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in Tools and techniques
i'm looking for a cheap reliable good quality tool make that sells a range of tools from a hoe to bypass pruners.
any help would be valued
Wolf-garten. Not cheap, they have a multiclick system whereby you buy a handle to suit, and then buy different end bits for it. There are lots of things to fit, hoe, cultivator weeding brush, weeding knife, you name it, they do it.
Buy from certain garden centres, ebay or Amazon. I'd give the plastic versions a miss, the metal ones are only a few more pounds and definitely worth the extra.
Buy cheap, buy twice. These tools are built to last for years.
I have brought some really good tools from lidl's believe it or not & I am a gradener by trade & I didn't think the loppers I got would last long but they out lived a pair of Fiskars loppers which cost me £30!!! & the lidl's ones were a fiver & still going!! I have brought quite a few tools from them & have been very impressed
Like Jcblue I have bought both expensive and cheap but will say aldi do great garden tools but try a local auction house they usually have quality old tools at a very cheap price, my favourite hoe is over 100 years old and it is so comfortable to use you could use it all day, no blisters
No such thing and good quality "cheap" tools.
I bought a value hammer from B&Q, i tried to fix my fence with it, by pulling some nails off the head fell out the same day i bought it, total rubbish.
Truth is with tools, i think more than anything you get what you pay for. Look for anything british or german made, don't touch anything made in china. Particularly in tool that will be worked hard, like spades, forks etc. Even then the sad truth is i don't think anything is made that well anymore, the days of your grandad having a spade he's used for 50 years, i think are well behind us. If stuff lasts for 5 years i'd be happy it's not broke yet, sad but true reflection of manufacturing today.
Wolf-garten. Good range, good quality, not ridiculously expensive. Absolutely NOT worth buying cheap tools. Buy one good quality one instead of three rubbish ones.
Visit your local Boot fair and look out for tools from your Grandad's days.
I have a Fiskars Swoe - brilliant, it's strong and done some tough work. I have pruners from Wilkinson which outlasted a pair of Wilkinson Sword with a 10 year guarantee (which I'd claim on but lost receipt); a Spear & Jackson pruning saw, sharp as hell but fell apart whereas the one I bought from Wilkinsons is still going; Wolf anvil secateurs, very comfy, strong, reliable, sharp.
I also bought an excellent pair of loppers from Lidl and they're still going strong, despite some use that really needed a larger ratchet pair, and I garden 4-5 days a week on various sites with a lot of cutting back.
If you go the Wolf-garten route you're locked into their tool heads, which is fine if you're gardening a regular patch, with no changing situations, and you're an organised gardener so that swapping heads doesn't leave you wondering if a head is lost in the pile of weeds! If you wanted a Swoe there isn't a head like that; a wider soil rake with more tines; and other more individual needs. Also, with more parts to break/go wrong if it's in heavy regular use I'd be a little hesitant. I think they're very well made, expensive, and whilst it's quite convenient to have only a few handles, I just prefer to not have to swap heads - I'd lose them!
Many of the tools also I don't think are necessary - if you look at a good range such as Joseph Bentley or Spear & Jackson (normally strong and reliable) they don't provide anywhere such a wide range but what they do is reliable and guaranteed. There's a limited number of tools one needs in regular use: spade(s), forks, bypass and anvil secateurs, hand-fork/trowel - good quality essential or they'll bend, dibber, hoe (I love my swoe - it glides through the soil and weeds, doesn't cut into roots if they're accidentally knocked, is light with a long handle for reaching into the depths of a bed, and it just laughs at stones!) .
One other thing to consider is the material - wooden handles have the major advantage of being able to be repaired/replaced, but need maintenance, whereas metal/plastic are more susceptible to damage and may be irreparable. Depends on your spend budget (one of my spades is a £10, and it's excellent but I don't stress it too much just in case!), whether you want tools for life or for maybe 1-10 years and then replace them (treating them as consumables really - not good for landfill). On the other hand I've bent a £20 fork, thought it was better than it was!
Even if you're not yawning by now, I am!
Brilliant answer, savvysalli, thank you!