Garden tools. A bit of research

Hi guys. Im new here. Im looking for a bit of help. I am a researcher a
the University of Glamorgan in Wales. There is a bit of an importan project in development concerning garden tools. Dont spose any of yo people are interested in helping by just posting you opinions on som of the following issues?:
What garden tools do you feel are badly designed?
Are there any particular tool you are unable to use properly due to health complaint of any kind? (e.g, bad back, athritis)
Are there any tasks that are difficult to carry out due to lack o specialized equipment for said tasks?
Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. I will be sticking roun these forums for a while, so dont be shy to post. Cheers for your time guys. Christia
-- Christiansouth
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What's behind this research? Was it commissioned by commercial interests? Is it for a college course? If so, what course?
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JoeSpareBedroom wrote:

These kids today think all they have to do is push a few keys on their computer to solve all their problems ;)
Frank
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Almost.
An acquaintance of mine taught a senior level research methods course, and informed the class that if anyone plagiarized anything from the web, they'd flunk the course, no matter how high their grade was on previous work. School policy. Two students thought she was kidding, and in their final paper for the course, they cut & pasted stuff right off the web. They flunked, they complained, they needed the course to graduate. Oh well.
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JoeSpareBedroom wrote:

I'm responding to "Wired for Learning" with 36 years of teaching experience behind me, yet with something less than enthusiasm for the technology-savvy teachers who were profiled in the article. It has been my experience that today's teens know very little about modern technology except how to use it. They know almost zero about the science behind the technology. Most know nothing about electricity, don't know how AC differs from DC, and don't know what electromagnetic waves are or why their frequency matters. In fact, all they know about most of this technology is which buttons to push and in what order.
Making teens push more buttons than they already do does not make them wiser or more talented; it only gives them a warm feeling that they understand many things that they, in fact, do not understand.
One sentence struck me as particularly untrue in this piece: "For example, before computers became ubiquitous, when students were at home and got stuck on a homework problem, other than a phone call to a fellow student, they didn't have access to immediate help."
Are they all orphans? Don't they have parents? Isn't asking your parents a valuable learning path for today's youth? I asked my mother for help. My children asked me. My grandchildren ask their parents, and I presume my great-grandchildren will do the same. Surely, homework problems are about something that parents learned also. I hope the homework problems are not about which button to push. If so, the teacher's syllabus needs examining.
Enough said. Your readers will know what I am trying to express. I hope so, or my mother would be very displeased.
Roy W. Clark Murfreesboro, Tenn.
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Quite a few people (including adults) apparently need a private detective to help find the public library.
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This isn't a today thing. Back in the 20's just about all drivers knew how to fix their own cars. By the 50's that had dropped drastically with the introduction of the automatic transmission and electric starter which allowed more women to drive. By the 70's only a handful of drivers knew how to fix their cars, and today it's like 2% of the population if that.
The story on the flunkees is interesting. I am not sure exactly how you can plagarize facts or statistics. A fact is a fact whether it's copied from the web or from a book. I suspect the real problem with the 2 student's actual problem was not copying and pasting from the web, it was the inability to separate facts from opinions and create a summary, namely, the skill of critical thinking. They couldn't think critically and so when presented with the raw information on the Internet, they could not properly sift it. My guess is the rest of the students in the class also used the Internet very heavily, but instead of a cheap hack and paste they did some real research and rewrote the data. You wonder how the 2 students even got to the level to be able to take this kind of a class.

The usual method was to not do the particular homework problem and ask the teacher for assistance the next day, then do it the following evening.

I think most kids wouldn't have asked parents. I never did. With no disrespect to my dear father and mother, the problem was that nothing that I was working on in homework had anything to do with what they learned. With Mathematics, both parents didn't do "new math" and with English they both did sentence diagramming and other such things that were completely out of fashion when I was in school. It's not that they couldn't have learned the methods I was being taught by, but it would have taken a lot of effort for them and they couldn't have done it in a night.
Today, my oldest is learning Japanese. I am not a Japanese speaker. I cannot help him on this. What I can do and I do, is spend hours sitting with him making sure he's actually doing the homework, instead of being distracted by the tv/radio/sister/snack/bathroombreak/favoritebook/ video/pieceofdustfloatingintheroom/etc.

