Over the last couple of weeks many of you will have spent lots of time in the garden with your trusty hand trowel and fork close by. These tools are perfect for all those little planting and weeding tasks that they were designed for as well as many other jobs like sowing seeds, splitting plants, scooping up compost and distributing slug pellets and flower food for which they weren’t!
When buying any new garden hand tools, you should primarily test the tool’s weight and balance to see if it suits you. You will be working with these tools over long periods of time and for many years, so finding trowels and forks that feel comfortable in the hand is essential.
The type of metal used to make your tools will also have an important effect on how they perform and how long they last. Try to find a trowel and fork that have epoxy coated manganese steel heads which will reduce soil adhesion and protect your tools for longer.
Another important factor to consider is the handle material. If you often dig and weed in wet weather or damp conditions, then choose a ‘soft touch’ rubber handle like the one used on our Bulldog ‘Evergreen’ hand tools. However, we think it is difficult to beat a hardwood handle like the ones used in our Bulldog ‘Premier’ range which will smooth and shape with time to perfectly fit your grip. If you do choose a wooden handle then check that it has a quality metal ferrule fitted which will ensure the handle does not come off, twist or split.
The tang of your hand trowel and fork is the piece of metal that joins the handle to the tool head and determines the ‘lift’ of the tool, making sure that your knuckles are clear of the ground when in use. The tang should be securely fixed into the handle and also be very strong, as the location where it joins the blade is always a hand tool’s weakest point.
These days, garden trowels and forks are available in a myriad of different shapes and sizes and we would always recommend you go for whichever shape suits you best. Here at Bulldog our favourites are traditionally shaped hand trowels with curved sides and gently rounded front and flat tined, three pronged hand forks that break the soil easily.
We know that many people living in towns and cities don’t have gardens at all. If this is the case, remember that you only need a small hand trowel and fork to help create all the wonderful tubs, pots or window boxes you can squeeze onto your balcony or window sill.
And finally, don’t leave your tools outside after work and preferably keep them in a clean and dry state, because if looked after properly your Bulldog hand trowel and fork will give you years of trouble free use and help you create a wonderful garden.
You can see our ranges of Bulldog hand trowels and forks here.