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What is a potato fork?

What is a potato fork?

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Its uses

A traditional potato fork with blunted ends to avoid stabbing your potatoes as you lift them With its blunt ends, this fork is ideal for…yes, you’ve guessed it – harvesting your potatoes!

This traditional agricultural fork is not only useful for lifting potato crops from the ground, but can also be used to extract other root vegetable crops such as carrots, radishes and beets.

The tines

A traditional potato fork with nine tines and ball-shaped ends A traditional potato fork will usually have nine tines, each with a ‘bulb’ at the end.  This will allow the tines to pass by the potatoes rather than through them as you lift them out of the soil. So if you don’t want a spate of spiked spuds then look for these rounded ends.

In addition, more tines mean more of those pesky little potatoes are plucked from the ground than lost through the gaps of an ordinary fork.

This fork has just four tines, which are wide enough for easy scooping However, the more modern designs have just four tines, with bayonet-shaped ends, which manufacturers claim still avoid damage to potatoes.

Furthermore, the sharp ends can easily penetrate hard, compacted soil unlike the rounded tines – a gripe amongst many users of the traditional potato forks. If you opt for this type of potato fork, make sure the tines have broad, flat surfaces for easy scooping.

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.

Handle fitted with a soft grip and wide angle for cushioned support The handle grip can be D- or T-shaped.  Look for soft, cushioned grips for added comfort.

For those with particularly large or small hands, which don’t fit easily around a D- grip, choose the T- grip.

Alternatively, look for a wider-shaped D-grip to protect hands.

The typical lengths of shaft available The length of the shaft usually measures at:

  • A standard length of 700mm (28 inches)
  • A long length of 800mm (32 inches) plus.
  • Or extra-long at 1200mm (48 inches) plus.

For more information on choosing a shaft, please refer to our page: Is the length of the shaft important?

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