This tutorial provides you with step-by-step instructions for making your Planet Whizbang wheel hoe. You can supply your own parts for this project, or you can simply buy the very convenient Hardware Parts Kit that I sell.
These instructions will proceed as though you are working with the metal parts kit. If you choose not to buy the kit, you will find links to other information you need within the tutorial. The parts kit contains all the metal parts needed to assemble your wheel hoe, but it does not include the wheel, the wood handles, or the wood handle spreader dowel.
Information about making (or buying) the handles and spreader dowel can be found in Step 4 of these plans. As for the wheel, I recommend you get item #145126 from Northern Tool. Click Here to get the tire you need from Northern Tool.
The Planet Whizbang metal parts kit is shipped in a flat-rate Priority Mail box. This next picture shows all the metal parts that are contained in the parts kit.
Now I’ll explain to you what each of the wheel hoe parts are. This next picture shows the Hoe Body. The wheel, handles, and oscillating hoe assembly all connect to this hoe body piece. This part is precisely drilled by a machine shop as needed for assembly, as are all the metal parts in this kit.
If you opt not to buy the parts kit and want to make your wheel hoe from scratch, these pictures will serve to give you a good general idea of the parts you need and how they go together. If you want precise specifications drawings for each of the parts, you can purchase an inexpensive specifications package from me. Click HERE and scroll down to the bottom of the page for more details.
This next picture is of the two Tire Arms. One end of these arms bolts to the hoe body and the other end holds the tire (a.k.a., wheel).
Next up is the 8” oscillating Blade Arm. This arm holds the stirrup blade and attaches to the bottom of the hoe body in such a way that it oscillates, which is to say, it pivots back and forth a little bit. This oscillating action makes for more efficient hoeing and is common to all top-quality wheel hoes on the market.
The bend on the blade arm is “just so.” When developing the Planet Whizbang I attempted to make this bend using a bench vise and a hammer. The results were pitiful—far from “just so.” Then I built a wood bending jig and employed a 20-ton hydraulic jack to make the bend (You Can See Pictures Of The Procedure Here). My makeshift bending fixture worked just fine but it was not very efficient. The arms in the metal parts kits are now bent in the Planet Whizbang factory (otherwise known as my home workshop) using a Howron Bender. (From-scratch hoe builders can get the specifics of the bend from the aforementioned Specifications Package)
I also bend the 8” Oscillating Hoe Blades in the Howron...
You can see some bent blades on the workbench in the left side of the picture. That yellow tool is my Howron. And you can see I have a good supply of blade arms bent (those are for the first production run of 250 hoes).
One blade is included in the parts kit. The blade is tempered spring steel, which means it is very hard and durable. Both edges of the blade are chamfer-ground. “Chamfer-ground” means beveled but not sharp. A sharp blade might hurt someone and I don’t want that. The chamfer is perfectly adequate. And the blade is sharpened on both sides because, with the oscillating action, and the push-pull hoeing motion, both edges are slicing into the earth. Here’s a close-up picture of the sharpened blade:
I don’t know exactly how many miles of hoeing you’ll get from these blades, but one of them should last you for years. They can be re-sharpened as needed with a file. If you ever need another blade, or you want to have a spare on hand, or you are making your hoe from scratch and need a blade for it, you can Purchase Individual Hoe Blades.
The final hoe part is the Oscillating Clamp. Here’s a picture:
The oscillating clamp is a little part that does an important job. It holds the hoe blade assembly to the underside of the hoe body, and it allows the arm to pivot back and forth (oscillate).
Then there are all the bolts and nuts and washers that you’ll need to assemble the hoe. All this hardware comes packaged in a plastic bag which is stored in the hoe body for shipping. Here is a list of the exact parts you’ll find in the hardware bag. If you are building your hoe from scratch, this is the hardware you’ll need to get.
4 @ 1/2” Flat Washer
2 @ 3/8” Flat Washer
1 @ 1/2” Lock Washer
8 @ 3/8” Lock Washer
4 @ 1/4” Lock Washer
3 @ 1/2” Hex Nut
8 @ 3/8” Hex Nut
4 @ 1/4” Hex Nut
2 @ 2-1/2” x 3/8” Hex-Head Bolt
2 @ 2” x 3/8” Hex-Head Bolt
4 @ 1-1/4” x 3/8” Hex-Head Bolt
1 @ 1/2” x 4” Hex-head Bolt (full thread)
20 @ 1-1/2” x 3/8” Fender Washer
By the way, this next picture shows my custom made hardware packaging table. There is an outline of each washer, nut and bolt on the table. Once the outlines are filled, the board tips up so all the pieces slide into a plastic bag.
Here is a sneak-peek preview picture that shows what you end up with when all the metal parts in the kit are loosely assembled.
And, finally, each parts kit also includes Planet Whizbang Handle Patterns.
These heavy-paper patterns provide you with a template for the tried-and-true Planet Jr. pistol-grip handle. Simply cut around the pattern with scissors, place it on your handle wood and trace the pistol-grip outline.
Okay, now that you have been introduced to the hoe parts, we can get to work.... Click Here To Go to Step 2.