Tool Box: Worth its weight in digging power

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DIGGING with a 'clever' spade that weighs twice as much as a conventional type sounds about as sensible as weeding with a brick-filled rucksack on your back.

Visions of Heath Robinson's eccentric devices filled the mind's eye, once again, when the Terrex Autospade emerged from its box as 25 large and small components. Fitting all the bits together would have been a little easier had the 'exploded' diagram been accompanied by a few 'this goes there' instructions.

The Autospade has been on the market for umpteen years, but was new to me. Its weight is noticed only while walking from tool shed to garden. After that, the spade is 'automatic' in the sense that it has a spring-loaded, swivel-mounted footplate, which sticks out at the back and does away with the need to bend and lift. The benefits are obvious.

All you do is dig the blade in at an angle, push it forward - to loosen the soil and anchor the footplate - then pull it back to lift and turn the spit. Wolf Tools price the Autospade at pounds 76.95 and will return your money if you are not convinced of its advantages after a seven-day trial.

Wolf Tools, Alton Road, Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire (0989 767600).

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