Why are Chillington garden tools so good?
A Chillington Hoe is the UK name for a range of very particular tools whose design goes back thousands of years, to a time when our ancestors first managed to tie a shaped piece of rock to a stick to break the soil and first cultivate the land. In most developing countries where agricultural workers still farm with hand tools the ‘Chillington’ tool design is the most widely used. It is a mystery to me why the common spade of fork is so popular in the U.K. and the use of these far more effective tools have died out. The simple design of a blade at right angles to the handle has been used for thousands of years and is still the most popular design of hand digging tool around the world.
Unique design for quick and easy work.
The key to the usability of these tools is the fact the cutting head is fixed at right angles to the handle of the tool. This means the implement can be swung into the ground as you would an axe using gravity and the tools weight to get a firm purchase in the soil. By lifting the handle the gardener is using the leverage between handle and right angled blade to break up the soil or to lever out stones or stubborn roots. We use the full range of Chillington tools and cannot recommend them highly enough. The effort required to clear ground is far less than using a normal spade or fork available in ordinary garden centers.
Chillington Tools is now owned by Ralph Martindale who are located in the West Midlands in the UK and have been manufacturing a varied range of this type of tool for over 100 years. In fact they are the leading manufacturer of these tools which are exported around the world. In England the common name for this tool is a Chillington Hoe, around the world they are known as Azadas, Badzas, Grape Hoe, Eye Hoe, Jembe, Mamooty, Mattock or Adze. There are probably even more names for them depending on which country you go to but the most common in the Western world would be the Chillington Hoe or an Azada.
Over the years different manufacturers around the world have copied or produced their own versions of these tools, but Chillington Tools in the UK remain the leading manufacturer. They produce a large range for different applications and different styles of vegetable growing for the different countries and continents they export their prized tools to.
Hot Forged High Carbon Steel.
Chillington Hoes are made from traditional hot forged steel where the tool is made from a hot almost molten piece of high carbon steel. The hot steel is then pressed once to form its unique shape meaning there are no stresses or built up in the metal. The steel itself is hard wearing but flexible and is able to take the many thousands of impacts it will receive whilst working the ground. An ordinary type of steel would actually work harden causing it to go brittle and split over time. The grade of hot forged steel that Chillington use is tried and tested as they have been manufacturing these types of tools for over hundred years. Even with competition from Far Eastern countries the Chillington name and their Crocodile logo is preferred by agricultural workers around the world.
These are the types of Chillington Hoes or Azadas which have been chosen by Chillington to suit gardeners and vegetable growers in the UK.
CHILLINGTON TRENCHING HOE – DIGGING HOE – HEAVY DUTY AZADA (HANDLE INCLUDED).
The heavy duty hoe or azada is for the breaking and turning over of hard or virgin soil. It comes complete with a heavy duty handle to take the extra forces when breaking up the ground. By swinging the heavy duty hoe head into the ground then by lifting the handle the leverage will break up the soil requiring less effort than a traditional garden spade. When digging with the Chillington Heavy Duty Hoe you are mainly using the muscles in your arms and shoulders meaning far less strain on you back. Using the heavy duty hoe for this type of work is much faster and more comfortable than the common garden spade found in most D.I.Y. stores.
The heavy duty hoe/azada can be used for digging the ground over and then chopping the clumps or sods in to smaller pieces, if you come across tree roots the heavy duty hoe will just chop straight through them. If you need to clear overgrown wooded ground containing shrubs, brambles, small trees etc the heavy duty hoe will easily allow you to smash through the wooded growth chopping it into smaller pieces and also allows you to remove the root systems from the ground as you go.
CHILLINGTON RIDGING HOE – RIDGING AZADA (HANDLE INCLUDED).
Ever since Saxon times and earlier people have been farming the land by using a ridging system where the soil is dragged or dug out of two parallel trenches and mounded in the middle to form a high growing ridge. This has the advantage of providing a mound of topsoil for deep rooted crops and provides drainage on wet ground. In some parts these are known as potato ridges or lazy beds which are still used today or in some countries.
The Chillington Ridging Hoe is specially designed for making ridges by digging and dragging the soil and mounding it into a central mound. The digging and dragging method is quicker and easier than using a spade and as with the trenching hoe is much easier on the back. If you were to do this work with a traditional garden spade it will take many times longer and be much more hard work. The ridging hoe is also used to make seed trenches in the same way for the planting of various vegetables and again makes this type of work so much easier for vegetable growers and gardeners.
CHILLINGTON CANTERBURY FORK – FORK AZADA (HANDLE INCLUDED).
The Canterbury Fork is for breaking the soil down with a similar action to a garden fork and a rake combined. The fork is particularly good for weeding as the tines or prongs are approximately 7 inches long so perfect for deep root weeds like dandelions and thistles. The fork can be swung into the ground just in front of the offending weed which can then be easily levered up from below but lifting the handle.
The fact that the tool has 3 widely spaced tines makes very easy to drive it deep into the ground thus removing the deepest weed roots. The Chillington Fork Hoe is also perfect for breaking up the clumps and sods of soil after the ground has been dug over and separating weeds from soil.
Gardeners using raised vegetable beds will find the Canterbury Fork perfect for breaking the surface of the soil in the Spring and for tidying the bed. Raised bed vegetable gardeners don’t walk on their beds so digging with a traditional fork isn’t an option. The unique right angled design of the Canterbury fork means the bed can be worked for the sides leaving the soil light and easy to work. The Canterbury Fork Hoe comes complete with a 1200mm or 1600mm handle which allows you to reach right in to the widest type of raised beds making it the ultimate raised bed garden tool.
CHILLINGTON BABY HOE (HANDLE INCLUDED).
The Chillington Baby Hoe is a 100mm wide with a thin strong blade which can be used for general weeding and light ground clearance. Heavy weeds or light wooded roots can be accurately cut and removed without damaging surrounding plants. The Baby Hoe is essentially a smaller, lighter version of the Heavy Duty Hoe and will be more suitable for lighter work or smaller gardens. Make no mistake, this is still a very strong and effective tool just less heavy handed!
The sharp blade can be easily sharpened with a file or small sharpening stone to keep the baby hoe in top condition.
CHILLINGTON DOUBLE HEADED HOE (HANDLE INCLUDED).
This twin use hoe has a thin blade at one end and a two prong fork at the other on a 900mm length handle. This tool is very much sought after by vegetable growers who may use raised beds or containers to grow in or those who prefer to work their vegetable beds by kneeling down. The shorter handle is of an easier use than a long handle tool to reach in and prepare the soil or remove any weeds amongst your growing plants.
The double headed hoe is light and easy to use while giving you a surprising amount of digging power from such a compact tool, a hardcore hand tool!
RALPH MARTINDALE GRASS SLASHER / WEEDER
This great tool is used around the world for clearing weeds and vegetation with its unique curved blade at the end of the handle. In some countries where they cannot afford chemical sprays or mechanical tools teams of men can clear acres and acres of light grass and weeds with this tool.
In the UK it is favoured by those who have electric fences as it is easier and lighter to carry than mechanical or larger tools like scythes. It is also used around tree plantations where people do not want to use sprays or mechanical means for fear of damaging their young trees (people familiar with strimmer damage around trees and fruit bushes will immediately see the benefit of this tool). It will easily clear grass, weeds and rushes and young green briars.
There are reports of people using these tools for 20 years before they need replacing which just shows you how good they are.