Sidewalk Edger Restoration


There's something to be said about that recently-fashionable idiom, "I was today years old when I learned (insert seemingly obvious or surprising piece of knowledge)."  About a week ago I was saying just that...I was today years old when I learned that a sidewalk edger wasn't some in-the-distant-past novelty tool.  And while the one I want to talk about today may not be ancient, these edgers are readily available online - essentially unchanged from mine!  Let's get into it...

While we’d all like to think that we’re generally knowledgeable, sometimes life throws a curveball at us. When you least expect it, you hear something that you can’t believe you didn’t know before, something you didn’t know until you were today years old. You know what they say—you learn something new every day!

For example: “I was #todayyearsold when I learned…’this little piggy went to market’ does NOT mean he went grocery shopping. Floored.” —via (Reader's Digest)

The Heck is an Edger? 

I'm glad you asked!  This little rotary edger has an 18-pointed blade attached to a wheel.  On the outside of the blade is a kind of baffle that constitutes a self-sharpener to keep the cutting edges, well you guessed it - sharp! All attached to what amounts to a hoe handle.

This edger is good for trimming along the sidewalk and driveway.  Basically you just put the wheel on the sidewalk with the blade hanging along the side of the sidewalk, then roll back and forth and it trims the grass at the edge of the sidewalk.  I guess it's all in the name! 

Union Fork and Hoe Co. 

The Union Fork & Hoe Company started in 1907 after the United States Hoe & Tool Company and the Continental Tool Company merged.  Its industry was lawn and garden tools and its headquarters remained in Columbus, Ohio.  The company was acquired by the Vision Hardware Group in 1986, and the Union Fork & Hoe Company moniker went extinct in 1993.

A very close look at the handle of the edger revealed it had been made by the Union Fork and Hoe Company out of Columbus, Ohio.

The logo on the handle looked like the "U" in this picture:

Which in turn helped to date this tool from somewhere between 1963 and 1993.  Which means this tool isn't real old,  but it's kinda old school!

The Get and The Why 

This edger came into the hands of 173 in one of two ways:
  • It was here at the house when we got 'er and was left by the Mosher's
  • One of the neighbors saw me on me knees edging the sidewalk with shears and clippers and "loaned" it to me a bunch of years ago
Here's the clippers and shears I was using to edge the sidewalks back in the day. You know, the day back when I could crawl around on my knees, squeezing the shears for an hour or two and still get up!

Like I said, one way or the other, there seems to be some debate on the subject. Nonetheless, this edger came to 173 and has stood in a corner of the basement for years.  Well, a couple weeks ago I took a straight shovel to the edges and got them all cleaned up and looking crisp.  

A few days later I noticed that the relentless march of nature had some blades of grass already reaching across the frontier and I got to thinking - what's the best way to maintain those edges?  Obviously, at least to my knees, those hand clippers were rather out of the question. And the electric trimmer would run through a spool of string in no time.  Then I remember the edger!

A Quick Cleanup

Like I said, this tool has sitting in a basement corner for years, and it wasn't in brand new shape back then.  Here's a look at the cutting end of the edger, with a little surface rust and worn paint...

A few selected posts about the yards here at 173:
173 in Bloom: The Back Yard - Sep 2018
The Gardens at 173:  An Impressionist Retrospective - July 2016
∙ The North Side:  A Summer-Long Project - Sep 2015
Spring is in the Air! - Apr 2012
Posts about the flowers here at 173

Clearly, this is a very simple tool.  Eleven parts in all, six of them screws, a bolt and a handle.  

After cleaning up that surface rust, I decided to paint the wheel hub.

After the paint dried, and the surface rust was removed from all the parts, well - this tool was done!  Except for one thing - the handle.

The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul. —Alfred Austin

The handle's a handle.  This is true, but it's a beautiful handle.  Some kind of hardwood in excellent shape, and was just a little dirty.  With just a little elbow grease, the handle began to show its true character.  Here you can see the handle in the midst of being cleaned...

And after just two coats of boiled linseed oil, just take a look at the color!

Here's a look with the edger reassembled - 

Its Natural Habitat

And just like that - the edger was done, and I ran it along a stretch of sidewalk.  I love it!  Smooth operation and gets the job done!  And now, the edger has found its natural habitat in the tool corral in the shed!

And a final look!

Hey - thanks for stopping by - see ya' next time!
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