I understand what your trying to express. But I do not think it will be solved. Keep in mind that technology is like a pyramid, it builds on more basic technologies, and EVERYTHING is all tied up together.
For example, I know all about AC and DC power. But, I know very little about metallurgy and little about chemistry. If I had to go back 200 years I might be able to build a generator and electric light bulb in a lab. But I would not know how to produce an electric cable (like for example a piece of Romex) that would be safe to put in a building that people were living in. I would not know how to melt copper and extrude it into miles of copper wire nor sheath the wire in an insulator. I would probably end up doing what they did back then which was sheath the copper in cotton - which caused many an electrical fire back in the olden days.
The people you refer to who only know how to push buttons are very much like me. They know how to push buttons but don't know how to wire a circuit that runs those buttons. I know how to wire a circuit that runs those buttons but I don't know how to make the wire nor the materials in the button. The guy who knows how to extrude the wire doesen't know how to mine the copper ore from the ground. The miners that mine the copper ore don't know how to manufacture a mining machine. In fact, the only people who know how to design and build the mining machine are the very same people who are pushing the buttons that I know how to wire.
Now, I ask you this. The people designing the mining machines, do you think they would know how to design a better machine if they knew how to mine? Yes. But they would know how to design a mining machine even better than that if they knew all about metallurgy and copper ores. And to know all about that they need to know all about what the copper coming out of the ore will be used to make - the wires. And to know how to make the best wires, they need to know about electricity, and circuits and so on.
Where does it really end? You are asking for the impossible. What you are asking for is that anyone that does anything must know every possible thing about it, about all that goes into it, all about how it would be used, and on and on. That's fine if the guy your asking this of is hammering horseshoes onto the hoof of a horse. It's impossible if the guy your asking this of is designing a car body.
There's nothing wrong with wanting kids to understand electricity. They are, in fact, supposed to get that in high school physics. But getting into frequency and resonance in electricity is getting into a specialty of electricity and radio. And frankly without getting into that speciality, you don't really understand electricity now, do you? And without understanding materials science you don't really understand electrical resonance in wires.
And this isn't limited to wires. Take the modern average rubber car tire. There is a whole science behind this that deals with materials and traction and tread and such that you are ignorant of. All you know about the tire is you drive into the tire shop and a guy mounts and dismounts them from your car. So, you really aren't much different from those button-pushing kids, are you?
Ted
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Look into old tools.
Bill
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Felco hand pruners are designed to be easily repaired and have many easily used spare parts. However, other manufacturers such as Florian and Fiskars give you a free new pruner if theirs fail.
Another bad design are the pruners that won't cut a woody branch. The branch scoots out when you try to cut it. Many Chinese knockoffs of good tools do this.

For hand pruners, few are designed for small hands or arthritic hands. One particularly good pair for small hands or arthritic hands is the Fiskars PowerGear Bypass Pruner.
I like ratcheting tools. They are more compact, more powerful and very easy to use. In particular I like the Florian hand pruners and lopping shears.

I found very few pole saws that are easy to use. Most will get stuck.

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Stephen Henning wrote:

You got that right. I just bought what I thought was a pretty decent one on sale at the hardware store, and the blade is too floppy to do what it is intended to do. The rope lopper doesn't have enough mechanical advantage for me except on anything but branches with very small diameters. The higher you try to extend it, the harder it is to manage the thing.
So what is it good for? Getting tree branches off rooves, for one thing, and I'll find something else useful to do with it, try to remember to stay away from electrical lines, and prevail on my son to do the grunt work with it if it can be done. I should have returned it but was too tired to trek back with that huge thing. I suppose I still could take it back.
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Christiansouth wrote:

