01Derk-Klaas, Sietse and Derk DeWit
02Two of the varieties in a product line of 1,600
03Welding a tree spade
04Fixing the handle to the head of a perennial planter
05The finished product
06Tools awaiting dispatch
07DeWit employee Douwe Douwstra.
08The spork, a hybrid of a fork and spade
09DeWit’s copper engineering hammer and club hammer
Metal shapes are laser cut
Previously performed by hand. Now you can switch between product lines with the touch of a button. Offcuts are recycled.
Metal is heated to between 900C and 1100C to ensure its tensile strength. The socket is welded by hand.
Refining the shape
After cooling, the metal pieces are tapered by hand, making them thinner and sharper.
Tools are checked
Quality checks are done by hand. Wooden handles are then attached and laser-printed with the DeWit insignia.
Other market leaders
Bulldog has been producing quality tools at Clarington Forge, Wigan, England, since 1780 (several employees can trace their family ties to the company back through four generations). The company celebrated its 230th anniversary by creating the world’s largest spade, a 3.6-metre-high implement verified by Guinness World Records.
Red Pig Tools
Offering everything from barbecue meat-turners to custom branding irons, husband and wife team Rita and Bob Denman ran an advertising agency before turning their hand to the production of tools in burnished steel, which gives them the appearance of traditional English tools from the Edwardian era (despite the US provenance).
Tuli Fisher is a full-time blacksmith in Bozeman, Montana, who’s been forging the finest tools since 1999, using heavy gauge steel and hard-wood handles made from walnut to create all of his products by hand (he’s a horseshoer with over 12 years of experience). He favours hand rivets over welding.