Sunday 29 July 2018

LEFT - HANDED Ho-Mis are here!

That's the left-handed one on the left . . .
A few months ago, one of our customers asked us whether there was a left-handed version of the Ho-Mi.  As a left-hander himself, Nick had found that the balance of the ordinary Large Ho-Mi didn't quite seem right.

We didn't know the answer, so we emailed the manufacturer in South Korea.  Yes, he said, they DO make a left-handed version, but only in small numbers and only to order.  The price would be a little higher as a result.

Then, a little later, he sent us a free sample of the left-handed Large Ho-Mi.  So what did we do with it?  Sent it to Nick, of course!

Nick's immediate response was "Initial impressions - weighting of the tool makes a lot more sense, as it has a kind of twist to it that doesn't translate when using in your off-hand."  Sounds good to me!

So, we went ahead and ordered some and they arrived a few days ago.

So now, all of you right-handers who have been enjoying using your Large Ho-Mis and trying (maybe unsuccessfully) to get your left-handed friends to try them, you can point them to our Ho-Mi page where they can get one for themselves!

When we told Nick about the new shipment of Left-Handed Ho-Mis, and that we had already had an enquiry from Germany, this was his response: 
"Thanks Dave, 
Just to reiterate; the weighting of the tool makes this a pleasure to use, particularly in raised beds - for those of us who like getting "up close and personal" with things.
Definitely a perfect gift for the left-handed gardener who's fed-up of using tools upside-down!  Experiment with the grip to find the most comfortable point - that's the best angle. 
Glad to hear you've already had some interest.  Nick"

P.S.  Ironically, when we first started selling Ho-Mis, we were living on our narrowboat and so had no garden to try them out, so we gave one to some 'land-lubber' gardening friends to see how they liked it.  Their response was a little lukewarm and we didn't understand why.  We only found out later, once we had realised that Ho-Mis are 'handed', that both those friends are left-handed!  Oops!

Thursday 26 July 2018

Glaser Stirrup Hoes - fixing bolts

In the last year or so, we seem to have had rather more customers contacting us about their Glaser stirrup Hoes, because the 10mm headless bolt has snapped that fixes the Oscillating Block of the Stirrup Hoe to the Wheel Hoe.

In this photo, you can see the 10mm bolt and the hexagonal socket for a 5mm Allen key is in the top.

The first thing to say about these bolts snapping is that USUALLY it seems to be caused by sudden stress on the bolt, which often results when the fixing nut has worked loose.  So, first thing to do is to make sure that you tighten the nut every time you start to use the hoe.  I often take a spanner with me if I am going to be doing quite a lot of heavy wheel-hoeing, just to make sure that I can keep it tight.  Maybe a 'Nyloc' nut will help (see below).  If you don't expect to change your wheelhoe attachments very often, you may like to put a drop of thread-locking compound on the thread.  Don't use superglue!!

So, the worst happens and the bolt breaks!  No worries, we have a stock of replacement headless bolts here or you may be able to get them locally:  ask for M10, 30mm long in high-tensile steel.  On our website, they are on the 'Spare Blades' page and we have simply called them 'M10 bolt + ‘nyloc’ nut + washer’.  We started by just stocking the headless bolts, but now we include a washer and a ‘Nyloc’ nut, which hopefully will not come loose so easily!  (Updated 30th June 2020)

The next problem is getting out the stub of the broken bolt.  Quite tricky if it has broken just inside the block!  Try removing the block from the hoe and drilling from the bottom, perhaps adding a drop of oil to help it move.

However, there is another solution, shown to us by Henry, who lives not far away from us in Devon.  The fixing bolt on his Stirrup Hoe broke, but he found that the headless bolt had been fitted the other way up, with the Allen key socket downwards, so he was able to simply screw out the broken stub by inserting the Allen key from the bottom.  Magic!  Of course, a drop of oil could be useful here too, especially if your Stirrup Hoe has been in use for a long time.

So here is my suggestion to make it easier for you if your fixing bolt breaks in the future:  reverse the bolt NOW so that the Allen key socket is reached from below.
First, loosen the large nut and the bolt, using a spanner and an Allen key.
Second, remove the Oscillating Block from the Stirrup Hoe by unscrewing the 'axle' bolt.
Third, remove the M10 bolt and reverse it in its hole.
Fourth, tighten the bolt by inserting the Allen key from below and turning it anti-clockwise.
Fifth, replace the washer and nut.
Sixth, refit the Oscillating Block to the Stirrup Hoe.

It looks exactly the same, except that the Allen key socket is now hidden inside the Oscillating Block, making it easier if you ever need to remove a snapped bolt.

Since this useful conversation with Henry, we have checked our stock of Oscillating Blocks and some of the Stirrup Hoes.  Some of the most recent stock already have the bolts reversed – looks like Glasers in Switzerland have come to the same conclusion !

I hope this helps a little.  Thanks again to Henry for finding this useful piece of information.