How I build my hand crafted garden tools

I use traditional methods to create our hand crafted garden tools.
Tuli Fisher hammering metal outside for one of his hand crafted garden tools Long before the invention of electricity and modern machinery, skilled craftsmen worked the fires of the forge in the old world tradition of blacksmithing. Back then, everything was made well and made to last. Though it seems like a lost art, there are still a few craftsmen among us. At Fisher Blacksmithing, I take great pride not only in my hand crafted garden tools, but in carrying this tradition forward into the 21st century.

Tuli Fisher builds hand crafted garden tools in his forge heated to 1,800°FForging hand crafted garden tools at 1800°.

A 100 lb. Peter Wright London pattern anvil fitted with a few bottom swages (or hardies) is the workbench upon which my hand crafted garden tools are made. A variety of tongs, hammers, punches, and top tools (many of which I also hand forged) are used to take high carbon steel or salvaged material and turn it into functional works of art for your garden. Blacksmith’s tongs serve a similar purpose in my shop as the tongs in your kitchen or fireplace- for holding the hot items while working. I heat the steel in the 1,800 degree (Fahrenheit) heat of the forge. I use a 2 lb. rounding hammer, 2lb. cross peen, and 1lb. ball peen hammer to shape each piece of the hand crafted garden tools upon the anvil. I then employ a series of punches and top tools to stamp patterns, flowers, and my name into the hand crafted garden tools while they are still blazing hot. After the shapes for the blades of our hand crafted garden tools are cut out and stamped with my name, patterned, and forged into shape by hand I connect the individual pieces using solid steel rivets. I use a ball peen hammer to set the rivets while they are still hot from the fire. This creates a good long lasting joint. The tools are heated repeatedly while they are being built. Each tool requires about four heats before completion. After the final heat the tools are quenched in oil or water and are ready for the finishing work to begin.


Fisher Blacksmithing five piece gardening set displayed on a wooden paletteBuilding sturdy handles for hand crafted garden tools.

Using a wood lathe, the handle is carefully turned by hand from American Black Walnut or another sturdy hardwood until it takes the shape of a sturdy handle offering a grip that has evolved over the years into what I have found is most comfortable. The handles are turned with a tenon on the end and bored with a pilot hole. They are then cross bored to make a hole to hold the leather tie for hanging. I forge the stem of each of my hand crafted garden tools down to a tapered point and then scorch the hole in the handle while it’s still hot. This creates a hole that is square and matches the shape of the tools. The tool is then driven down into the handle and the steel ring or ferrule on the end of each handle prevents splitting. As a craftsman, I am committed to using only the finest materials, and when possible, incorporating recycled materials into the final product. The leather ties that these hand crafted gardening tools hang from are made from leather scrap from a sandal maker in Texas. I collect sickle sections from area Montana ranches when they replace the sections in their sickle bar mowers. I take my commitment to providing a sustainably and consciously made product even further by incorporating reused sheet metal and rebar salvaged from the concrete industry when possible.

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