We ploughed a large piece of land and decided to try to maximise the usage as quickly as possible. A very limited number of volunteers came forward to help. We also have an extremely limited budget, so I decided to try the wheel-hoe route.
This was really just based on the pictures I had seen on the internet and without ever having used one. I looked at various designs but my thanks go to Herrick Kimball of Planet whizbang . His pages and pictures helped with my fabrication the most. I will not go into exact details of how I made it but rather a brief summary, highlighting adaptations.
As they say locally “my version is same,same but different”.
My mother was in ICU during this build. I found peace in working really hard all day so that the time could pass quicker. I was also severely limited in when I could see her due to covid restraints. Working all day helped reduce the frustration. I thus was able to produce it plus all the bits in a very short time frame. It was made mostly from bits and pieces I had accumulated over time.
I discovered that it is very physical to use. As a result my team always reverts back to their normal old- fashioned hoes. I plan to re invigorate its use as a lot of effort went into making it . Even if I become the only regular user, I will still enjoy using the contraption.
Materials for the wheel-hoe
It all started with some 77mm square tubing and an old wheelbarrow wheel that I had. I wanted to add something different to the standard design. I made a plate that allows the handles to be re-aligned for a left hand, straight or right hand positioning. The round disk in the photograph is for this function. It was very much a “make do” build . I incorporated some flat bar, square tubing, round bar and a couple of old bolts.
The handles I made initially were straight.
This proved to be a problem as I could not get sufficient force onto the wheel . I had to cut the main double shaft and bend it a little so that the hand grips were lower.
Making the wheel-hoe implements
The first implement which was the easiest to make was the rake. However, my initial design was wrong. This resulted in the angle of the rake not correlating to the wheel-hoe, so it had little effect.
I then lengthened the neck of the rake which was a disaster . It was now too deep and Samson could not have pushed it through the field!
I eventually ended up with a fully adjustable setup. I could have saved a lot of time and effort by getting the plans online.
To manufacture the weed slicer I used a standard hardened steel hand slasher blade. Cutting it with a grinder was easy. Drilling it and bending it into shape proved to be a lot more challenging.
What I really wanted at this stage was the trencher. Coming up with a decent design proved challenging. Following making some hideous prototypes that did not work properly I went back to Planet Whizbangs design. By scoring the steel with a grinder I was able to bend it to the appropriate shape. This worked perfectly!
I had a supply of seed potato arriving soon, so I needed to make the “hilling” attachment as well. I used some 5mm plate that I had. It took scoring with the grinder and some serious effort to bend it but eventually turned out fantastically.
The curved cultivator was probably the second easiest part to fabricate as it was relatively easy to replicate the bends. All that remained was a quick spray to get to the final product.