Tool Repairs

Typical re-handling charges:

(to supply and fit; mostly ash, hickory or beech, as appropriate to use)

Spades, forks etc. metal yoke YD & T:    £35
Spades, forks etc. trad. wooden YD:    £39
Trowels, hand forks, small gardening:    £14
Hay forks, pitch forks, cromes/drags:    £25
Rakes, hoes, spuds, weeders ~54":    £17
Slashers, staff hooks, bank scythes:    £27
Billhooks, grass hooks, browse hooks:    £25
Drawknives, shaves, per handle, :    £17
Socketed and Yorkshire billhooks:    £32
Axes with handle of 24" and over:    £35
English felling axes, with tall eye ~4":    £45
Hatchets, up to 24" handle:    £22
Special hedger's short, strong axe handle (22"-24"):   £40
Offset/swayed RH side axe handle:    £45
Hammers (carpenters, engineers, lump):   £12
Sledge hammers, mauls, mells, beetles:    £25
Mattocks, picks, diggers etc.:    £24
Hand turned or custom (copied) handles, from:   £26
To extend tangs on billhooks, drawknives etc.:    £7 per tang

To arrange tool repairs contact me.

These prices will apply to most re-handling jobs, so unless something unusual is required, please accept these prices as a quote or close estimate. I anticipate that tools will probably arrive with broken handles stubs still in place, customers do not need to remove old handles. Things that can cost a little bit more than standard handle replacement are welded and forged repairs to tools (i.e. tools with broken or cracked metalwork) and making or sourcing special handles.

Rust removal, burr removal and sharpening are available from £6.00 per tool, depending on condition. No miracles, but the look and feel of rusty items can usually be much improved.

Return postage and packing are from £5 for small, non bladed tools; forks and spades will cost about £16 to pack and return, provided they are under 1.1m long when packed.

image of spade before and after repair

Much of my re-handling work is on family heirloom tools, sometimes owned by 3 generations, or tools that tradesmen rely upon for their work, and can't easily replace. If you have a cherished tool that is showing signs of wear and tear you may want to consider having it reconditioned. The photos above show an Elwell border spade before and after reconditioning. This tool (about 50 years old) was well worth saving. The cost was about the same as buying a new but inferior item.

My tool reconditioning activities have featured in Reclaim Magazine (downloads as pdf) - article reproduced with their kind permission.

image of handle types

Pictured above, digging tool handle options are, from the left: wood YD, metal YD, shaped crutch T.
Wood YD type are the most popular, and have a traditional appearance to suit older tools. Metal YD handles are often used for contractors tools, and perhaps tolerate being left out in weather a bit better. Crutch T handles are also fairly traditional, and are commonly fitted to army surplus shovels and rabitting spades. Please note that I don't fit or repair plastic handles, I'll only replace fork and spade handles with the types shown above, and of course long straight ash handles for dung forks, pitchforks etc.
To arrange tool repairs contact me.

An example of customer feedback:-

"Hi Ian, Spade arrived yesterday afternoon. I can’t tell you how pleased I am with the result of your work. (And to think I almost put the Old Boy in the skip.) If I hear of anyone in the need of a tool refurbishment specialist, I will most certainly be steering them in your direction. Thank you so much for your time and efforts Ian.
Much Appreciated."
DB, East Riding, Yorks

image of forging tang

Sometimes repairs to the tang or socket of a tool may be needed. Here the tang of a grasshook is being straightened and drawn down (lengthened) at red heat.

image of re-handled billhook

I will always save an old handle if possible - i.e. if it is safe and worthwhile to do so. If not, I'll fit a commercially produced replacement handle that is a good match. Some old tools deserve a hand made handle, as shown above. This was made to fit a Kent pattern billhook, because no mass produced replacement was available. It takes a bit of time and experience to get this right, however the end product tends to be worth the effort.

image of derelict plough

This photo shows the copying of a "T" handle for a bulb planter, with the long turned grip attached to the stem by a pegged mortice and tennon joint.

image of turning a replacement handle

Turning a new trowel handle on a Victorian treadle lathe - I did say I was a luddite!

Harrison Yorkshire billhook before restoration...

...and after, with a new handmade ash handle.

image of derelict plough

I'm willing to restore more unusual items, like this horse plough.

image of restored plough

... ready for work once again.

image of re-handled cleaver

This is a cleaver that I re-handled for Mr Walton at The Outwood Butchers. No modern replacement would feel right for day in, day out use.

To enquire about tool repairs contact me.

I've run courses on tool maintenance and sharpening for various people: Surrey & Sussex Wildlife Trusts, National Trust Nymans woodland volunteers, the Garden House in Brighton, and for the 100w artist's collective.

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© Ian Swain 2019