During the spring, the youth in our after school training program constructed some very nifty tools called wheel hoes. Technically, we were building wheel hoes with 8″ oscillating stirrup blades (some wheel hoes have interchangeable attachments–furrowers, cultivators, hillers, etc.–but they cost a lot more). The blade is sharpened on both edges, so it cuts just below the surface on the push and pull strokes. It’s a great tool for getting weeds when they are small, and much less tiring than using a standard hoe, since the weight balances on the wheel.
We got the kits from Planet Whizbang and started by sanding off burrs and smoothing rough edges. The next step was to prime and paint the frame.
For the handles, I purchased ash from Middletown Lumber (a great local business!). In the process of cutting it, we discovered firsthand the difference between hardwood and softwood! My friend Tim Lyne graciously used his router to round off the edges for a more finished look and comfortable grip. The final step was putting it all together, where the adage “measure twice, cut once; measure once, cut twice” was demonstrated. The most memorable quote from the whole process? “I’ve never used a wrench in my life!” The wheel hoes are already getting put to work, as Joe demonstrates. Next time you stop by, give one of them a try!