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24 September 2014
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More tools with shock absorbency
with Tony Gipp, chairman Gardening with Disabilities, Norfolk
Joyce Partridge manages to weed her gravel using shock-absorber tools.

Flexible tool system
Joyce Partridge is 87 and has suffered from rheumatoid arthritis for many years.

With thoughtful planting, suitable tools, and some help from a part-time gardener, Joyce is able to continue her favourite hobby successfully.

The photo shows Joyce getting weeds out of gravel with a small cultivator attached to an elbow crutch.

I have previously shown shock-absorbed tools; devised using tool-heads from a flexible tool system ‘tools with interchangeable heads and handles’ from a well-known manufacturer.

The tool Joyce is using comes from a flexible tool system, produced by another well-known manufacturer.

The tool-head has a different fixing method to those shown previously, but we found an appropriate method.

To achieve the tool fixing method I first placed the coupling insert of the tool-head beside the elbow crutch end as though fully inserted.

I then marked the crutch through the centre of the manufacturers fixing hole. The crutch end was clamped in a vice and a centred gutter bolt size hole, drilled through both sides of the tube.

Having inserted the tool head tongue, I then pushed a gutter bolt into one side of the tube, through the hole in the tongue, and out through the opposite side. I used a wing nut to secure it in place.

(Before inserting the tongue into the elbow –crutch tube, foam rubber was put in place ‘taking care not to cover the hole in the tongue’ to fill the space either side).

Dimensions Length. Overall tool 46" 117cm extending to 56" 142cm Weight 16oz 448grms.

caroline drew.
Caroline Drew - recovering from a car accident.

Alternative flexible tool
Caroline Drew, recovering from a serious car accident, finds many kinds of movement excruciatingly painful.

Caroline has an allotment in addition to her small garden and is terribly keen to get on with tending both of them.

The tool that Caroline uses in her back yard uses another tool-head from the same manufacturer as used for Joyce’s tool.

The fixing method is also the same. A short piece of tube, cut from the inner shaft of an elbow crutch was used for the fixing; this was then attached to a walking stick.

To distribute the load and make it easier to operate with both hands; a piece of wire similar in length to the walking stick was secured near the tool head, and a 3-inch piece of foam pipe insulation was fixed to the opposite end for a handle.

It is difficult to see the wire in the photo of Caroline.

Dimensions. Length 43" 109cm Weight 16oz 448grms.

Ivy tackling her steep embankment

More light multipurpose tools
Ivy Paine is a great plant expert and a very active gardener. Ivy is 84 and has rather more difficulties in gardening than her photo might suggest.

She is seen here using an unusual multipurpose tool on a steep embankment. I devised it using a potato masher attached to an aluminium tube. I also made a wooden dibber to fit in the tube.

The tools are interchangeable and both can attach simultaneously. The masher is very useful for what Ivy is doing. It is a handy hoe, and useful to tamp loose soil to stop it sliding down the steep gradient. The masher is good for firming things in the ground and is useful in small areas for preparing seedbeds with a fine tilth.

The masher, without extended handle is a very useful tool for working in raised beds. The tube handle is handy for setting seeds without bending. The wooden masher handle is oval and the connecting part of the dibber (which was made from a recycled coffee table leg) was given a similar shape to achieve secure connections.

Both ends of the tube were slightly flattened, allowing the tool-heads to be fully inserted and then turned either clockwise or anti clock to secure.

Dimensions Length. Tube 40" 1m. Tube + either tool 45" 114cm Masher only 9.1/2" 24cm Weight. Tube 8oz 224grms. Masher 4oz 112grms Dibber 1.1/2oz 42grms Diameter. Tube internal 24mm.

more from Tony>>>

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