DIY

Garden Tools: Older Can Be Better

article image
JUDI DEPEAL

You can save money and find better quality tools by seeking out
older, used garden tools.

Older shovels and hoes are often stronger than modern versions
because they were forged from one piece of solid metal. Where can
you buy used tools? Flea markets, garage sales, auctions, estate
sales, barn sales and second-hand stores are good places to start.
The prices can vary, but you can usually buy common tools for less
than $15.

The trick to buying secondhand garden tools is to look for solid
construction on any welded points and pay special attention to
where the metal attaches to the handle. If a tool has parts that
are supposed to move, make sure they do. Another thing to look for
on metal is heavy pitting and flaking, which weakens the metal so
the tool might be better suited for decoration than garden
work.

When shopping for edge tools like hoes or shovels, take along a
file to test
the quality of the steel. If the file cuts rapidly with minimal
pressure,
the blade is made of soft metal that won’t stand much use.

Check that the handle is securely attached and be sure that it is
not badly cracked or splintered. Inspect for cracks, past repairs
and rotting. Watch out of handles and metal parts that have been
repainted ? the paint may be covering up cheap construction or
damage.