Better hand tools for the home and the garden

Everyone knows how gardening with hand tools can be back breaking work. In the Third World, much of the population depend on hand tools in subsistence agriculture for their very survival.

Keith England, who has graced the pages of the magazine Eureka with improvements to the simple hammer, has also turned his attention to improving agricultural implements.

Some 30 years ago he invented a labour saving garden fork and shovel. These have either a second shaft, forming a one side of triangle about 9 ins (230mm) above the main shaft, or a single main shaft which is cranked. The purpose in both cases is to allow the user to pick up the working end of the implement without having to bend right down. We don't know whether these innovations will benefit the Third World or not, but tests by Eureka show them to be truly wonderful improvements in
an English garden
.
80%, of the rest of the World is cultivated with a hand digging hoe or mattock. The user lifts it, drops it into the soil and pulls it. The usual design has a handle about 0.5m long and is truly back breaking to use.

Mr England's design has a handle 930mm long, with a curved 'S' shaped section which rises 6 ins (150mm) above the direct axis between the linear part of the handle and the metal digging part.

This too is wonderful. Instead of having to work bent double, the hoe can be swung, pulled and lifted from a standing position with increased force and much less need to bend.

It may or may not shift more earth and weeds but it much nicer to use. Mr England has also applied the same ideas to a 15 pound sledge hammer, which he wields with great agility, despite his 88 years.

All these handles could be made of wood or metal, but would be much better moulded out of glass fibre reinforced plastic. Mr England has patented his ideas and is looking for commercial collaborators.

Interested persons please contact: Shelleys@shelleys.demon.co.uk

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