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What is a pitchfork?

What is a pitchfork?

Shop for Garden Forks

Betty Boop wielding horns and a pitchfork This is a pitchfork, isn’t it?
An example of a pitchfork So you haven’t suddenly sprouted horns and used one to torment the damned? Then this is a typical pitchfork.
One example of the uses for a pitchfork Also referred to as a hay fork, a pitchfork usually features two or three widely-spaced tines. It is very similar in design to the compost fork and their functions can overlap.

A pitchfork has been designed to pick up and pitch (throw or fling)!

Its uses

A hayfork which is very similar to a pitchfork
  • Lifting and spreading bulk material such as hay bales, straw and barley
  • Ideal for clearing away tree trimmings and landscape waste from your garden (not just for use in farms and stables)
  • Can also be used for turning over and moving compost and any other dense organic material

The tines

The tines are widely spaced to avoid hay getting stuck There are usually no more than two or three tines so that coarse material such as hay does not become stuck in the space between the tines.

Look for sharp ends for easy piercing in compacted material.

Solid socket means that the blade and tines are forged from one piece of steel and the shaft is held in place with rivets. The most robust tines are forged from one piece of steel.  That is, either a solid socket connection…
Two steel straps secured to a wooden shaft with rivets …or a strapped socket connection.

For more information on socket connections, please see our section: How are the tines attached to the shaft?

The shaft

Make sure that the joins on a steel fork are of a high quality A steel fork should have high quality welds (metal joins) that have no open points to allow water to enter.

This will reduce the risk of internal rust and damage.

There should not be any fractured seams: welds must look immaculate and as smooth as possible.

An extra-long shaft The shaft – generally without a handle grip – is longer than other forks: the average length is 1.2m (48 inches).

Some shafts are as long as 1.83m (72 inches)!

The long length gives a wider arm span for balance and control when lifting and pitching.  Please see the section: What do we mean by leverage? in the Hand Shovels section for more information on longer shaft lengths.