Frequently Asked Questions - FAQ about Valley Oak Tools
FAQ - Wheel Hoe Questions
Do you still sell the rubber-tire wheel hoe?
We continue to offer replacement parts to owners of our rubber tire wheel hoes, but we no longer offer the rubber tire option on new wheel hoes.
The steel wheel has a stainless steel axle, oil impregnated bronze bearings, and doesn't deteriorate in the sun.
We generally recommend the 8" Blade Assembly for all-round usefulness. You can substitute the 5" for the same price, or get the larger sizes (10", 12", 14", 16", or 18") for an additional $15.00. We also like the 8" Tall, which can cut deeper if needed, and if used shallow, throws a little less soil over smaller seedlings so you can get closer to the row of plants. The larger-size blades are great for clearing large swaths of vegetation in dry conditions. But remember, the larger blades will require more effort to operate.
What is the difference between the 8” Blade Assembly and the 8” Tall Blade Assembly?
The 8" Tall blade is 2" taller, so taller weeds can pass through without clogging the blade assembly. It was originally made at the request of a farmer who wanted to cultivate very close to very small carrot seedlings without knocking dirt on them as much as was happening with the blade shank of the standard blade digging into the dirt. It works as well as the 8" standard for just about everything. It also can cut deeper to get under the roots of larger weeds. If you are considering a package, and want to get a larger blade assembly plus the 8" tall instead of the 8" standard, you can do that for a few dollars more.
What size blades do you recommend for the Combination Packages?
When you purchase a combination package you will receive your choice of two Blade Assemblies. The 5”, 8”, or 8” Tall are excellent choices for the first blade. For the second, we like using the 12" for 1.5' row spacing. You may need to make two passes to get as close as possible when the plants are small. And when they get bigger, the 12" will still get between them while even the 14" won't. You can get within about one inch of the small plants. And if the plants are fairly far apart in the row, you can even weave into the row between plants. We do not recommend buying both the 8” and the 8” Tall, as they are very similar.
Can your Wheel Hoe be "offset" so that you don't have to walk in the row you are cultivating?
The Valley Oak Wheel Hoe can be offset by loosening the two bolts that attach the chassis to the yoke. The yoke has a slot that allows you to pivot the handles to either side.
How to offset Wheel Hoe handles: Take two 9/16" wrenches and loosen the two bolts that attach the tool bar to the chassis. The rear bolt is in a slotted hole, so you can pivot the handles relative to the chassis, to either the right or the left, and then re-tighten. It works better to rotate the bolt and leave the nut stationary when you loosen it. That way the lock washer doesn't dig into the nut and make a bur. The other choice is to just walk to the side with the handles still pointed straight ahead. This way you can work on either side of a row without changing the offset to left or right. With the 8" or 5" blade assembly we find this very easy to do.
FAQ - Broadfork Questions:
What are the advantages of your Broadfork?
The Valley Oak Broadfork is a well-balanced tool that will loosen garden soil to a depth of 12". It has 1/4" thick tempered-steel tines, which are stiff and strong under stress. Our tines are 12" long with a slight angle for ease of use.
I have what is called black gumbo soil. It is like concrete when dry. Will the broadfork handle this type of soil?
Our broadfork will handle heavy clay. The most important thing is to work the ground when the moisture content is right. Too dry is like concrete, and too wet is gooey. If your soil is too dry, you may want to sprinkle it and check it daily with a shovel. And with a clay soil, the addition of gypsum may improve the texture dramatically.
Do you still sell wood handle Broadforks?
We have many satisfied owners of our wood handled broadforks. However, the cost and difficulty of turning each handle to a precise dimension on the lathe have prompted us to switch entirely to the lightweight, super strong chromoly steel handles. We will continue to stock replacement wood handles.
How long are the handles on your Broadfork?
The handles are 48” long. This height works quite well for people of all sizes.
FAQ - Other Questions
Why does the tool on your product page looks different than the one I saw in another photo or video?
Our Broadforks, Wheel Hoes, and Wheel Hoe Attachments are constantly evolving as we discover ways in improve strength, durability, and easy of use. Many photos of older designs are still out there, and most of those older Broadforks and Wheel Hoes are still in use today.
I live near your Chico, California office and would like purchase one of your tools. Can I pick it up there?
Yes. Please contact us and we will be happy to make an appointment with you to visit us.
I live outside the United States. Can you ship to this country?
Probably, but shipping rates will be high. Please contact us with your specific address and the tools you'd like to purchase. We can calculate the shipping costs and share them with you before you decide to make the purchase. We ship to Canada, but the cost is paid by the buyer. If you can pick it up from a friend in the US, we ship there for free.