Manufacturing durable home and garden tools, the kind that customers will pay good money for, requires using quality “tool steel.” Sure, there are plenty of cheaper tools that use other materials -- and some of them are appropriate for specific uses -- but generally, the tools that will be recommended for their durability use quality steel. Steel handles, in particular, are simply superior in situations that require strength and durability.
As a tool manufacturer, you want to create products that will cement your reputation as a reliable manufacturer -- which means producing tools that stand up to heavy use and require little maintenance by the end customer. Materials like wood and fiberglass have their place, but they are not ideal for creating the strongest tools. Metal components are essential for making tools that customers can use and abuse -- tools they’ll truly value.
Benefits of Metal Components for Long-Lasting Tools
You do not have to be a metallurgist to appreciate the benefits of metal tubular components. Let your metal manufacturer handle the details if you’re uncomfortable or inexperienced designing with this material.
What you do need to know is the array of advantages metal lends home and garden tools:
Metal is strong -- particularly the metals used in tool making. As long as the metal is an appropriate choice for the tool component (i.e. wheelbarrow handle), it will likely withstand more force than a similar component made out of fiberglass or wood. Using metal means fewer broken tool handles and fewer pissed-off customers.
Different metals have different strengths and weaknesses. But you can be sure that if your trusted fabrication shop steers you toward a particular metal for tool components, it’s probably one made for heavy use.
Most tool manufacturers choose between steel and aluminum. Steel is stronger, while aluminum is lighter.
Metal is not invincible. Just like wood and fiberglass, it can wear down over time and through exposure to the elements. However, in most cases, metal components will depreciate more slowly than non-metal counterparts, particularly wooden ones, and the degradation is mostly cosmetic. You can account for the elements by choosing a specific type of metal for outdoor use, further limiting corrosion.
For instance, 304 grade stainless steel and aluminum both hold up well to corrosion. 304 grade stainless is heavier and stronger than aluminum, while aluminum has the advantage of being lighter.
Both are more expensive than a non-stainless steel grade. But if corrosion is a major concern, the end customer may be willing to pay a little more for a tool that won’t fall apart in tough conditions.
On the other hand, stainless steel’s higher price is in part due to its shiny, attractive look. If your tubular component is frequently going to get down and dirty in dirt, mud, etc., there may be little benefit in upgrading to stainless.
The Importance of Choosing the Right Metal
If you want maximum strength, durability, and corrosion resistance in your tools, then metal tubular components are an obvious choice. Choosing the right metal for each tool component will further boost its performance.
Remember, soil and grass both tend to be acidic. Digging tools should be made with corrosion-resistant metals. A low-maintenance tool is one that doesn’t require customers to constantly scrub off rust and stains with steel wool.
The first step to choosing the right metal is to have a clear idea of what you want out of your tool. The next step is to speak to your metal manufacturer about your options. Check with your vendor to learn what tubular metal is going to hit all the points on your checklist.