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in Tools and techniques
im in need of a new spade and fork. im looking at trying to get as best i can quality wise. im looking at the ones Bulldog produce, their premier range. anyone have any first hand knowledge of these they could share? or recommendation of any other.
If you can afford it always get stainless steel.
Forester2: i see that is more expensive, however from what i can gather it will degrade quicker than carbon steel?
When I look for new garden tools I always refer to freds shed for ideas and recommendations. http://www.fredshed.co.uk/homepage.htmI've bought the bulldog premier spade and fork - excellent quality, just by the feel, weight and look, it's easy to see these are superbly made tools. Had mine a year now and very pleased indeed with them.Other stuff I've bought that Fred has recommended-felco secatuers - like a knife through butterand the deer-skin pruning gauntlets - which the toughest of thorns has yet to penetrate, yet they feel like a second skinThe links that Fred gives on his site are not necessarily the cheapest, but the recommended products are 1st rate
Stainless steel tools are worth the extra. Often my local garden centre.....wyevale.....has offers for high quality tools with lomg warranties.
I would suggest you look at what your local hardware stores or garden centres are offering and look for good balance, lemgth of handle, strength of blade, what sort of handle, length of warranty (many do carry a 5 or 10 year guarantee) and decide if it is relatively lightweight. The brand is not so important I think.
Stainless steel spades cut through the soil so much easier too and tend not to hold on to soil you want to turn.
When choosing stainless steel though check for strength....viz. that they don't bend too easily. I bought what I thought was a brilliant stainless steel spade only to find it would bend under any stress.....I am a little heavy handed!
There are big variations in the quality of stainless steels so go for a brand where they guarantee their product. The better ones will last a lifetime if looked after, I prefer wooden handles but its more about what feels right.
my favourite fork, well, fave tool of any sort, is a old "potato fork" with 5 rather flat tines. It was given to my be an old gardener who was retiring, and given how old he told me it was then ( 1987 ) it must be about 75 years old now. Spear and Jackson Neverbend.
I bought a long handled ( I'm 6ft tall) stainless steel spade in Lidl a couple of years ago for £9.99 and, I'm surprised to say, it's been great. Bargain. As has been said by Verdun, the soil doesn't tend to stick to stainless steel, which , on clay is wonderful.