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FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Absolutely! Armadillo garden tools are both beautiful and functional.

Consider them heirlooms to be enjoyed for generations to come.

These unique implements are designed to work hard and perform better than the typical garden tool you find at the local hardware store or garden center. Each unique tool has been sculpted and hand-crafted to enhance your gardening experience.

We suspect one day, in the distant future your great grandchildren will enjoy them too!

Well, I want to ask, “why aren’t there more tools available for avid gardeners?”

Man’s ability to create tools goes back thousands of years. Yet, when it comes to garden tools it seems like we’ve been stuck in limbo with the same handful of tools that my Great Grandparents used.

There are scant few, new gardening tools out there other than electrified edgers, hedge trimmers, gasoline weed-eaters and leaf-blowers, and cumbersome, complicated gadgets, transforming some of our more meditative, zen-like gardening routines into noisy, obnoxious chores.

Are you, any of your friends, or family an artist, a chef, woodworker, or musician? Gardening, like cooking and painting, is an art! They all require creativity and are made easier and more pleasurable with the appropriate set of implements.

I’ll wager that you have more variety in your kitchen knives, paint brushes, or guitar pics than you have with your garden tools. It’s also likely your husband, mother or daughter will select a different garden tool than you to perform the same job. If your garden is essentially all in containers, your choice of tools will be quite different than gardening in native soil on your back lot.

Selecting the proper tool is a matter of personal preference, aesthetic, and the physical effort you intend or are willing and able to put into the task at hand.

Soil texture, density, and make-up also vary from garden to garden, town to town, country to country, all affecting how you work or toil in the soil!

This is why we have created such a wide variety of tools.

And my last question…”Who said that utilitarian tools can’t be beautiful?”

Each of our tools’ unique design is sculpted and engineered to improve your dexterity and reduce the stress in your back, arms, and hands as you tackle the multitude of tasks you encounter while gardening.

I also insist that each tool has an aesthetic to be admired and consistent with the Armadillo Brand.

Regardless where you live or the size of your plot, we have tools that will make your gardening experience easier and more gratifying!

Armadillo garden tools are “out of this world” … but, we assure you they’re made right here on planet earth!

All of our fabrication takes place in numerous artisan’s shops throughout Mexico.

The initial concept for Armadillo Garden Tools was conceived in Costa Rica, in 2015. The early developmental stages and prototyping began there, but to find craftsmen capable of producing them became a challenge and an adventure.  I traveled throughout Central America and north to the Mid-west & Southwestern United States. I investigated production in the US, Central America, Western Europe, and China and I’ve sourced lumber from Peru to Portland.  That’s both Portland, Oregon and Maine.

In 2020, while on a foundry visit in Mexico City, the global pandemic hit, lock-downs began and it became clear I was being guided to establish our headquarters for fabricating in Mexico.  We also discovered we have all the raw materials and talented craftspeople that we need within an arms reach.

There are 132 Pueblos Mágicos (Magical Towns), whose attractions generate great admiration among both domestic and foreign visitors from all around the world.  Many of these towns are known for a specific craft or tradition and have a rich cultural history.

The journey has been a long, circuitous adventure and education and I’ve made many wonderful friends along the way.

We are grateful for the relationships we’ve developed and the artisans we now have the pleasure of working with. These wise and skilled traditional artisans have helped bring Armadillo Garden Tools to fruition so we can now offer these extraordinary products to you, our fellow passionate gardeners, regardless of what country or continent your garden grows.

Like any other tools you are fond of, caring for your tools will prolong the life-span and beauty of these tools.

We have a “care kit” being developed now in our workshop that will soon be available.

In the meantime, here’s how to keep your garden tools looking beautiful.

A quick note: Bronze and wood will age naturally just like the artifacts you see in museums around the world. Bronze will tarnish and patina to various colors depending on climate, elevation, and the area you live. Many people prefer to let their tools patina naturally and do not bother to polish it back to a brilliant finish.

The wood handles will also age and patina with use in the garden, mixing with the oils in your hands, the soil, and the constant wet-dry environment. Just like your teak patio furniture or the wood details on your boat, you can choose to keep your wood handles looking new, or allow them to age with the elements and time.

When you’ve finished gardening for the day we suggest you use a brush to remove the mud and debris, hose it off or rinse in your utility sink, and let it dry.

A generous coat of oil once or twice throughout the year will also keep it lasting for generations.

The tool heads are cast in bronze and the handles are carved in mesquite. 

(Sculpted bronze tool heads)
We use the lost-wax, investment casting process for our tool heads and cast them in Bronze. The same method used by our ancient ancestors.

