A.M. Leonard Classic Soil Knife: Product Review
A sturdy, comfortable digging knife
Available on Amazon
A digging knife is an essential tool for certain tasks—planting bulbs and extracting wild onions, dandelions, and tree seedlings are a few examples. If you garden in heavy soils, it might just be the one tool you won’t want to live without. The A.M. Leonard Classic Soil Knife’s design is similar to others on the market, and it shines, literally, in the details.
High Strength Stainless Steel 6½ inch Blade
The stainless steel beveled blade will not rust. It is strong, with a satisfying heft, but not so heavy that it will cause fatigue with extended use.
Bright Orange Composite Handle
The original hori hori knife (Japanese digging knife) has a straight wood handle and, while an excellent tool, is easy to lose when you set it down in the garden and absentmindedly move on.
This model has a bright orange, contoured handle. It’s comfortable, indestructible, and it stands out. Another plus is the hanging hole. Loop a length of twine through it and hang it anywhere.
Easy on the Wrist
Digging with a trowel can involve a twisting motion, which can cause wrist problems over time. You generally hold a soil knife with a strong grip, and stab it into the ground with the full force of your arm. Used in this manner it is not likely to contribute to wrist injuries. Nevertheless, switching tools often is a smart idea if you garden a lot.
Serrated Edge for Sawing
Serrations are a common feature of soil knives. I found the serrated edge on this tool useful for some purposes, but not for others. You can cut twine and slice open bags easily, and saw through fibrous roots when dividing perennials. But the edge is insufficient for cutting through tougher roots. Before dividing a plant with a very dense rootball, such as a large hosta, try sharpening the soil knife.
The A.M. Leonard Classic Soil Knife sells for $18.99 on www.amleo.com. The deluxe model, with depth markings, a cutting notch, and sharper serrations, is $21.99. A sheath is not included in the purchase price of either version of the Soil Knife, but can be purchased as an extra. For a much better deal, buy the knife/sheath combo.
The Classic Soil Knife from A.M. Leonard is a quality tool with some nice improvements over the traditional hori hori. The contoured handle is easy to grip and keeps your hand firmly in place while using the knife. Plus, the bright orange color makes it easily visible. However, I’d upgrade to the Deluxe Soil Knife to take advantage of the better serrated edge and depth markings (they come in handy for planting small bulbs and measuring spacing in the garden).
Where to Buy
The A.M. Leonard Soil Knife can be purchased on Amazon as well as directly from the A.M. Leonard website.
Which digging tools have you used? Any you’d like us to review? Let us know in the comments below.
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