Step 5: Assemble The Hoe

In the previous steps you have acquired the metal parts for your wheel hoe, spray painted them, and made (or purchased) your handles and wood dowel handle spreader. You should have also purchased a $15 tire from Northern Tool (Here’s The Link To The Tire You Need). Now I’m going to show you how to put this thing together. This is the fun part. It’s also real easy to do. Just take it a step at a time....

Attach The Wheel To The Tire Arms
Place the 1/2” axle bolt through one tire arm. Slide a 1/2” flat washer over the bolt, up to the arm. Thread a 1/2” nut down tight to the washer. Then put another 1/2” flat washer down over the bolt. your assembly, thus far, will look like this;

Slide the wheel over the bolt, then another 1/2” flat washer, and then another 1/2” nut. Snug the nut down. But do not tighten it so much that it interferes with the bearings in the wheel hub. Make sure the tire spins freely. Here’s a picture of how your assembly will look at this point.

Put another 1/2” flat washer over the axle bolt, then the other tire arm. And this is what you’ll have:

Put a 1/2” lock washer on the bolt and finish the assembly with a 1/2” nut, snugged down tight.

Here is a picture of the wheel connected to the tire arms:

Attach The Wheel Assembly To The Hoe Body
Use two 3/8” x 1-1/4” bolts to attach the tire arms to the hoe body, as shown in this picture:

The bolts are secured inside the hoe body with a lock washer and a nut, as shown in this next picture:

You do not put a bolt through the other hole in the tire arms.... yet.

Bolt The Blade To The Blade Arm
Use the 1/4” by 5/8” bolts with lock washers and nuts to attach the hoe blade to the hoe arm.

Here’s what this finished assembly will look like:

Attach The Blade Assembly To The Hoe Body
The blade assembly attaches to the bottom of the hoe body with the oscillator clamp. This first picture shows the parts needed and the blade assembly in position for bolting.

And here is a picture of the oscillator clamp bolted into place.

Those bolts are 3/8” by 1-1/4”. Don’t neglect to put the 3/8” flat washers under the heads of the bolts. Put lock washers and nuts on the bolts from inside the hoe body, as this next picture shows.

Now here is a close-up picture of the oscillator clamp in place.

As you can see, the clamp piece does not fit down tight against the blade arm. And the holes in the blade arm are 1/2” diameter instead of 3/8” (the diameter of the clamp bolts). This renders a looseness in the assembly and is what gives the blade a range of movement, which is the oscillating action that makes for efficient hoeing. These next pictures show the extent of the range of movement:

Attach The Handles
The handles are first bolted to the body of the wheel hoe with a 3/8” by 2” bolt through the bottom hole in the handle, as shown in this next picture:

Make sure you place one 3/8” x 1-1/2” fender washer under the head of the bolt. Place a lockwasher and nut on the bolt inside the hoe body as shown in this next picture.

Important: Notice that the lockwasher and nut are on the end of the bolt and not tightened down. Do not tighten this nut yet!

Now, in the upper bolt hole in the handles, you are going to use the 3/8” x 2-1/2” bolts. Put a fender washer under the heads, as was done on the lower bolt. Then, between the handle and the hoe body, place a stack of eight fender washers, as shown in this photo.

Position the handle and bolt over the stack of washers and slide the bolt down through. Place a lockwasher and nut on the end of the bolt inside the hoe body, as shown in this next picture: As with the lower handle bolt, don’t tighten the nut on this upper handle bolt... yet.

Attach the other handle on the other side the same way. Those eight washers serve to angle the handles. The reason you do not tighten the handle bolts now is that you want to first insert the handle spreader dowel.

Install The Handle Spreader Dowel
The following pictures show how the spreader dowel fits into the handles. You will notice that the dowel is finished to match the handles, but the mortise end is not finished. That is not a good thing. You should make sure to apply some sort of wood preservative to the tenon ends when you make your wheel hoe.

No glue, screws, or other fasteners are used to secure the spreader dowel. Once it is in place, and the handle bolts in the body are tightened down, the spreader dowel is not going anywhere.

Tighten The Handle Bolts
With the spreader dowel in place, you can go back to those handle bolts and tighten the nuts down on the lock washers. Your handle-to-body assembly will look like this:

You’ve made your own Planet Whizbang Wheel Hoe. And it sure is a beauty!