Monday, 4 June 2012

Homo Habilis: The Spanish Azada and Stefan's Claw (German)



When I was on holiday in Spain I saw the Azada in a hardware shop. I got two of them and gave one to Joe the Gardener. That was 15 years ago and it's still going strong. Its main purpose is for general weeding and light cultivation of borders before planting. It has a shortish handle and a thin sharp head and can hack out the clumps of scutch/couch grass which are normally tough to extract. The spear shaped back draws a nice drill.

You've never seen Stefan's Claw before because it is the work of a German smith/woodworker/mason/gardener who lived in the area for about 10 years and built himself a little forge in his back garden. The nearest thing in the catalogues that I have seen like it is the Cobrahead hoe. Whether he was inspired by that design or not I don't know but I have the feeling that the Claw is more ergonomic in that the natural chopping vertical motion turns into a curve at ground level to whisk away a weed in tight situations like an onion bed. It can also be used like a mini-pickaxe to cultivate or scratch a hole for planting. He made several sizes of them and Joe passed the smallest on to me. Stefan welded a piece of hard steel into the underside of the tip so it stays sharp. Nice tool.

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