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  1. #1
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    Rogue Hoe breaking

    Our club and some trail works have bought several Rogue Hoes for work on our sanding type soil trails. We have broken several of them where the plate just breaks in half. I was using one last weekend and digging in the ground on one lift the front half of the plate just fell off. Any one else having problems ? Had it welded by a club member and will see how it last.

  2. #2
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    We bought a few last year to test and ran into similar problems. Out of 6 tools, we had one with a broken head and two with bent tines. 50% failure rate is not good. I know very little about metallurgy but the steel on our tools seemed soft. I spoke with the owners about our issues and they said they would look into it. I didn't ask for a replacement since we won't be using them again. IMO, they appear to be great gardening tools but not so much for trail construction.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by casey View Post
    We bought a few last year to test and ran into similar problems. Out of 6 tools, we had one with a broken head and two with bent tines. 50% failure rate is not good. I know very little about metallurgy but the steel on our tools seemed soft. I spoke with the owners about our issues and they said they would look into it. I didn't ask for a replacement since we won't be using them again. IMO, they appear to be great gardening tools but not so much for trail construction.
    Thanks, what tools are you using now? I liked the way the Rogue Hoes worked when they were working.

  4. #4
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    The metal is very soft. The head is basically a recycled agricultural disc with a rectangular piece welded on it. Compared to a True Temper head on a Nupla pulaski, it's clearly not the same, but we never had issues when used properly. My crews use them full time since 3 years now, and I sold maybe 200 units so far without any failure. I'll keep an eye on this potential issue. Thanks for the heads-up!
    A trailbuilder from the north

  5. #5
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    Were these Pulaskis, McCleods or ?. I have a Rhino (Rogue model 80RH) I use for tailbuilding and cleaning drainage ditches and haven't had a problem. It seems to hold a good edge also.
    Metrology has nothing to do with the weather.

  6. #6
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    Here is the photo after the repair. The metal on this is very hard the welder said.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Rogue Hoe breaking-image.jpg  


  7. #7
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    Out of the 15 or so rogue hoes our club uses (70H and 60A models) we have had one head fail on us and one with a cracked handle in 2-3 years. The weld attaching the blade and neck cracked and the blade eventually broke off. This happened when using the hoe as a lever to pry out a stubborn stump.

    We have been very satisfied with the overall quality of the tools. The edges stay sharp and are not easily damaged by the few rocks we encounter; I take this to mean that the quality of the steel is very good. They are primarily used in non-rocky silt/clay/loam soils with lots of tree roots.

    My guess would be that the steel in the tool shown above was somehow over-hardened during manufacture (cooled to quickly after welding?) based on the welders assessment of it being very hard and the apparent clean fracture of the blade. If this is the case, the tool might fail again in a different location even after being repaired.

    See if you can get replacements from the company you bought them from because that is not normal.

  8. #8
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    As a point of interest, a discussion was had with some trail builders about what the ultimate trail building tool would be. The consensus was, for a one tool carry in repair tool or tool for cutting new bench, it would be a rogue hoe, except it would have a longer handle and a pulaski type axe on the back for cutting roots. I looked at the rogue hoe, and proceeded to build four of the tools I've described based on that, but the one thing I did was left more of the old disc blade closer to the handle weld point. I figured at some point, someone will use the tool to pry at something, and that will make it stronger, as it preserves some of the dish shape of the disc blade, lending strength. None of my tools have had problems yet, but it looks like people have had trouble with the rogue hoe exactly where I thought the weak spot was. Doesn't do you folks any good, but it makes me feel better about my design choice.

  9. #9
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    Wow. We've been using rogue hoes in New England conditions, more rock than dirt, for over 4 years at this point and no failures (knock on wood).

    As long as you're not using them as a pry bar I can't see why they'd fail under proper use (i.e. bench cutting or knocking out roots). My 60A has seen 100's of hours of use at this point and the occasional sharpening.

  10. #10
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    Cotharyus, would love to see a photo of what you made.

  11. #11
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    Easy solution, never cut any roots larger than your wrist with a Rogue Hoe and make sure your volunteers understand this.

  12. #12
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    If your breaking rouges then you were trying to do the job of a pulaski. been using rouges for year, I've never broke one, but i've seen people break them after I asked them to use a pulaski.
    Epic trails get built in the Northwest by epic people!

    Sustainable quality trails please.

  13. #13
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    Our crew has broken three over the course of last summer. All at the outer edge of the heat-effected zone near the weld. We do have some apes on our crew but all claim they were "just digging along" when it happened. They are easy enough to weld back together. One of them even beefed his up with an an added plate to create the "man hoe". Still a great tool despite a certain amount of attrition - which has to be expected in this line of work.

  14. #14
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    I bought a couple of the first Rogue Hoes. I've had them for years now. I found the metal to be quite soft and they don't hold an edge well. I've heard other people who have bought them more recently say they do hold an edge well. I assume they have changed the metal they used since I bought mine.

