Introduction: Gardening Tool: the Ho-Mi
1. able to adapt or be adapted to many different functions or activities. "a versatile gardening tool" synonyms:adaptable, flexible, all-around, multifaceted, multitalented, resourceful;adjustable, multipurpose, all-purpose, handy
The Ho-Mi gardening tool translates in Korean to "little ground spear". They were first made in Korea during the Bronze Age. The tool has been in use for five thousand years! It's hard to imagine a better example of biomimicry. Try to think of an organism that is considered an efficient digger. I bet they have an appendage that can be compared to the head of a Ho-Mi. The miniature plow design makes it perfect for opening the soil for seeding or setting out transplants, for weeding and for planting bulbs. The unique shape allows you to do many tasks (hilling, digging, weeding, and planting) with only one tool. The tool also lessens the strain on your wrists because the tool is pulled through the earth vs. a stabbing motion used with a trowel. This Instructable documents how I recreated this versatile gardening tool with materials I had laying around.
Step 1: Materials
Scrap Sheet Steel: 12 -14 gauge
Angle Grinder with cutting, grinding, and polishing wheels.
Welder and welding safety gear
Old broom handle or tool handle
Drill with wood bits
Exterior Spray Paint to prevent rusting
Step 2: Raw Materials
Gather your scrap metal. This metal came from the hardware used to hang VCR's beneath the T.V.'s at the school where I teach. When the VCR became obsolete, so did the mounting brackets.
I had a broom with the whiskers all bent and broken. I recycled the handle from that broom for the handle of the Ho Mi.
The tang, which connects the plow part of the Ho Mi to the handle, was made from a bent eye bolt I found laying around.
Step 3: Draw Your Template
The Ho Mi has a shape like a heart with one side sliced off. The dimensions here don't have to be exact, but it's important to work within the parameters of your materials. First, sketch a design on paper. Next, trace the paper template onto the scrap metal. The same template can be used to make a left handed or right handed Ho-Mi by simply flipping the paper.
Step 4: Cut and Sharpen the Metal
First, use an angle grinder and rough cut the template you made on the sheet metal.
Next, using a grinding / polishing wheel, clean up your lines.
Step 5: Sharpen Your Ho-Mi
Use a polishing wheel and belt sander to sharpen the straight edge of the Ho-Mi. Turn the plow in the vice, clamp into place and sharpen the curved edge of the plow.
Step 6: Bend the Metal
The plate needs more of a plow shape. To get the correct shape, bang the heck out of the middle with a hammer.P
I also increased the curvature by clamping the pointed end in the bench vice and pulling just a little. Then I would move the metal down, clamp and repeat.
Finally, take the part of the heart that was sliced off (away from the pointed end) and clamp it in the vice. Bend the metal to an approximately 90 degree angle. This part of the plow that will attach to the tang.
Step 7: Weld the Plow to the Tang
The tang could be made of just about any thread-less metal rod. I had a bent eye bolt laying around so I repurposed it. The angle of the Ho-Mi head is important.
First, cut the eye of the eye bolt. Check the picture for for a close up. I forgot to document this step with a photo so I edited the photo to look like it did, before I welded it, to the plow.
The black paint on the plow had to be removed so the weld would have good contact points.
Step 8: Prepare Your Handle
If I didn't already have a perfectly good handle attached to a broken broom head, I would have attempted to turn my own handle on a lathe. But, then I'd still have a perfectly good broom handle attached to a broken broom in the corner of my classroom. The lathe can wait.
First, cut the handle to a good length. 15"-18" is about right for a short handled version and 60" for a long handled version.
Second, mark the center.
Third, starting with the smallest drill bit and working up in diameter, drill a hole just large enough for the tang. It's important that when you start with the smallest drill bit, your hole runs directly down the center and parallel with the handle. Don't try to force the tang into a hole that's too small because you run a high risk of splitting the handle.
This hole ended up being about 3 inches deep (the deepest I could make it with the drill bit I had)
Step 9: Protect Your Ho-Mi
Use an exterior, anti-rust spray paint to ensure your tool has a long life. Make sure to add a few coats.
Step 10: Attach the Tang and Handle
Using epoxy resin, mix well and pour into the hole in the handle. Insert the tang and allow the epoxy to cure.
Step 11: Balance Your Ho-Mi
You might notice from the pictures that the tang is bent as it exits the handle. To balance the Ho-Mi, the handle should be pointing towards the "X" as shown in the picture.
Test out your Ho-Mi. Fall in love with your Ho-Mi! Thanks for reading to the end. If you have any questions or suggestions, please comment!