Garden Tool Handles
What follows is partially a rant, partially advice.
I've found that for most garden tools, the handle is almost as important as the head, but most manufacturers seem to put very little thought into the handle design.
Most handles are too short, making you bend over too far to use the tool. This is probably a holdover from when our shorter ancestors were farming, but the average height of Americans has grown, so longer handles are a now necessity but still the exception to the rule.
Another critical aspect is the orientation of the wood grain of the handle. In most cases, wood is strongest when force is applied parallel to the growth rings and weaker when applied perpendicular. With this in mind, a shovel handle should be made so the growth rings are perpendicular to the blade. Rakes and hoes should have the handle oriented the same way. Pruners should have the rings parallel to the blades. Sadly, most manufacturers just orient them whichever way they happen to come off the assembly line, with no regard to maximizing strength. Finding a tool with a properly-oriented handle is like a scavenger hunt.
I can't help but wonder if this "engineering" was known by manufacturers a hundred years ago, but through mergers, acquisitions, and outsourcing, the necessary practical knowledge was lost. If it was "common knowledge" back then, it wouldn't be specified on the plans; once the masters died their successors might not carry on their wisdom.
Last edited by Fencepost; 04-22-2013 at 01:25 AM.
The "Senior Member" designation under my name doesn't mean I know a lot, it just means I talk a lot.I've been a DIYer since I was 12 (thanks, Dad!). I have read several books on various home improvement topics. I do not have any current code books I can refer to. I was an apprentice plumber for two years.