Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Gardner And His Tools

Whilst attending a vendor's fair I had the good fortune of meeting Bob Denman, tool man extraordinaire. Bob and his wife Rita Denman own and operate Red Pig Garden Tools. Bob is a master Blacksmith and what he doesn't know about tools would not be worth mentioning.

Bob and Rita purchased the wood from old barns that had to be demolished and are building this new Barn which will house the blacksmith shop
Years ago he retired from a tool manufacturing company in Southern California, moved here to Oregon settling on a little farm in Boring Oregon (yes it is a city). He spent years being told how tools needed to be manufactured for the home gardener even though he felt that these tools were of poor standard. So after settling in Boring he opened up Red Pig and offered tools designed to last as heirloom tools.

The first barn they built from recycled barns became the store which also has a second story loft that is used for the classes that Bob and Rita conduct on all aspects of gardening and land management.
 All of the tools that have the Red Pig label on them are of original design and are manufactured right there on the Denman property.

My goal is have at least one of every original design

Some shots of the tools I have purchased over the last few years.
The large scoop on the left was wisely purchased when my greenhouse was built and it made quick work of the endless loads of pea gravel that made the greenhouse floor. The center is a sodding spade that he recreated for me using an ancient and much loved one that has a nasty crack in the metal.
This is the wrack from the upper photo. We have a giant Sequoia that drops debris which is extremely difficult to remove from the lawn, but with this purchase the work is easy and as you can see each of the tines are replaceable.
The spade, also one of my very favorites was re-worked by Bob and he fitted a proper handle at the correct length for my height. As he explained when one pushes the blade into the soil the tip of the handle just reach your breast bone.
The three pronged tiller second from the left was one I purchased elsewhere and Bob put a longer handle making it a tool that I use every day without back pain. The large two pronged tiller is an original design that I purchased recently and use it to pull yard debris out of my eight foot trailer at the recycling center. The thatching rake on the right was a very sad looking tool that my DIL purchased at a yard sale, I gave it to Bob who not only put a proper handle on it but sharped and straightened the teeth and put on a nice coat of paint. 
I purchased the claw for MeMa who says weeding among the perennials is so much easier. The center tiller I use in the greenhouse to break up peat when making potting soil. The bottom tool is absolutely imperative when trying to remove those pesky weeds and clumps of what ever that grows along the street curb.
As always I had a wonderful visit and made to feel one of the family. Bob is a fountain of information which he gives freely while I sit on a stool in his temporary "Smithy" shop watching him work his magic on a customised tool to add to my collection. A proper tool for every job!


  1. What a cool place! Looks like they have some really good tools there!

  2. What a great place! I've always like GOOD tools...and this man sounds like a tool man extraordinary. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I don't like the new Blogger design. I'm sorry I missed this post, but equally happy that I found it.
    Thanks for all this wonderful information!