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Old 12-16-2008, 12:36 AM   #1
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Default Ten, you get to pick ten

If you could only have ten tools (not electric or gas), which tools would you pick to use in your gardens? We're talking functional tools that you believe to be indispensible.

For each tool you select, try to explain how you use it and why you deem it to be indispensible.

We'd like to start a listing to benefit newer gardeners who might be overwhelmed by aisles and aisle of tools.
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Old 12-16-2008, 09:15 AM   #2
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1. a round nose full length shovel. Get the tip cut off, and use a bastard file to keep it razor sharp. At least once a year lightly sand the handle and treat with linseed oil. You can use a rust-proof spray paint on the blade - in your signature garden color.

2. A pronged mattock. This is about the size of a woodsman's axe, but the blade is perpendicular to the handle. The prongs on the back of the blade can be used to pry up roots. The front of the blade is razor sharp to slice through woody weeds. You can also trench with this tool to run new water line.

3. A hand axe. For girdling trees. Trimming shrubs and trees.

4. A heavy bladed eye hoe. This is also for slicing off vegetation you dont want.

5. A long handled tree pruner.

6. Trowel. I use a Marshalltown masons trowel, razor sharp.

7. a short bamboo rake, for getting in between shrubs.

8. a pecan picker. - I have pecan trees.

9. a chain saw. Right now I am using a Remington Electric.

10. A 21 inch buck saw. You can replace the blade.
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Old 12-16-2008, 11:28 AM   #3
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1. A round nosed shovel -- see Gloria's advice for taking better care of it than I do mine!

2. A heavy garden rake -- for mixing in soil amendments and loosening the topsoil before planting

3. A wheelbarrow -- for hauling amendments, other tools, etc

4. A good hoe for weeding and for making furrows or hose for planting ("good" means one that's a comfortable weight for you!)

5. A leaf rake (I have nuts, too, various kinds, so I heap'em up with a rake, then handpick)

6. An axe for stray privet, turning the privet into bean poles, etc. Also good for fallen limbs and scaring off deer

7. A machete or sling blade (try to get an old sling blade with the blade attached to the handle at both ends -- the new ones just bend) -- for clearing brush, fighting blackberries, etc.

8. Hand clipper or kitchen shears for harvesting without damaging plants

9. Pitchfork or something similar for loosening soil for planting and for carefully digging potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc. -- this is the one I don't have, and I wished for it many times this past year while trying to use my garden rake at depths deeper than its tines and/or digging potatoes with my hands!

10. A pickaxe -- for similar uses as Gloria's pronged mattock if you keep it sharpened, above, plus you can break new ground with it (which dulls it).
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Old 12-16-2008, 11:55 AM   #4
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Quote:
9. a chain saw. Right now I am using a Remington Electric.
Cheater amongst the ranks
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Old 12-16-2008, 04:35 PM   #5
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1. a round nose full length shovel. Get the tip cut off, and use a bastard file to keep it razor sharp. At least once a year lightly sand the handle and treat with linseed oil. You can use a rust-proof spray paint on the blade - in your signature garden color. I prefer dayglow HOT PINK, it is easy to see. LOL

2. A five tined pitchfork, great for tossing compost, moving mulch. DH customized the handle for me and I added rubberized griping material to make it easier to handle.

3. A hand axe. For girdling trees. Trimming shrubs and trees. And discouraging nosy neighbors1

4. A Japanese narrow hoe. This is also for slicing off vegetation you dont want.

5. A long handled tree pruner.

6. Trowels, both wide and narrow

7. a kids rake, for getting in between shrubs.

8. an old butcher knife, thinned down, great for trimming
and thinning. Also customized rubberized handle.

9. A pull behind cart for moving plants, mulch, compost etc around the yard.

10. Good quality pruning shears. You can replace the blade.

11. A sharpening stone, it goes with me where ever I go in the garden

12. A steno pad and pen, so I can keep notes for my journal.
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Old 12-16-2008, 05:51 PM   #6
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1) Bypass trimmers
2) Mattock
3) HaveAHart live trap for feral cats
4) Pitchfork
5) Hammer
6) Repeating English House Sparrow trap
7) hand ax
8) King of Spades all purpose shovel (indestructible)
9) Cutco serrated kitchen knife
10) Husband's checkbook

since others went beyond 10, I'm editing to add-
wheelbarrel
V tool weeder (have no idea what the name of it is)
level
metal garden rake
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Old 12-16-2008, 07:04 PM   #7
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O.K. no electric. Cross off the Remington Chain saw. But still it IS an essential tool.

If Im crossing that one off; add - oh yes a machete - very good. Mine is called an Italian field knife. It has a hook and a wrapped handle.

And, a potato fork. This has four tines, bent to rake up the potatoes - works also on rocks and pecans. You can sometimes find them at flea markets.
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Old 12-16-2008, 08:00 PM   #8
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We could start a thread on power tools!
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Old 12-16-2008, 08:23 PM   #9
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o.k. I have another gas - operated tool I could add.
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Old 12-16-2008, 11:42 PM   #10
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Not all metals are the same, so a tip for anyone choosing shovels, mattocks, hoes, machetes, etc: learn to spot the difference between manufacturing methods. Forgings are steel that has been beaten into shape from a blank which imparts a strength and flexibility. It can often be recognized from a pebble pattern on the surface which was created during the forging process. Sand castings are steel that has been poured into a mold made of sand, a very inexpensive method. It can often be recognized by a sand-grained surface left by the mold. These are low-quality tools which must be made thicker and heavier than forgings to compensate for the weakness of the steel, and they cannot be sharpened very well. Stampings are steel which started as a sheet and then got cut to shape by a cookie-cutter process, then tempered to increase the hardness. Better than a sand casting, but not as good as a forging. Stampings can be recognized by their smooth surface or LACK of forging pebbles, and a close look at the edges reveals the tell-tale appearence of metal which has been sheared to shape. Stampings are less brittle than sand castings, but nowhere near the strength and springiness of a forging.

Good shovels, hoes, axes, and mattocks are always forged. Some shovels and hoes are now stamped -- beware. Good machetes are forged, cheap ones are stamped. Some small hand tools like trowels or light, short-handled hand weeding tools are stampings, and they are okay in that sized tool because they don't take much stress anyway. Unfortunately, the tool market is being flooded with cheap imports which will be in the landfill in a few years. Scan flea markets for older tools which you recognize as forgings and snap them up. Put new handles on them, clean the rust off, and they will be better than most new stuff on the market today. Kudus to Gloria125 above for her rust-prevention advice and linseed oil handle treatment, signs of a true tool-lover! A warning however: we've all been told that oily rags can spontaneously combust, which is untrue of motor oil but true of linseed oil. Linseed oil polymerizes when exposed to air, a chemical process that gives off heat and CAN LIGHT A FIRE if the rag is left wadded up so it traps its own heat.
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