pick up an expensive tool, you'll feel the difference. They'll last if you don't leave them out in the rain. Keep'em sharp with a file. You won't trash them when they cut through stuff 'cause they're sharp. It takes alot less effort, too. I use an angle grinder about every couple of weeks and do all the garden tools, hoes, cultivators, etc.

    I make alot of my tools now 'cause the ones they sell, don't work the way I want them to. so I redesign them with a specific intent and make it. Like'em alot better.
     
  10. mistletoad

    mistletoad Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My parents swear by their stainless steel tools - they don't own a tiller and they grow all their own vegetables, including potatoes (and they are english so that's a lot of spuds! lol). Dad believes in double digging and does at least one bed a year. In short, their tools get a thorough workout. I'm leaning towards the stainless ones from Lee Valley myself. Mum uses a bedding size fork, dad uses a spading fork (Lee Valley calls this a digging fork). They never really use spades.
    One thing about wooden handles - if you break them you can burn them out, can't do that with fiberglass. I think I would like a stainless with wood bedding fork for me and an all steel spading fork and spade for DH.
     
  11. MELOC

    MELOC Master Of My Domain

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    i have been thinking a lot about what i posted above. hunting knives are made from stainless and they will break and not bend. the same for some tools. i guess if the stainless is the proper type or grade, it may be good for garden tools. i have never had any experience with stainless garden tools so i guess i really should not offer an opinion. as expensive as some stainless is, i just find it hard to believe stainless garden tools would be made of the right grade of stainless and still be worth the cost. pass on your experience with them if you buy them. :)

    i do have experience with fiberglass handles and i hate them, lol. they seem to flex a bit and it seems to take more energy to do the work. i prefer a rigid wooden handle. i guess the trick is to find a good quality handle when you buy the tool. i have bought hoes that have snapped during the first week. the same goes for rakes. my last hoe was a cast hoe with a thick wooden handle. it is a bit heavy but the handle looks like it will survive my abuse. so many cheap garden tools are mass produced and i guess they use inferior wood for the handles. nothing beats hickory IMHO.

    i editted to add some more experience with fiberglass handles. when they get older or stressed, they sometimes crack and split. when they do, be sure to replace them or wrap them with tape or something as having those fiberglass splinters in your hands is no fun.
     
  12. WisJim

    WisJim Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Buy quality tools from a quality source. Many companies make tools to be sold at a competative price by companies such as WalMart, HomeDepot, etc., and other better tools sold at better garden centers and up-scale hardware and farm supply stores. Often you can tell the difference in quality of wood in the handles, thickness of metal at the top of a shovel blade where your foot rests, etc. I think that the stainless tools sold by Lee Valley, Smith and Hawken, etc., are well made and well engineered, but they are expensive. I buy most tools at auctions and garage sales, but I know what I am looking at, and then again I never spend much on them.

    Never buy a tool with a painted wooden handle, as they are probably trying to cover up wood with a poor grain orientation which will break in use.
     
  13. Mutti

    Mutti Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Smith and Hawkins or Gardeners Supply Co. carry quality tools . Buy once, care for properly and they will be handed down to your kids..who swear they won't ever have a garden...too much work but then they all have one now,teehee. We've had our Vermont garden carts for over 20 years and still like new...we varnish wood every spring. Never leave tools out in garden. DEE
     
  14. PyroDon

    PyroDon Well-Known Member

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    You want good tools hit an old farm auction.
    Wouldnt dream of buying a new axe the metal is weak . Ive got axes and other tools Old quality steel for a $1 at auctions . If a shovel handle breaks replace it with pipe same for tator forks. an old sawblade bolted to the end of a handle makes a good hoe, and 6 or 8 warped and put on an axle will work good between rows.