I am in my 60's, and they are are all just plain hard work, even a regular-sized rake. I bought a little Mantis tiller with the Honda engine, and can barely handle it in till mode, but it helps mix soil better, useless for breaking sod, but comes in handy depending on what I need to do.
I could use an easier post hole digger; they don't make one that I could work with, don't have one of those but need one for a pending chore. I also need something to break up cement and can't handle the kind of sledgehammer you need.
I should have bought to at least try, didn't want to spend the extra $$$, the dandelion & other weeder with the crooked handle someone recommended here. I bought a straight one, and it is somewhat of a struggle even though you don't have to bend over to use it.
I could also use a better bulb planter, saw an expensive one on the web. I have two, one doesn't work worth a darn, and the second one should be sharper on the bottom and the design (a crosspiece for stability just above the top of the cylinder) makes it hard to dump the dirt out, but at least it works sometimes if the soil is tilled and moist; if not, forget it. I have a drill and augur, and that causes problems, too, but sometimes speeds things up.
Shovels, rakes, the usual, they are work, but I can manage them the way they are designed, would be better if I knew how to sharpen a shovel, try to keep them clean, and no matter what tool it is, my back is weak, and I have to pace myself. Power everything would be better for me but those can be dangerous.
Probably not what your were expecting in the way of feedback. I used to post under another name here.
I have about every tool you can own, don't have a hoe, don't seem to need one, and they are all work because unless you have perfect soil and not have to fight weeds, sod, rocks, buried debris, roots, and other obstructions, all tools are work, and I have no idea how they can be improved.

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Hettie wrote:

http://www.altapower.com/Earthquake_E43_p/e43.htm
the Earthquake 1.75 HP Powerhead - E43 is truly a one man power post hole driller. I bought my about six years ago so I could plant trees and other landscape plants without the pain of digging. I've got both the 4" and the 6" auger bits. if I'm planting a tree from a 15" container I drill a center hole and then drill tangent holes around the center hole until I've got the diameter required for the tree or other type of plant being planted. the auger turns the dirt into a powder making it very easy to remove with a standard post hole digger, almost to easy.
for transplanting tomato, squash, cucumber, pepper and other garden plants I first layout my distance measurements then drill each plant its own 32" deep hole. push the pulverized powdery dirt back into the hole and set the plant. the process creates a deep subsoiler effect allowing roots to reach easily down into the earth for water. here's a secret trick. put a pinch of each plant type's favorite fertilizer about 10 to 12 inches down in the hole and by the time the plant's roots hit the pocket of fertilizer the plant is large enough to accept and enjoy the find.
and yea, I did put a fence post or two in with the Earthquake - E43.
my usage recommendation is to drill slowly and allow the powerhead to do the work. this way when you find a large root or a large rock there is almost no kick back. do run the motor wide open / full throttle but don't press down with a lot of force.
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Jim wrote:

