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Whats your preference on hand tool brands?

Evening all, 

One of my plans this year is to start collecting/hoarding more hand tools to give myself more choice and assist myself when working the soil. I have a couple of spades and one decent fork currently and about 4 rakes. My question is what brands do you find make good hand tools? I like the quality of the Bulldog tools, but theres a serious premium on the price. I have a Gardman leaf rake, which for certian tasks, is the best one I've used of its type (plastic head with wide, flexible tines) but the build quality isn't brilliant. Of course, you get what you pay for, but what do you all think of the various brands out there? 

Thanks in advance

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  • PRO
    Felco, bulldog rakes I just buy ones with nice decent wooden handles at about £20 as I'm good at loosing them for some reason. Dobbies are quite good.to be honest unless it's a cutting tool I don't spend too much.
  • PRO
    I'm good a losing trowels and hand forks but not much else. I once bought a cheap edging knife and on the heavy clay in my area, I did 3 movements with it and the head bent to 90 degrees! Since then, I decided cheap tools weren't worth the hassle.
    • Put some white paint on the handles................ you'll never pose them then...

  • PRO

    Just bought some ARS shears and secateurs, a pleasure to us, well engineered. The shears KR1000 are so light, its almost unreal, they are half the weight of the Corona HS 3950 that I've been using for years, and they are considered light weight.  The secateurs ARS VS 8Z, ahh bliss they open with one hand, squeeze the handles, the catch undoes, no more pesky swivel catch that locks by itself just at the wrong moment.

    • Chelwood leaf rakes are the best. Wolf for three pronged cultivators and hoe's. Don't touch a Bulldog hoe, they are awful. The forged Bulldog/ Wolf edging irons (I think they are made in the same factory) are the best. Narrow grafting or cable laying spades are very good, we buy the ones with steel shafts.

      If there is one thing I would say "just buy it" about though, it's the plastic hand shovels as used for salt or in the food industry. They are infinitely better than the pressed steel ones with the wooden handles you get from the hardware store.

  • Bulldog lawn edger 'cos all the other brands are rubbish. A selection of Wolf Garten multi tools but particularly the 10cm and 7cm Cultiweeder. I know the idea is that one handle does all but I find it useful to have three sizes:- small, 140cm wood and 170cm wood. Also I keep a look out for old tools in good condition as the steel is usually better. Can't live without my old Skeltons rabbiting spade. And a 2 lb digging hoe saves a lot of time when digging large areas

    My old Brades onion hoe like this:- https://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&authuser=0&site=imghp...

    And loads of others that get hauled around in the trailer!

    Stainless steel tools look nice but are brittle and will easily snap. This would include some well known garden tool brands that are over priced and not up to the job for pro use. Nowadays even some Burgon and Ball gear falls into this category.

    I think the plastic hand shovels that another poster mentioned are good but check out plastic stable shovels  'cos they are also very useful.

  • PRO

    I do have a wolf handle for one of their hoe's, but thats all right now. 

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