Bulldog Garden Tools

Updated 15th February 2019

 

On This Page

Company History

Manufacturing Techniques

Solid Forged Forks & Spades

Rakes

Long Handled Irish Spades and West Country Shovels

Shorter Tools and Children's Digging Tools

Lawn Edging Tool

 

For My Other Digging Tool Page Use Link Below

Specialist Digging and Cultivating Tools

 

If you are in the USA Bulldog is branded as Clarington Forge so please use link below.

 

 

Factory Address

Clarington Forge

Darlington Street East

Wigan Lancs, WN1 3BT

 

Gardening and Contracting Tools

Bulldog UK Website

 

Head Office

Rollins Bulldog Tools LTD

Rollins House, 1 Parkway, Harlow

Essex, CM19 5QF

 

 

Bulldog Tools - Company Background

Bulldog Tools were the last real manufacturer of garden tools totally made in Britain.

The Company was established in 1780 and has a factory in Wigan, Lancashire, where top quality tools are made by craftsmen using techniques developed over 2 centuries. The products cover the whole range of gardening and contractors tools such as forks, spades, rakes and hoes. Many of the Bulldog tools remain as they have for decades and are sold on their tried and trusted performance, rather than flashy looks.

Bulldog Tools are famous throughout the world and old examples are still being used and cherished by their owners. I have used Bulldog Tools since 1970 and hope to for many more years.

During the 1990's the company became American owned but in February 2004 the company came back into English ownership as part of the respected Rollins Group.

Bulldog Tools have a large following in the USA under the brand name "Clarington Forge".

In 2009 I visited the forge in Wigan to see in more detail how the tools are made and distributed. It was an incredible experience seeing one of our oldest and longest running factories still in full use.

In 2014 all the forges and related equipment were moved to a new modern factory in India. Bulldog staff there supervise the manufacturing of the heads in the traditional way on the original forges before the metal heads are shipped to Wigan. In Wigan the handles are added and the tools finished and quality checked. The excellent Springbok and Wizard rakes are still completely made in Wigan, along with the smaller hand tools.

 

Fred and Bulldog Director at the Wigan Forge in 2009

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How Bulldog Tools are made

The image to above shows the stages of a Bulldog Spade being forged from one piece of solid metal.

This hot solid forging technique makes the tool as strong as possible, and as importantly as light as possible.

Most forks and spades you find in shops and catalogues are not hot solid forged. This is to save money, but results in an inferior tool.

The picture above shows me at the Bulldog factory in Wigan learning how the spades are shaped and forged.

I was impressed with the skill and craftsmanship that goes into these tools. Hot solid forging involves more processes and expense than just stamping and welding but the end result is a stronger tool that will outlast the rest many times and possibly outlast you!

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click here for my new page on forks and spades in the USA including True Temper Tools

Continue on this page if you are UK based

 

Best Product Examples of Bulldog Tools

The Bulldog Border Fork and Spade

This tool has been in production for decades.

They are available in 2 versions

Firstly,  the Premier Range shown- with green painted metal parts

Secondly the cheaper Evergreen Range - The metal parts are the same but the ash shafts are fitted with plastic handles.

 

 Bulldog Premier Border Fork

 Bulldog 5609 Premier Wood Border Spade

 

Premier range in green with D handles.

The Bulldog Premier range of digging tools has remained unchanged for decades and for good reason.

The tools are effective, strong and good to use.

Bulldog Evergreen Forks and Spades

One range down from the Premier tools these Epoxy coated carbon steel tools have  hardwood shafts but plastic soft touch ergo handles. The metal parts are forged from one piece for strength and lightness, and are used in the top price Premier range tools too.

Solid forged forks always cost more than spades as there is a lot more skilled work involved in making them

As used by Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall

 Bulldog 7104 Evergreen Border Fork

 Bulldog 7103 Evergreen Digging Fork

 Bulldog 7102 Evergreen Border Spade

 Bulldog 7101 Evergreen Digging Spade

 

The strongest garden forks and spades

If you want the toughest traditional fork and only the best will do then the Premier strapped solid forged digging fork is hard to beat.

It is solid forged from one piece of hot metal and strapped. This means the metal shaft extends up and around the wooden shaft and is strapped to it by several large rivets. Extending the metal up and around the shaft like this requires extra work and a lot of skill. Tools like this have to be hand made and this is why they cost more and are not sold in the shops.

This gives the strongest join and has been tried and tested over many decades.

Alternatively - Spear & Jackson make some good solid forged digging tools

Spear & Jackson Neverbend Professional Irish Spade

These Indian made solid forged tools are the old design made using the old British machinery

Both companies shipped their forges to the far East to remain competitive

The S& J tools are good value and also very strong.

 

Solid Forged Digging Fork with longer handle

This traditionally made digging fork has an extra long handle to make digging easier for taller folk.

It is arguable that most forks and spades sold today are too short as they are the same length as tools made hundreds of years ago when people where shorter. Not sure  about that but it is obvious that longer tools suit longer people and this fork has the strength to be able to take the extra strain *

* it is possible to bend any fork if you try hard enough or use it inappropriately

Garden or digging forks are designed for soil and are most commonly damaged when use to lever roots and rocks which is a task more suited to a crowbar or pickaxe.

