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What are the tines made from?

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Consider carefully what the tines are made from. Make no mistake…the tines toil hard! They need to be sharp enough to break new ground and penetrate heavy, compacted soils or to pierce through all manner of organic materials.
Transporting organic matter They also need to be strong yet light enough to transport material around.
The tines need to be strong and sturdy and steel is the perfect material The tines, therefore, need to be strong and sturdy while maintaining a sharp cutting edge.

Carbon steel or an alloy steel is particularly suited to this job.

Sheet steel is one of the most fundamental forms used in metalworking Steel is an alloy (a combination) of iron and a small amount of carbon (usually between 0.002 and 2.2%).

Additional traces of metallic and non-metallic elements can also be alloyed with steel to further improve its strength and other characteristics.  These are known as alloy steels.

Elements other thann carbon can also be alloyed with steel to improve its mechanical properties The tines are generally made from either:

  • Carbon steel – offers supreme strength
  • Manganese steel (contains approximately 13% manganese) – highly resistant to wear and high-impact shock, robust.
  • Stainless steel (contains a minimum of 10.5% chromium) – highly resistant to scratching and rust.

Which material is best?

The tines are made from stainless steel with a mirrored finished look Which you choose depends entirely on what you want from your fork.

For some gardeners, stainless steel is ideal.  It works well in wet weather as it does not rust, is extremely easy to clean and does not discolour to the same degree other steels will.

It is also slightly lighter than other steels.

Heavy duty digging means strong tines such as carbon steel or manganese steel However, some users have expressed concern that the stainless steel tines do not hold up as well as other steel tines which are more durable.

So for those with more heavy duty work to contend with, choose either carbon steel or manganese steel.

Furthermore, high quality tines and the socket will be forged (formed) from a single piece of steel.  For more information, please read: How are the tines attached to the socket?

A typical broken tine Also, If the tines are made from an inferior quality steel, they are susceptible to bending and snapping.

Don’t rely on the price of a fork to tell the difference between an inferior quality steel over a high quality steel. The price is no guarantee of quality workmanship.

A tine which has snapped off
Wonkee Donkee says 'if you have the tine...tap the steel. If it sounds or feels hollow, it is more likely to either buckle, corrode from the inside, or break off altogether.'