***UPDATE: We’ve posted the plans for making the hoe here: http://www.growingandmaking.com/2013/06/11/free-wheel-hoe-plans/ ***
This year we are planting an extra 1500 sq ft of vegetables and to make the work a little easier, I did some research into non-powered tools for preparing, maintaining and harvesting the new field. The one tool that kept popping up was a wheel hoe. Not a fake hoe, but a wheel hoe.
The wheel hoe is essentially a two handled plough that is pushed by the gardener rather than pulled by draught animals or a tractor. On a small-scale vegetable patch or in a market garden, it is the ideal size to keep the soil turned and the weeds at bay. Using different attachments, the gardener can make quick work of usually labourious tasks.
The wheel hoe has been around since the 1800’s but has made a bit of comeback thanks to companies like Hoss Tools who stayed true to original design. At $179, it is quite reasonable, but with the tools and skills to build my own, it was an easy decision to keep the money in the bank. The only prefabbed part I purchased from Hoss Tools was the hoe attachment as making it wouldn’t be very cost effective and required specialized tooling.
Aside from the mass produced models, there are a few blogs out there offering kits to make your own, but I couldn’t find any that offered the same features and versatility of the mass produced ones. After studying what felt like a few million images, I was able to use the data to create a 3D model that used the same hole placement for the Hoss attachments but used stock steel tubing and flat bar.
After cutting, welding, drilling and painting the steel body, I still needed to find a wheel. It wasn’t worth fabricating a steel wheel like on the original, so I looked at thrift stores for an old wheel off a kid’s bike or toy. No luck. Apparently kids in our neighbourhood don’t like donating their bikes for the less fortunate to buy. Back at work, and after cursing the little sh*ts in our neighbourhood for hours, I started scouring the offices and rooms for a wheel. As luck would have it, someone had snapped the casters of a drafting chair, rendering it useless. I helped make it even more useless by removing the foot rest loop which happened to be the perfect size to use as the wheel on the hoe!
After making a hub for the wheel and forming two wood handles, I assembled everything to find that I had a hoe that seemed, on frozen ground, to work quite well.
If anyone wants the plans as a 3D file or drafting, just post in the comments or email me and I’d be happy to share.