Handle Lengths For Different Folks
I stand 5’ 9-1/2” tall with my work boots on. The picture above is of me holding a Whizbang wheel hoe with handles made according to the specifications given on this web site (See Step 4). The working height of the pistol-grip handles is about 39" off the ground. Note that my hands are gripping the hoe handles at the hip-to-waist level of my body. This is a comfortable working height for most people. Up to a couple inches above the waist is also a comfortable working height. If you have to grasp the handles much below your hips, it is not comfortable of efficient.
I think of myself as near the top end for an average man’s height, and my wife is probably average height for a woman. She is 5’5” (with her sneakers on). The same wheel hoe is also convenient for her to hold and operate.
If you are somewhat average like us, I think you will find that the 52-1/2" handle length that I recommend on this web site will work just fine for you. If you are below or above average (in height), you may need to modify the length of the hoe handles to accommodate your unique stature.
You can shorten the handles by simply cutting off the bottom end as needed and re-drilling the two 3/8” bolt holes in the wood.
To make the handles longer you’ll need a handle stretcher, which is like a board stretcher, but it’s made specifically for wood handles. Unfortunately, handle stretchers are hard to come by these days (but don’t let that stop you from asking around). In the event that you do not find a handle stretcher, you’ll just have to cut out some new handles.
Generally speaking, for every 3-1/2” you add to the length of the handle, it will give you 1-7/8” more of height off the ground. So if you make the handle 7” longer, the handle will be 3-3/4” higher. And so on.
Those measurements will, of course, also work in reverse when making the handles shorter.
I don’t think it is possible to come up with a hard and fast rule that provides an ideal handle length that will “fit” every person according to their height. That’s because people are proportioned differently. Some have longer legs and shorter torsos, and vice-versa. And the length of a person’s arms must figure into the equation too. This sort of thing could get real complicated.
But it doesn’t have to be complicated....
If you are around my height or shorter, just make the handles to the specified length in these plans. If they prove to be too long for you, shorten them. If you are much taller than me, I suggest you make your hoe handles a little longer to start.
If you do opt too make the handles longer, there is no need to change the placement of the wood dowel spreader hole. Keep it at 42-1/2” from the bottom end of the handles.
The following picture is of 15-year-old son with the Planet Whizbang. Teenagers can use it too!
Posted by Herrick Kimball