Product Type: Spear and Jackson garden tools
Newest Review: ... when you are using it for a long time and it feels quite solid without feeling heavy. The Spear and Jackson logo is engraved onto the hand... more
Trowel and error
Spear & Jackson Elements Hand Trowel
Member Name: ryeb
Spear & Jackson Elements Hand Trowel
Advantages: Low price, solidly built and sturdy, comfortable handle, rust resistant
Disadvantages: Leather hanging loop doesn't last that long
I bought the Spear and Jackson Elements hand trowel about 18 months ago after one of my others disappeared somewhere in the garden that I work in. [It has recently re-surfaced in the compost heap!] I have several trowels in my possession for just that reason. I also need to keep at least one at my allotment, so I have three that I use on a regular basis, apart from those that belong to my workplace. The Spear and Jackson trowel has become my favourite and it is the one I am reviewing today.
WHY I CHOSE THIS TROWEL
I bought my tool from Amazon as it cost only £3.49 there, compared to £4.99 in my local garden centre. I didn't actually pick it up and try it out when I saw it at the latter place which caused my head gardener some alarm. He told me I should have held the towel in my hand and felt how it was balanced, how heavy it was, how comfortable the handle is etc. And you thought all trowels were created equal! Feeling chastened, I hoped my purchase would prove a good one. In it's favour is the fact it is made by the well known garden tool maker Spear and Jackson. It has an hammered finished epoxy coated head which is said to improve resistance to scratching, rust and the affects of alkalines in the soil which can also cause damage to the metal. The handle is made from the traditional ashwood, with a clear lacquer to make it weatherproof. This is obviously essential as I do tend to sometimes leave the trowel outside and this is bound to be when it is wet or when I have left it in damp soil. I like the fact the top of the handle has a hole in it, through which is threaded a leather loop to allow me to hang the tool up neatly when I do bring it inside. As a vegetarian I would rather this wasn't made of leather, but I have in any case replaced it with a different cord now.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS AND USING THE TROWEL
The trowels epoxy finish gives the metal end a bronzed appearance that is rather smart and unusual. This and the wooden handle give it the appearance of a good quality tool. The trowel is wide - wider for example than a specialist transplanting trowel- but this makes it a good general purpose tool for me. Although I have access to the narrow headed trowels at work, I find I rarely need to reach for one. The extra head makes shifting soil quicker and easier and the tapered tip still allows you to use it in more confined spaces - for example when transplanting young plants in a small area. The whole metal part is solid looking, and matches it's appearance in action. There is no bending of the neck if you dig into firmer soil and the join between the handle and the metal parts still feels rock solid. One of my previous favourite trowels bent at the neck after 6 months and this Spear & Jackson one is still going strong after 3 times as long. It is fractionally heavier in the hand compared to a solid plastic handled one, but yes it does feel balanced, and it isn't the heaviest I have used by far. This makes it comfortable on the wrists if you need to use it for extended periods as I do. The handle helps with this too as it is tapered in the centre to allow you to grip it comfortably. I marginally prefer those trowels that have little insets for your fingers to sit in, as I find them slightly more comfortable. However, this trowel is still nice to use. I have just used it to plant 80 shallots and 220 onion sets, as making a small individual planting hole works better in our soil that pressing the sets in directly. [[Less compacting of soil around the roots.] If I can still love a trowel after that, it must be doing something right!
This trowel does not have any measurements markings on it as some do to allow you to use it as a quick guide to tell how far apart you are spacing your transplants or how deep you are making your hole. I did find this feature useful in a previous trowel at first, but I have to say the markings quickly become obliterated by soil as you work so I don't really miss them. In any case, I know that the handle of this trowel is around 15cm long and the whole trowel 30cm so I can use that as a rough planting guide if I need one.
The supplied leather strap started to get a bit tatty after a year, so I snipped it off and replaced it with some plaited cord. This is easy to do as the handle hole to thread it through is nice and wide. Apart from that, the trowel still looks in good condition. There is no sign of weathering on the metal although there are a few scratches on the handle. I do use it a lot though, and you would have to peer closely at the wood to see most of marks.
WOULD I RECOMMEND THIS TROWEL?
I would as it is great quality for the low price that I paid. I suspect it will last me for some time yet, providing I don't loose it in the compost heap of course! At the time bought the trowel from Amazon, it was available for standard free delivery but now it is one of the "add-on" items that are only despatched free with qualifying orders over £20. You can of course pay for it to be delivered on it's own. I do agree with my head gardener that no one trowel will suit everyone as regards weight and size, so it probably is a good idea to try before you buy but this one suits me perfectly. You will also find the Spear and Jackson trowel at garden centres, and through other online horticultural suppliers.
[This review is also on Ciao under the same user name.]
Summary: A low priced but high quality general purpose rtowel
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