The Right Hoe For A Tough Row

Sat Jul 16, 2005 11:30 pm

I have to rave about the Vineyard Hoe (item B)


I recently purchaced from Lee Valley. Vineyard Hoe It is a good quality tool. The blade is 6.5" wide by 8" deep and weighs about 2 pounds. The wooden handle is 51" long and slightly curved to decrease the angle of the blade. It is comfortable to use and the weight of the head does most of the work.

Let me tell you about my tough row. It is a bed with 8 rose bushes in it, in my side yard, along the highway. It is 110' long by 15' wide. It drops 5' of elevation in the 15' of width. It has heavy clay soil with a mostly rotted down layer of hardwood mulch. I have been trying to kill the grass and weeds in this bed for the past 3 years. This year started out well. I had spot sprayed with herbicide 3 times and the bed looked good. Then the rains came. :( It has rained at least 1/2 ", often more, every day, except 5 days, for the past 2 months. The grass and weeds came back with a vengence. The entire bed was 1' tall. There were crab grasses up to 2' across, centepede grass all over, nut sedge, and a wide variety of other flora.

I went out one day with my regular hoe and beat on the weeds untill I could hardly use my left hand. I didn't make much of a dent in the bed. When I went back in the house I ordered that vineyard hoe.

Today I used the vineyard hoe on that bed and cleared over 3/4 of it. I have 2 piles of weeds one is 8' around by 5' high, the other is 6' around by 3' high. Good for composting. My hands and arms feel fine, but my knees are sore from working on the slope.

If you have any tough rows to hoe I would recomend the vineyard hoe.

Sat Jul 16, 2005 11:34 pm

I tried to include a link to the Lee Valley web site but i guess it didn't work. :(

Sun Jul 17, 2005 8:10 am

No problem, here it is.

Sun Jul 17, 2005 8:32 am


Works now... added the image as well, though that would be appropriate in your post instead of a follow-on.

(edit comment: George beat me to it, I was busy typing this...)

A little story:

I met Leonard Lee (owner/founder/brains behind Veritas toos) of Lee Valley Tools in Ottawa at his very first store back in the mid 70's - I think 77 if I remember correctly. His business was orientated to cabinet and furniture makers both professionals and the garage/hobbiest craftsman. Even then he demonstrated his vision for a business that would supply his customers with top flight tools at reasonable prices, and not just run of the mill Home Depot, Home Hardware or Sears everyday quality tools.

He stocked Ulmia hand tools made from Beech and Lignum Vitae, Sheffield steel and Solingen steel chisels, plane irons, quality Bessey Clamps as well as the German Theba brand and the list goes on. He only stocked the best of the best whether it originated in Canada, the US, Europe or Australia and all points in between.

This is tool chest pictured below is the updated version of my Cabinet-Maker's Toolchest which in German is Werkzeugschränken für den Schreiner und Tischler. Em bought it for me whilst I was apprenticing in Germany for my Meister Schrienier Certifikat, after we got posted to Lahr. I first started using planes made from Beech with Lignum Vitae soles whilst I was still an apprentice with my father. He brought his with him in the 50's.


This is similar to mine although the Japanese style saw is new, the clamps were not part of my set, and a number of tools are missing such as the Rosewood Marking Guage, the 2 other sizes of Joiners hammers, and my pride and joy - my Rosewood and Lignum Vitae Reform-putzhobel (reformed finishing plane or refined finishing plane). This is the Ulmia Tool Chest description in English.

He was one of the originals to import Japanese woodworking tools, including their saws and chisels. He made the concept of Japanese water stones as integral to a well out-fitted shop as a pair of fine Arakansas stones for putting an edge on a chisel or plane iron. He found though, that much of the really good tools were no longer made such as the Stanley hand planes which proved to be the inspiration for Veritas. He contracted with some Canadian and US manufacturers to re-engineer some of the fine tools that were no longer available - update them with new technology and then rigourously tested them. These tools became very popular and now Veritas is a vaunted tool maker in it's own right.

I think it was in the mid 80's that Leonard expanded to include tools from his other pass-times and hobbies, the main being garden tools. He was one of the first to import the Gardena Quick-Connect System from Germany. I had discoverd this brand whilst posted to Germany with the CF and became an instant convert. Sorry for the German pages, just haven't found the English ones yet...

Leonard then put all of his considerable energies and talents into finding the very best garden tools available. Again, he had companies manufacture tools that were no longer available.

In the early 90's I think he opened his first US store in upper New York if I remember correctly. He has expanded considerably since then. I last has the opportunity to talk with Leonard about 10 years ago. Conversations with him were always a treat. He is now retired pretty much but spends a lot of time researching and engineering new products all the time. His sons now run the business which is now a very very large concern.

I get their catalogues religously - everything from the Tool Catalogue to the Hardware Catalogue and the Gardening Catalogue.

What a wonderful example of adherance to the quality principle he has provided.
Last edited by Rudi on Sun Jul 17, 2005 8:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

Sun Jul 17, 2005 8:51 am

I have heard of Lee Valley tools before, all with good references. Only problem I see is they require work to use. Kind of dificult for me now.

Sun Jul 17, 2005 5:13 pm

I have one of their hats for working out in the sun. It has a 4 inch brim in front and 8 inches in the back; quite light. Comfortable. But in the words of my excessively honest son. Funny Looking. I recommend to any one who does not have a sun shade on their tractor.

Richard for Little Indy

Sun Jul 17, 2005 6:35 pm

George: Thanks for posting the link.

Rudi: Thanks for fixing up my post. It looks really good with the image and the link to the web page. :D Is there a way I could have made the post look that good myself or does that require some Team Cub magic?

I also really enjoyed reading about Leonard Lee and the history of Lee Valley.

Sun Jul 17, 2005 7:40 pm


Is there a way I could have made the post look that good myself or does that require some Team Cub magic?

Nope, not magic just a little Harry Potter Wizardry :!: :wink: :roll: :lol:

If you read this How To Do Neat Stuff in a Post. you to can do these neat and wonderful things.

Hope the article helps.. play and have some fun.