2008-11-09

Parking strips, edgers, weeds, and gloves

Tso, havink done tsome verk ont de parkink streep

erm, OK, ditch that dialect!

So, having done some work on the parking strip, I realized that I desperately needed an edger, and not the type used in woodworking [which I have]; this resulted in a trip to Harbor Freight. Or rather, was taken care of during a trip to Harbor Freight.

Nifty tool, One Stop Gardens' Lawn Edger, Harbor Freight Item 94299, a mere $4.99 [not on sale, normal price!], much better than the edger my parents' had lo these many years agone and which may not have even moved to Portland with us it's been so long since I've seen it and how's this for a run-on sentence? [inhale] Solid steel cutting blade, good haft, OK plastic handle, lousy aluminium rivets holding the blade to the haft. "How lousy?" you ask, so lousy that after maybe fifteen-twenty minutes use they'd worn through and the blade separated from the haft. Fume, not happy camper.

Have no fear, Fix-it-Man is here! First, try using a nail to create a through rivet. Yeah, I said first, implying it didn't work. It didn't, not really, something to do with not having a nail of appropriate diameter to hand. Sleep on it. [Man, no wonder my back is sore!] Come the dawn, use a pin punch to remove the nail rivet, grab Klein Tools Six-in-one tapping tool, item 627-20, a handy tool which has a reversible insert with three taps each end, smallest to largest, so you can easily thread items for use with the most common machine screws. [hey, nice threads, man] Ahem. Turns out that the 1/4-20 tap is just right for the openings in the blade & haft. Wander down to the basement, saying "Hi!" to Mom en route, grab an appropriate length 1/4-20 hex head bolt, crank a ratcheting socket wrench a bit, get it all the way through, and not need an end nut as the tension from the blade trying to get away from the haft is enough to prevent it from vibrating loose; I don't know why the blade is trying to get away from the haft, I mean it knew what it was getting into when it applied for the job, didn't it?

Anyway, tool fixed, better than new; well, since new had lousy aluminium rivets, yes, better than new is correct.

They's weeds in the parking strip. Lots of them, make you think it hasn't been weeded in decades weeds; funny thing, it hasn't been weeded in decades. Gotta do something about that...

The weeds that really need taking out, the dandelions, Queen Anne's Lace, and them Wild Peas, they all have two things in common; they sprawl, and they have deep, thick, taproots which they will re-grow from if just broken off at the surface. Nasty buggers.


Enter Grandpa's Weeder, Garrett Wade product 65P01.01, $27.50; a nifty tool, very good for this purpose, pulling taproots, and which I have no need of purchasing; you see, I actually have Granddad's weeder, pre-WWII production line, been in the family and well used for 60+ years, a quality tool which I recently replaced the handle on. Lot of that happening around here recently, yes? Anyway, when the soil is damp, as is common in the Pacific Northwest in the Fall, this tool makes them narsty taproots come out of the ground smooth as silk; there's a reason Garrett Wade brought it back into production, it is ideally suited to it's purpose, no tool developed since supplants it for ease of use and simplicity of design. Center it over the root, stab it into the ground, plant you foot on the footpad lever thingy to sink the tool as far into the soil as it will go, remove you foot and lean the handle toward the footpad, easy smooth pressure, and watch the root come out of the ground. In an ideal world, that is, some roots are nastier than others, soil conditions vary, as does dampness of soil. In my case, the soil and dampness are just right. But if it didn't cooperate entirely, there is a secondary use for the footpad thingy, it has a slot at the end which can be used to pull roots out akin to the claw on a hammer pulling nails out of a board, given sufficiently thick taproots, such as young Oaks and Walnuts, a use I put it to growing up in Salem.

And finally, gloves. The Rose Gloves I got in August, I've worn out the fingers using them to protect my fingers while grubbing in the dirt, and they're a bit expensive for that purpose. Not quite so well fitting, but still some sturdy and supple, Harbor Freight sells what they call Leather Roping Gloves, although I suspect they aren't the strongest roping gloves around, but $4.99 on sale sure beats what I paid for the Rose Gloves! Regular price of $6.99 isn't bad either. Only real problem is that they only sell them in large, and I take an extra-large due to my long fingers. But it gives me an idea of what type of glove to look for in the future, might need to visit a farming & ranching supply shop to check out their gloves to find a proper fit combined with supple strength...

Lunch time, so I'm out of here!

Post this Puppy!

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