 Bulldog Premier Garden Fork with Long Handle

The handle on this Bulldog spade is 4 inches longer than the standard version.

 Bulldog Premier Treaded Digging Spade

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The best leaf rake - will even work on concrete and gravel!

Bulldog Wizard and Merlin Rubber Leaf Rakes

The unique Merlin rake has 16 rubber tines that act like sensitive little fingers when raking leaves and other debris.

The Bulldog rubber rakes are a favourite of professional gardeners who love to use them on gravel drives and in herbaceous borders.

The Merlin (shown right) is ideal for border work and its big brother the Wizard with 32 tines is best on gravel and lawns.

Replacement tines are available for both rakes.

Remember when ordering that the Merlin is a small Wizard!

Use the links below to help this site too with your purchase.

 

 Bulldog Premier Merlin Rubber Border Rake

 Bulldog Premier Wizard Rake

Still made in Wigan UK

 

Steel leaf rake for grass

Springbok Steel Leaf rake 48" handle

This is the finest example of a leaf rake available. The Bulldog "springbok rake" is a classic that has been used by professionals for many years. It  is the best rake for use on grass.

The reason that so many people chose this rake is that it is so well built that it will outlast most other rakes and still keep its shape and flexibility.

 Bulldog Premier Springbok Lawn Rake

The choice of professionals - made in Wigan UK

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Irish Spades and Irish Shovels

Bulldog have been making these traditional tools since 1780 and they have been used on some of the worlds greatest construction projects.

To make things clear a spade is designed for digging into soil and a shovel is for moving material.

However a very strong shovel can be used to dig sand and soil too, especially if it has a pointed end.

The T handled Irish Square Spade is one of my favourite tools. They are superb for digging planting holes, and  trenching.

The quality and design of these tools have not changed for over 100 years and I have seen how they are made in the Wigan factory.

Bulldog Square Irish Spade 

Part no 5612133610

Shaft  length 36"

Head size 290mm." * 190mm"

(the Square Irish spade is slightly longer than a full size spade)

If the Bulldog one is not available use the link below for a similar one from S&J

 Spear & Jackson Neverbend Professional Irish Spade

Round Point Irish shovel is similar to the West Country shovel featured above

This is a large tool with a 54" wooden handle (you could cut it down easily). The head is 10." wide and 13" long.

 Bulldog Premier Irish Shovel 54" Handle

These shovels are for moving loose soil or digging in soft areas . For deep digging the long handled round mouth SPADE is best, as it is solid forged and much stronger.

West Country Shovel

WEST COUNTRY SHOVEL

 Bulldog 2309 West Country Shovel

Known to some people as the Cornish Spade this tool is slightly wider but flatter than the Irish Shovel and although strictly speaking it is a shovel it can be used for digging in some ground.

This is a large tool with a 54" wooden handle (you could cut it down easily). The head is 10.5" wide and 11.5" long.

 

T handled Rabbiting Spade (also known as planting spade)

As recommended by Elmer Fudd

You don't need to be a rabbit killer to use this excellent spade

It has a 26" handle and is also very useful for making deep holes for planting saplings.

 Bulldog Premier Rabbit/ Planting Spade

 Spear & Jackson Agricultural Planting/Rabbiting Spade

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Children's Digging Tools

Garden Tools for Children tested and Reviewed

Real Garden Tools For Children

Most garden tools sold for Children are a bit flimsy and do not last very long. Bulldog make proper mini versions of their solid forged fork and spade to suit children.

Children's gardening tools can also be ideal for elderly or disabled gardeners to use.

These tools are so well made that your children could pass them onto your grandchildren.

 

 Bulldog Premier Children's Junior Digging Spade

 Bulldog Premier Children's Junior Garden Rake

The best 4 Children's garden tools - solid forged from Bulldog

 

Below some cheaper alternatives that are welded together and easily strong enough.

  

The Draper Young gardener range is reasonably priced and well made enough to withstand the use that a child with give it. As these are proper tools with potentially sharp edges and prongs make sure any child using them is made aware of the dangers and appropriately supervised.

As I child I was given a specially cut down fork to sue and worked with it for many hours at a time on my own with no accidents or injuries. Problems are more likely to occur where you have 2 or more children working together so be extra careful if you have two budding gardeners.

  Rolly Metal Wheelbarrow (Red)

The Bulldog Shrubbery Fork and Spade

The shorter Shrubbery spade next to a normal size border spade.

(both shown in standard premier colours)

This is an ideal tool for ladies, shorter gents and largish children

If you are particularly short then buy the new smaller size Shrubbery fork and spade.

Bulldog premier Shrubbery Fork shown below

They are shorter and smaller than border size tools and ideal for elderly ladies like my Mum (seen above)

The tools measure 35 inches in total length and the heads are smaller too.(5.5 * 7 inches)

 Bulldog Premier Shrubbery Fork

 Bulldog Premier Shrubbery Spade

 

 

 

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The Bulldog premier lawn edger - doing the Fredshed edges.

The shank and head are one piece of steel.

 Bulldog Premier Solid Forged Edging Knife

Draper 65779 230 mm Scythe Stone

 

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Mattocks, Pick axes and Alternative Digging Tools

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 Thanks - Fred

 

 

 

 

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