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Whiskeymike

Garden tools - How?

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I'm looking to make some garden tools for someone in a wheel chair.  So they will be downsized in the head, shorter handle, but similar normal width.   I'm trying to find information on the best practical processes for making the tang and ferule(I think that is what it's called, the cone that holds the tang to wooden handle).  This doesn't have to be authentic processes from 1875, but focused on solid construction, will hold up well.  

Any thoughts?

One thought I have is steel pipe/tube smaller in diameter than handle and then flare out the end on the horn/ a cone.  Then make tool head with tang/wedge end, weld into end of ferule, then bolt to handle? 

 

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Why not make full tang handles and fasten wooden or other material slabs to them?

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For the grip; yes and I would advise using something like corian for the slabs to be water/"stuff" resistant; but the shaft between certain garden tools can still be round.

Probably more info out there on doing knife handles than garden tools...

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Their are two general styles of “adapted” garden tools. One has grips for folks that have dexterity issues and the other has longer handles for folks in wheels chairs. Think light weight long handled grill tools. Obviously raised beds don’t need long handles. 

For hand tools I am lazy and use the large rasp handles (usually not the farrier rasp handle handles that are threaded) so I just forge a taperd square tang. Trailer spring makes good stock for rakes, used box saw blade with riveted tangs for trowls, 2” bed rail for combo weeders and mud flap hangers for traditional weeders, hoe and trawl tangs. 

For long handles tools weight is a real issue, so hardwood dowls and curtain rods with copper pipe cap ferrels. 

Young active wheels chair bound folks can use longer tangs and shorter handles as they have more upper body strength, but not so much for those depending on scooters or electric wheelchairs. 

Google “adaptive garden tools” and do an image search for ideas. 

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Thanks for the suggestions.   The full tang with scales is a good idea for hand tools.  Although the items I have in mind are about a 3-4 foot reach.  In some cases, it’s to give reach in 4x4 raised boxes, without a lot of repositioning the chair.  In other cases, it’s to reach the ground from the chair.   In all cases, the head needs to be much lighter and smaller to reduce fatigue.  Handle will be thinner and lighter as well.

the search term suggested helped a lot.  It provided some good examples to study.  I’ll keep looking. One of them had a 4-5” tang, and the handle was split with a notch that the tang slid into and was bolted with two bolts.  Although it seems like notching the handle might weaken it, but perhaps the tang deals with the leverage applied.

Found this great walkthrough on making a ferrule.  http://taigoostudio.blogspot.com/2012/06/how-to-forging-fabricating-and-fitting.html

maybe some tweaks would make it work for what I’m doing.

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Aluminum or even plastic tubing may be an option for long, light weight handles. Not very forging related, but sometimes you just need the best solution for the problem at hand.

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image.thumb.jpg.17767c708a6783e9ceab3622d71682aa.jpg

I have not made garden tools for handicapped people, but my basic processes would be adaptable.  I either make mine with tangs that are tapered square and heat seated or I flare the end of the tool shaft to make a socket.  I generally don’t bother to weld my sockets as I’ve not found it needful.  I have done some with a tang and ferrule as you are considering and any sort of tubing can be tapered to make the ferrules.  Usually I find it simpler, faster and stronger to use a wire wrap or a cording wrap instead of a metal ferrule.  Wrapped ferrules can be coated with epoxy or similar for easier cleaning and more durability.  This leaf blade hoe is the most effective and efficient garden tool that I’ve ever made or used!  It’s 27 inches overall with about a 4 inch blade.  This one was made from a large piece of rebar, but 4140 would be a better material.  I only garden in containers now and this tool does almost all weeding, planting and tilling chores with ease and grace.  It’s very light and well balanced!  It has a rustic beauty and feels like part of your arm in use!  It can dig like a badger!  

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Posted (edited)

Hi Mike,

Alexander G. Weygers wrote a lot about making tools in his book

I'm sure that this book could inspire you.

 

Bob

Edited by Mod30
commercial link removed...

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