    The welds on mine are holding up very well.
    I have a device that can access the total knowledge of man. I use it to look at pictures of cats and argue with strangers.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by dlennard View Post
    Cotharyus, would love to see a photo of what you made.
    I'll see what I can do. I thought I had one somewhere. I'll take another picture and post it up.

  16. #16
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    My $.02:

    (my perspective as a retired metal fabricator)

    First, I've got 2 model 70H Rogue Hoes that have given me good service for a couple of years of hard use; IMHO for trail maintenance and light trail construction they're almost best single tool to carry. (If the handles were removable they would be the best single tool but I suspect they'd lose some of their ruggedness as such) Very nice ergonomics with the curved hickory handle.

    But for heavier trail construction I leave the Rogues at home and carry the usual suite of pick mattock, McLeod, shovel and pulaski (or an axe); Rogue Hoes are "hoes" after all and as such are not the right tool for heavy chopping or digging. (I'll usually break one pick mattock or pulaski handle a year if that tells you anything about how hard I dig)

    The one Rogue Hoe (belonging to a bike club) that I've seen break was a F70 that was being used to chop/pry out an oak stump.

    Secondly; I'm in awe that the Pierces were able build a business around re-purposing used disk harrow blades---welding that kind of steel is tricky business especially when it may not be apparent of the disc's heritage. I happen to have a couple discs I use on my little farm and the old school all-American unit will wear disc blades out before they break; the newer model (with blades from China, Brazil or India) will break blades before they wear out. The quality of the metal is all over the place. It doesn't surprise me that Rogue may occasionally ship out a tool that's destined to fail unless they have a way to positively ID the type of steel alloy in the disc. Also; there may be latent cracks in the used blades that avoid detection.

    One of these days I'll make my own "rogue hoe"!
    The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not represent any policy of the CA Dept. of Parks & Rec.

  17. #17
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    I have a very large circle of death.

    Our club has several rogue hoes, all but one with the 40" curved hickory handle. I swing mine with wild abandon at times, chopping the crap out of roots, prying head sized rocks, and generally unafraid to swing big. We've been using them for years with no issues with breaking. (70hrh, and 60A)

    My only gripe would be that some handles have a larger diameter than others, and the larger diameter handles are harder to control and grab for many people.

    I see no reason to carry a pulaski, or own one. The narrow end of the 60A serves the same purpose as a pulaski axe head.

    I would like to see photos of the ground the breaking hoes are being used on, (gotta be some tough conditions).

    C.

  18. #18
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    Our club owns a dozen Rogue Hoes 70H & 80H. Have been using them for 3 seasons now and very satisfied with no problems. Agree with earlier post that if you are taking out Oak Stumps or Roots bigger than your forearm you should be using a pulaski or cutter mattock.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjohnson View Post
    Our club has several rogue hoes, all but one with the 40" curved hickory handle. I swing mine with wild abandon at times, chopping the crap out of roots, prying head sized rocks, and generally unafraid to swing big. We've been using them for years with no issues with breaking. (70hrh, and 60A)

    My only gripe would be that some handles have a larger diameter than others, and the larger diameter handles are harder to control and grab for many people.

    I see no reason to carry a pulaski, or own one. The narrow end of the 60A serves the same purpose as a pulaski axe head.

    I would like to see photos of the ground the breaking hoes are being used on, (gotta be some tough conditions).

    C.
    The ground we are using them in is a sandy soil, pine tree root mat with roots and to remove small tree stumps. We do use pulaskis for large roots.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjohnson View Post
    Our club has several rogue hoes, all but one with the 40" curved hickory handle. I swing mine with wild abandon at times, chopping the crap out of roots, prying head sized rocks, and generally unafraid to swing big. We've been using them for years with no issues with breaking. (70hrh, and 60A)

    My only gripe would be that some handles have a larger diameter than others, and the larger diameter handles are harder to control and grab for many people.

    I see no reason to carry a pulaski, or own one. The narrow end of the 60A serves the same purpose as a pulaski axe head.

    I would like to see photos of the ground the breaking hoes are being used on, (gotta be some tough conditions).

    C.
    Sorry, no photos but the prevailing soil type we dig in is loess (silt) and clay with very few rocks. Most of the roots are much smaller than wrist sized and we do use pulaskis or axe mattocks for the occasional large cottonwood roots.

    Just broke another one, at the weld (same spot as the others). Must have got a bad batch, that makes four so far. I noticed a hairline crack in the steel that morning that quickly spread and broke. We've had this batch for three seasons now, guess I'll chock it up to metal fatigue. We've had good luck with previous batches.

  21. #21
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    I realize it's been three weeks since I promised a picture of the tool I was building. I'm sorry, but I've been very busy in the woods with a new trail project. I was in the shop working on some new tools yesterday though, and got a chance to take a picture of my rogue inspired tool.




    I've got a couple of other "old farm implement" based tools as well, I view this one as more of a heavy digger, and the others as more of a finishing tool.

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