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What is a trenching fork?

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Its uses

A trenching fork Similar in design to the digging fork but more suited to heavy-duty work such as:

  • Breaking up uncultivated, stubborn soils
  • Preparing stony impenetrable ground for digging trenches

The tines

Heavy duty prongs with rounded points to avoid damaging cable These forks have four broad and solid tines, usually thicker than the tines on most conventional forks.

Look for tines with chiselled ends to break through unyielding terrain while avoiding damage to any cables or pipes when digging a trench.

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?

A typical tread on the tines of a fork Look for a trenching fork with a flattened foothold (or tread). This will give support when extra force is needed and helps prevent the foot from slipping.

Ever bruised your ankle when digging?  Then you will know how painful this can be!

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 your 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?
Use an insulated shaft when digging around live cables For working around live cables or power lines, use an insulated shaft.

Please see our section: What are insulated forks? for further information.