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16 May, 2010

New Old Tools

Ever since I stopped passing myself off as a landscape professional, diverting always some share of the income to new toys, I've had to curb the buying. Garden purchases mostly come in 4-inch pots. And to avoid debt, the total budget for gardening has been cut back pretty hard this spring.

So having a couple of new tools in the past week has been a treat. And these are the best kinds of new tools: old ones.

First, I took a handle-less shovel I'd found and cut away all but the leading edge and the, uh, handle-hole, or whatever that's called. Then I ground the resulting crescent to a sharp edge all around, taking the time to douse it in cold water every few seconds, preserving the temper. Fortunately, a branch I'd just cut off an alder fit the tool just right, it's long arc perfectly swooping up so I can stand there and shuffle the blade across the ground, slicing roots quickly and ruthlessly. Works like a dream (if your dreams are as strange as mine). So there you have it: trash to tool, abandoned spade reborn as a weed-slayer.

Then there's the thing I picked up at a local school yard sale. Lovely leaf-shaped blade, tapered also from a stout center to the sharp edge, worthy of a lance in some forgotten emperor's honor guard. The handle is basically a D welded to the base end, hammer marks evident. The name engraved on the blade is "C Wells & Sons, Rochester NY," which turns out to be a firm operating in the 1890s. No idea what it is, but the history alone is worth the 5 bucks I paid (maybe even $5.50), and I've already used this to pop some old growth dandelions from their earthfast homes, slice some edging to crisp perfection, and scare the kids. Once again, yard sale preservation at work.

1 comment:

  1. I think Clovis would have admired your work immensely ...