Make your own wheel hoe at a fraction of the cost of buying a new one.
Wheel hoes are fantastic labor savors in larger gardens and organic farming. Unfortunately, they are still a boutique item and usually cost at least $150. Folks who are handy in the shop can build one from an old child's bicycle very inexpensively.
- Be more productive in the field
- Control weeds without chemicals
- Ability to cultivate more acreage
- Save money over purchasing new
- Re-purpose a bicycle meant for the landfill
- Custom size the unit for your specific situation
Project goals[edit | edit source]
- Inspire new builders of homemade wheel hoes
- Inspire new designs of wheel hoes
Design[edit | edit source]
- Start with a small-sized child's bicycle. Smaller wheels make the hoe a little handier.
- Remove the chain, pedals, crank, front fork, cables, accessories, and just generally pull everything apart.
- We will be using commercially available tools on this project. This hoe will be fitted to accept an oscillating stirrup hoe ($26.99), and a turning plow ($20.99). You can also use a 3 or 5 tine cultivator-style hoe and fabricate a mount for it.
- Cut the main for-and-aft frame tubes out, and cut the two front forks off of the steering column. Leave the back triangle of the frame alone. This part of the bike will form the basis of our wheel hoe.
- Weld or braze the steering column into one of the main frame tubes. Use whichever tube fits up better. We are using all TIG welding on this particular project.
- Align this assembly with the upper part of the rear frame fork assembly and weld it together. Take your time getting the metal clean and a tight fit prior to welding. It is difficult to fill gaps when welding thin-wall tubing.
- Now put the rear wheel back on and re-install the handlebar into the steering column. It's helpful to mount the handlebars so that you have adjustment in both directions.
- Get a feel for a comfortable working height and prop up the unit at that height. Ideally, at this height the lower forks of the rear bike frame are parallel to the ground now.
- Figure out your tool mounting system. For Hoss tools about 6" is the right height for the mounting plate.
- Fabricate the tool mount, install the tool, and go cultivate something!
Costs[edit | edit source]
We have yet to pay for a bike. High quality attachments can be purchased online for $20-$30 each, just search on "wheel hoes" and see what comes up. The oscillating hoes are highly effective in the garden, probably the single most effective tool for your wheel hoe. You could also re-purpose the tool end of a hand-type garden cultivator, or experiment with cultivator teeth. Scrounge around and see what you find.
Next steps[edit | edit source]
I would love to see someone create a no-weld version of this hoe. I am welding this because 1) I can, and 2) I want to play with my TIG welder. But not everyone welds, and it would be useful to be able to build these without welding or brazing.
Conclusions[edit | edit source]
Get out and grow food!
Contact details[edit | edit source]
Charlie Tennessen https://www.facebook.com/charlie.tennessen