There are a wide range of hand tools used in the garden for a variety of different purposes. Among the most common are the digging fork, and its smaller relative the border fork. Other commonly used tools are the RAKE, HOE, TROWEL, HAND AND EDGING SHEARS, SECATEURS, SHOVEL, LONG ARMED PRUNERS.
The maintenance of all tools of whatever type has a’ strong component of common sense involved. ALLtools, for example secateurs or shears, need regular sharpening to maintain their cutting edge and should ONLY be used for cutting plant material. All blades should be kept well sharpened, and oiled after use. Tools which come into contact with the soil should be washed off, dried and oiled, and then stored in a dry place. It is very important that tools are not put away to store when wet. Tools are very expensive to buy, and will last for a long time if maintained properly. Rusty tools are not only difficult to use but are wasteful of resources.
Once every twelve months, spade and fork handles should be treated with LINSEED OIL to stop the wood drying out and becoming hard and less flexible. There is much less chance of tools breaking when in use if the handles are kept treated with oil. Handles which are covered with plastic coatings, or polyurethane varnish will not need to be treated.
It’s a good idea to regularly check spade and fork handles -in fact all tool handles to ensure there are no splits or cracks; if handles break when tools are being used, it can be extremely dangerous.
Where a number of tools are concerned, the storage needs to be considered carefully. Tools . are best stored on hooks or racks; this not only, makes tools last longer, but simply makes them easier to find and handle. Anyone who has been involved in the storage of large quantities of tools will readily concede the benefit of careful storage and maintenance. There is nothing worse than a confusing jungle of handles and tool heads roughly thrown together.
As a final point, a well maintained set of tools not only makes economic sense, but also helps to promote effective, efficient and conscientious workmanship.
SOME GARDEN TOOLS
1. DIGGING SPADE
2. POTATO FORK WITH FLAT TINES
3. DIGGING FORK WITH TAPERING SQUARE TINES
4. HAND TROWEL AND HAND FORK
5. GARDEN LINE
6. METAL POINTED DIBBER
7. a) DUTCH HOE. b) TRIANGULAR HOE. c) SWAN-NECKED HOE.
8. LONG HANDLED HAND FORK AND TROWEL
9. ONION OR WEEDING HOE
10. DUTCH HOE
11. MEASURING ROD – 2.8 metres long (each division = 20cm)
12. SWAN-NECKED OR DRAW HOE
14. HALF-MOON DRAW HOE
15. LIGHT ALLOY HOE – ALSO CALLED A ‘SWOE’
16. LIGHT ALLOY DUTCH HOE WITH A FLAT ANGLED BLADE
17. TINED CULTIVATOR (CURVED) AND DETAIL 8a.)