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in Tools and techniques
Ive read with interest that one or two people have bought new spades/forks etc that have let them down and by this i mean as one member said the handle (shaft) didnt have an end bit on it (D or T shape grip) and she went on to explain the shaft that was on the tool " just a pole" broke,
This to me is a classic case of buying without knowing what your letting yourself into,
Spades / forks etc if bought from a good garden tool supply chain come in verious sizes, the taller you are the longer the shaft required, Also if you suffer from back problems such as finding it a pain to bend down to much then a longer shaft again is better for such people,
Ref the end of the shaft grip (D' or T; ) shape grip is again a personal need, i myself like the "D" end of shaft grip,
But having said this you'll only get what you pay for and if you want good quality then expect to pay more for good design a good shaft,
"this can be wood or metal"
and then the part of the tool thats going to do the soil work "fork /spade / hoe or rake all need tobe good metal and only used for what they're designed to do,
After care is again important ie before the tool is put away i myself ensure it is clean via an old oil drum cut down to approx 1/3rd of its size and filled with sand and used engine oil, this drum section is just inside the doorway of my tool shed and by digging the tools into this oily sand it not only cleans the tool but leaves an oily film on the metal, (It takes a few seconds to use this sand/oil mix)
the wooden shafts are treated by applying lindseed oil once a year (winter time) by turning the tool upside down and pouring the lindseed oil into the shafts narrow section and this soaking of the wood protect's it from ever drying out.
Ive had most of my hand tools for over 30 years and they are both used all year and have never let me down,
One last very important point is your tools last longer if you never loan them out.
Go and try and get the feel of any tool thats got a shaft, before you buy.
Any fool can feel pain due to buying what they think is cheap but if your serious about using tools "buy quality and buy once".