5000 to 6000 years ago the ancient civilizations throughout the Mediterranean are believed to have invented the lost-wax method of casting and mixing various metals or minerals in molten form. Bronze became the metal of choice for arms to protect ones home or village and for royal, sacred, and decorative objects, including coins. Bronze is a copper-based alloy that typically consists of approximately 88% copper and 12% tin. Trace amounts of other metals, such as aluminum, manganese, phosphorus, and silicon, may also be present in the alloy to effect specific qualities and characteristics.
Here’s a link we like from “The Crucible”, which shows you the various processes involved in investment casting.

https://www.thecrucible.org/guides/metalworking/lost-wax-casting/

(Hand-carved, ergonomic, wood handles)
We select the hardest and most durable wood species to fabricate our handles. These natural hardwoods bring beauty and longevity to your tools. Each of the hardwood handles is hand-carved and the bronze head is set with epoxy then hammered securely in place with a solid bronze pin. Each tool then receives 3 applications of an oil and varnish finish. Wood truly is an example of having life after life. Mankind has used wood in creating objects since the beginning of time. It is the flesh of a once living organism.

I love the fact that once a tree has lived out its life, its beauty endures and can be enjoyed for millennia as an object, in our case functional and artful garden implements.

(We use no plastics)

Check out our new products “in the works” to artfully hang, carry, and display your tools so you and your guests can enjoy them, even when not in use!

Yes, all of the lumber we use is legally harvested in Mexico. 

We currently use Mesquite on our “Standard” tool handles and Tzalam for our “Pixie line” handles. Both species of wood have been selected for their durability, resistance to decay and insects, availability, sustainability, and beauty.

Mesquite – Honey Mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa)

Janka Hardness: 2,450 lb

Mesquite with a hardness rating fluctuating between 2400 & 2600, is nearly twice as hard as Northern Red Oak.

For example, red oak, white oak, and white ash have Janka hardness ratings of just 1290-1360. Mesquite is very hard!

Considered by some to be an invasive species, Mesquite is known to produce great firewood with a high thermal value. Honey Mesquite is prized by segmented wood-turners and others for its exceptional stability.

Honey Mesquite exhibits very little movement or expansion/contraction due to environmental changes in humidity. It is considered the most common pest plant in Texas. Almost a quarter of Texas grasslands are infested with Mesquite. The range of Mesquite covers nearly 2.5 million acres of land across the US and Mexico.

Tzalam (Lysiloma latisiliquum)

Common Names: Tzalam, Caribbean Walnut, Sabicu, False Tamarind.

Janka Hardness: 1,400 lb

Perhaps due to its somewhat obscure and strangely spelled common name, Tzalam is sometimes marketed as “Caribbean Walnut,” though it bears little relation to the true walnuts in the Juglans genus. Appearance-wise, Tzalam can closely resemble Koa. Fluorescent.

There are no CITES restrictions on the harvesting of these species.

We all know that anything can be broken if treated abusively. If we sell you a product that fails while using it as is intended, then we stand behind it. If the tools are accidentally run over by a tractor or forgotten in a pile of rotting compost for a full season, then we’re sorry, but this would be considered mistreatment.                                                     

That being said, if you have a tool that breaks then please send it back to us with an explanation of how it broke and under what circumstances, and we’ll be happy to send you a replacement or another item of equal value.

Certainly, sort of…..

Did you know that with 18 different tools to select from, in 3 pack combinations there are 816 possibilities?

We invite you to visit our “Build my Custom Set”  page for some specific questions to better define your gardening needs.

This is designed to help us all identify your gardening conditions and preferences, so we can recommend the best tool combos for you. From here you can build your own custom tool sets.                                                                                                                                                                                    If you have what one might consider a typical backyard garden in a suburban or country setting, then we suggest you buy at least one tool from each of the categories shown on our shopping page.                                         

We’ve also put some tool combinations together that make unforgettable gifts, whether for an anniversary, house warming, wedding, birthday, or special event. Click on “SHOP”.

 

 

Scientists still debate what causes a potato to become couch-ridden. Is it poor environment, lack of proper nutrients, insufficient sunshine, self-loathing? If you are plagued with these lazy, yet benign critters we wish you luck and offer a few tips. Although, during football season and once well established, they can be more difficult to remove than a tick!

Hopefully, your couch potato is nematode-resistant. If he or she has been infected it may be too late for a full recovery. For transplanting, we suggest you start with handing them our mini-pitchfork, the eagle claw, or the weeding fork, and enticing them toward the garden with snacks. For quicker results, we recommend all three.

Good luck and may your potatoes remain nematode free. 😉