Jump to content
I Forge Iron

how to make a Tusker (peat spade)

Dave Budd

Recommended Posts

I've just a had a phonecall froma lady in teh Shetland isles asking if I can make her a Tusker Obviously I replied "a what now?" :confused:

After searching around online I've found this picture as the closest to her description. Item number 6.

The blade beneath the handle measures 7 1/2" by 3" and the blade at right angles is 8" by 2" . It is used to cut rectangular blocks of peat, so need to be made and treated like any other spade I suppose

Does anybody have experience making this tool, or any suggestions as to the best way of going about it?

I'm thinking starting witha large sheet of steel and cutting a slot across half way. The lower half bring out to form the long blade and the upper half to form most of the socket. The the edges of the baldes being forged down and the socket shaped.

I don't thik any of my local rural life museums on Dartmoor will have a peat cutting spade :rolleyes:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

After a little more looking, it seems that it is very similar to an old Tiling Spade. Long narrow blade designed to slice out long narrow strips of ... peat. The main difference is that cutting wing. With a tiling spade, you are digging a long narrow trench. With peat you are slicing/digging down along a bank, and want to have fairly uniform "blocks" of peat - in length and width.

The other feature is that high step plate to the side - for using your foot to push with. So you will also have to determine which foot will be used, and in which direction the cutting/digging will progress. The drawings show right foot step, and right side cutter.

Plus the wood handle seems to be a lot wider/thinner as it tapers into that metal head - more of a long wedge shape instead of for a round socket. Keeping the overall shovel thin enough to slice well, and still work well to lift out that peat block will be a bit tricky. Plus having enough strength to overcome the wet bog suction holding things in place!

Have fun with your project.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Brilliant, thanks guys! :D

Some of those links have got very good pictures on them. Should be able to follow those ;)

Things like these tools are why I learnt to forge. Interesting objects that have a real function and yet are no longer made.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

looking at how to make those, I think my first instincts were on the right track. The irony here is that I actually had several sheets of EN47 and EN45 in 4, 6 and 8mm thick. Then about two months ago I had them chopped up into bars as I couldn't see me ever needing to make anything from sheet :rolleyes:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This video shows the peat cutter in use

YouTube - Cut Peat

and your competition

Demand for peat tools on the up and up - Stornoway Today

Strange thats she's approached a smith at the opposite end of the country

One other thing, in your pictures above and the ones in the stornoway gazette the blade is on the right of the spade in the you tube video the blade is on the left. I dont know if its personal preference which way you work while cutting or if it depends whether your right handed or not, but it might be worth checking if your customer has a preference.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I expect that she called me because she either has dealings with one of teh craft groups that I make for regularly (big organisations like the basketmakers association have me listed as a supplier) or she simply googled handmade tools ;)

I'll have to send her a link to that old boy. he is likely to do a better job and cheaper than I could as I would be making it up as I went along. Also, heat treting that thing would be a bugger!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...