I wonder if I could handle that and how dangerous it might be. Kickback scares me because I almost cut my finger off with my chain saw, doctor said it would never be the same again. It healed up fine. You said one man. This is one woman. A stubborn older one who doesn't like to admit she doesn't have the strength she once had which wasn't all that much even then. How much do they cost? That sounds great. Just like my tiller which takes all the strength I have to use, but I'm getting more accustomed to it.
I am doing things now I never imagined I could do though. Things I thought you needed a man for. It is just too hard now to find somebody reasonable to work for you. My family will help me, but they are so darn busy, I hate to bother them unless I just have to have the help.
If I wanted to kill myself or break my wrists, I suppose I could use a regular one if I didn't try to do it all at once, maybe work with a tile spade. I think I like yours better. Would I get enough use from it to be worth the money? I'll have to consider that.
You can plant with the tiller, just till, shovel out, and till some more, but you can't go near as deep as that. Plus I want to set some cedar posts. Myself. Maybe with help with my son. I hired a landscaper, planted some roses I thought I couldn't plant because it was a batch of 12, and didn't think I could do that many in one day, wanted several more things done, they never sent me an estimate, nice couple, left me wondering why, maybe my property wouldn't make them look good enough? I think I was polite to them, but I do have to bargain for a good price and know on their end it has to be worth it. Landscapers are expensive.
It's weird. I had my heart set on some iron lattice trellises, kept a photo somebody posted. Couldn't find anything like that. I printed out the photo, showed it to them, they said they'd cost a fortune to have welded. Guess what? I found them at Plow & Hearth, and they were very reasonable even with shipping, made in China, of course. Now they seem to be out of them again.
Today I was in awe. I don't know what they were fixing, but I stopped to watch a neighbor getting, suppose a sewer line, drilled with this enormous augur, never saw one that big, wish I'd gone back with my camera, but wasn't in the mood to tick anybody off. They were having some trouble with it, the area between the street and sidewalk is extremely narrow, and they kept hitting something.
Thank you for telling me about that Earthquake thing and the link. I'll check it out tomorrow.
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Thanx for the posts so far, even from the sarcastic.
I was not very clear. This research is for BA Product Design and i commisioned for academic purposes only. To be honest, the books an articles that have so far been read concerning Garden tools are not a much help as we would like. The research has shifted to dealing with people who use them on day to day basis. This has included consulting professional gardeners allotment owners, and now the murky world of the internet. This ver tacky attempt to gain opinion is in fact one of many different ways w have tried.
Us "kids" wish it WAS as easy as tapping a few words on a keyboard.
Thanx again guy
-- Christiansouth
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Try agricultural workers. You know, the guys working out in the field. If there is a problem with a tool, they will the industrial strength complaint. If the owner had to use the tool, it would get changed quickly.
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Below are some websites that have "gourmet" garden tools.
They tend to address the shortcomings of traditional tools.
A. M. Leonarad (very innovative): http://www.amleo.com/index/help-desk/subcat.cgi?Cat=L
Fiskars (innovation for arthritic and handicapped gardeners): http://www.fiskars.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/TopCategoriesDisplay?sto reId001&langId=-1&catalogId101
Florian (innovative ratcheting and folding tools): http://www.floriantools.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=flori an&Category_Code=gardening_tool
Leatherman (hybrid all-in-one multi tools for gardeners): http://www.leatherman.com/products/tools/hybrid/default.asp
Lee Valley (complete selection of high quality garden tools): http://www.leevalley.com/garden/index.aspx?c Lehman's (traditional garden tools seldom available): http://www.lehmans.com/jump.jsp?itemType TEGORY&itemID2&i1Cat0&i2 Cat2&i3Cat=0&i4Cat=0
Master Gardening (commercial quality tools): http://www.mastergardening.com/gardening-tools.html
Mountain Maples (Special Bonsai tools): http://www.mountainmaples.com/show_group.php?category=tools
Smith & Hawken (high quality specialized garden tools): http://www.smithandhawken.com/catalog/category.jsp?categoryId t120313
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On Oct 31, 4:33 am, Christiansouth <Christiansouth.

Your research may be enhanced by looking at the variety of tools for removing weeds as categorized by the World of Weeds website at ergonica.com/weeder_features.htm#Terrain . Here you will see 8 weeding tool domains for various sizes of plants, such as trees and shrubs all the way down to the small grasses, etc.
I believe the big corporations are more concerned about selling chemicals than focusing on designing hand tools that work well and conveniently in gardens and organic farm fields. It's great to see your interest in this topic.
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raycruzer;757651 Wrote:

That site is useful. Cheers. Yeah the project itself is actually quit interesting, hope it can develop into something worthwhil
-- Christiansouth
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Christiansouth wrote:
I mentioned a bulb planted that worked better. The other day I was out at Home Depot and saw one not quite as deep as one of mine but deep enough, and it had sharper edges on the bottom and was what I would call "crenelated" style, not pointy teeth, but it appeared that it might work much better, especially for naturalizing bulbs and cutting down through sod, twisting as you dig, it might actually cut while it digs. Also it had a little hand level to release the soil in it and a place to put your foot to get some force.
I was and am soooooooo tempted. $19.95. But I'm done for this year. If I don't buy it now, I may not be able to find one like that next year.
If I do buy it now, who knows if I'll still be around . . . . next year?
And there's no guarantee it will work better or hold up to a lot of use, may be worth a try.
Which reminds me of a question which is stupid to ask on this nearly dead thread, but I'll ask anyway. No, it involves spraying chemicals. I'll call the extension office.
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Nothing better, fast and effortless:
http://www.leevalley.com/garden/page.aspx?c=2&p495&cat=2,2200,33263
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