Joseph Bentley Stainless Steel Hand Trowel (#JBY0238): Product Review
Good for scooping, mixing and light digging, but not for working in hard soil
Available on Amazon
Recently, I was given the Joseph Bentley stainless steel hand trowel as a gift. Here in the US, it’s distributed by Growe Industries, the only official distributer of Joseph Bentley tools in the U.S. The design of the trowel is based on an English gardening tool company dating back to the 1800s.
To me, the most important tool in gardening is the trowel. Without a trowel, I would not be able to plant and dig – thus no garden.
Equally important to me is that a trowel slices through soil easily, especially clay. It should not bend (or break) with the weight of the soil, nor should it hurt my hand and wrist. So I was curious to see how the Joseph Bentley trowel would perform.
|Overall Dimensions||12.8 long x 3.4 wide|
Stainless Steel Blade
The trowel head is stainless steel, meaning that it shouldn’t rust (I couldn’t fully test that but in the time I’ve used it there’s been no sign of corrosion).
The blade is about 6 inches long and 3.5 inches wide at the widest part. The words “Joseph Bentley since 1895“ are engraved on the front.
I found that having the name engraved into the blade was useful when I was planting bulbs. I discovered that I could put a ruler on the words and figured out “J” (for Joseph) is 3.5 inches from the tip and “B” (for Bentley) was 4 inches and so on. However, having a scale on the blade would’ve been even more helpful.
Blade Edge Not Beveled
Trowels come in several different styles, including differences in the design of the blade – some blades are beveled and/or sharpened to make digging easier, while others have a blunt edge and are better for scooping and mixing.
The edges of the blade on the Joseph Bentley trowel are not beveled and, therefore, can’t be sharpened (at least not easily). The non-beveled edges make it a good tool for mixing soil and potting up containers in greenhouses, but not so much for digging.
Personally, I prefer trowels with a sharper edge. I spend hours in the garden, digging and planting in uncultivated soil, so I need the trowel head to be sharp to minimize soil resistance. As a result, this trowel wouldn’t be my first choice, although many gardeners will find it meets their needs just fine.
Oak Handle Will Need Some Care
The handle is oak with a hole at the end and a leather strap. The words “Joseph Bentley” are engraved on the handle.
The hole is through the side of the handle, not the front, making it easier to hang up. The downside with the hole and strap placement is that as I was gardening with this trowel my palm rubbed up against the hole, which was not comfortable. It felt like the handle was ruining my gloves.
The oak handle makes the Joseph Bentley trowel look like a roughhewn tool, designed by generations of English gardeners. I did find that the surface was a little rough (I would’ve expected a nice smooth surface in a quality oak handle) so you’ll probably want to wear gloves when using the trowel.
The oak is FSC certified, meaning that it comes from responsibly managed forests that provide environmental, social and economic benefits.
Like any wood-handled tool, you’ll need to take proper care of the handle and, especially, prevent it from getting too wet. The handle is treated so can stand up to some moisture but this is not a tool to leave outside in the rain!
Overall Hefty Design
The Joseph Bentley trowel is 13 inches long and is quite hefty. A good trowel should have weight and should feel solid, as this one does.
The trowel head is angled at about 45 degrees downward from the handle which helps minimize twisting of the wrist while digging and scooping.
Growe Industries, distributor of the Joseph Bentley trowel in the USA, offers a lifetime guarantee but you’ll have to register your trowel on their website.
The trowel is made in China.
The Joseph Bentley Stainless Steel Trowel is a well-made tool for scooping, mixing and light digging, although not recommended for repeated digging in hardened soil due to its lack of a beveled edge. Somewhat sturdy construction, using a 6 inch stainless steel blade and oak handle. The oak handle is a little rough and the leather strap gets in the way (although it’s handy for hanging up the trowel when you’re done). Not a tool to be left out in the elements because of the wood handle.
Where to buy:
Joseph Bentley trowels can be purchased online through Amazon for $14.95 (free shipping with Prime membership), as well as through Growe Industries for $14.99 plus shipping or through a registered dealer. You can also find it at local retailers like Home Depot and Sears.
And now over to you – what’s your favorite trowel? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
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