GARDEN TIP: Fixing A Pick

Post last updated: June 3rd, 2017

I think gardeners must have taken up pick mattocks after the gold rush went bust. Probably  ten cents on the dollar after the bust, some traveling snake oil vendor loaded up his caravan with them and sold them to unsuspecting homesteaders. I say that because the head of the thing is heavy duty forged steel weighing in at 2.5 to 3 pounds. Heave that up in the air a few times and you are going to feel it the next day.

Still, I’m not one to turn down garden goodies. A friend recently cleaned out her garage and the pick mattock was among the goodies transferred to me. The head was loose, sliding up and down the handle and she said to me, “Maybe your Dad can fix this.” I mentally grunted because I couldn’t imagine how he would fix it. Yet he did in less than a minute. To my horror, he slammed the handle on the floor of the concrete garage hard enough to send me vibrating across the floor like a cartoon character. He then handed it to me to marvel that the head was now securely fastened to the end of the wooden handle. Seeing my stupid look of wonderment, he explained that the handle was tapered and the pick mattock merely needed to be reseated. And that, gardening fans, is how you fix a pick mattock.

I handed it back to him to sharpen but that task is more involved and I found the thing this morning gathering dust in a corner of the garage. For now, that’s okay. I’m really not into the idea of that much exercise.

8 thoughts on “GARDEN TIP: Fixing A Pick”

  1. He missed a coupla steps…

    After seating the head on the handle, soak in water, possibly consider hammering in a tack or two to prevent the head from coming unseated while in use. Speaking from personal experience, it’s no fun to have the head slide back down the handle and catching bits of your fingers between the handle and the steel while you’re digging out catbriars.

    You’ve got an heirloom! Those old ones were well made… the new ones don’t have that extra rib in the middle, and I’ve had them bend during use, and become worthless.

    Sharpen? Are you kidding? Just go out and dig in the sand, the sand will sharpen it fine.

    1. Okay Stone, I get the part about hammering in a tack or two. Makes good sense. But WHY soak the handle in water? Even if that kept the pick in place, it would only be momentary until the handle dried out again. The tacks make more sense. I LIKE heirlooms — most were built in the USA!!!

    1. Thanks, Jack. I’ve been told that before — “you have a way with words” — and right behind it comes the snickering like they think I’m crazy. I’m finally comfortable with being crazy. — Mizz Chairman of the Garden

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