Bob Denman is a blacksmith and tool wright, and co-owns Red Pig Garden Tools with his wife, Rita. The company’s array of hand-forged implements are sold on the company website and at its store in a salvaged barn in Boring, Oregon. Denman is an inventor with several patents to his credit. Among his inventions and designs are garden pants with built-in knee pads; forged, solid socket trench clean-out shovels with flat bottoms and turned-up sides; a combination diamond file, screw driver and multi-size wrench for maintaining pruners and lopping shears; a root-cutting saw, a blackberry hoe and a four-sided hoe for thinning vegetable seedlings. Denman’s background includes several years as a product development consultant to Corona Clipper Company, one of America’s largest producers of hand tools for gardening, landscaping and agriculture. A former journalist and copywriter, Denman has had articles published in Horticulture, Fine Gardening, Small Farm Today, and New Pioneer magazines. He is currently working on a comprehensive book on the history, lore and usage of garden tools. Bob and Rita and their tools have been the subject of articles in both national and regional print media, including Sunset, Garden Design, Portrait of Portland, 1859, and the Los Angeles Times. They have been featured on PAX television’s People Places and Plants, DIY Network’s Cool Tools, and Garden Time, a portland area television program. They will be profiled in a 2016/2017 segment of HandCrafted America on the INSP network.
Price is Not the Only Difference. How to Tell Good Garden Tools From Bad. A good garden tool–one that is well designed or evolved and well made–will make your garden work easier and will last for generations, given a modicum of care. Blacksmith and tool wright Bob Denman tells you how to distinguish a good tool from one that isn’t worth picking up. Steel, stainless steel, aluminum, copper, or composite plastic heads? Forged, welded, or cast? Wood, plastic, or fiberglass handles? Single piece or assembly? Light or heavy? Long, short or mid-length handles? Are old tools better than new? Are English tools truly superior? Which features are worth paying for, and which are not? What are the advantages and drawbacks of multi-function tools? What makes a tool efficient? What makes a tool “ergonomic?” Which advertising claims are hogwash? How do you know if a spade or shovel fits your body? How can you modify a tool to fit, especially if you have a physical disability? When are specialty tools worth the expense? The answers to these and similar questions are rarely obvious, sometimes surprising and, as presented by the man from Red Pig Tools, both informative and funny.