Armed with a simple dibber and sturdy boots, we can grow just about anything (which is where our name came from), but I don’t have huge blocks of time these days to devote to growing food, and my body causes me a mischief too, so we have developed strategies and alternate tools to stay productive in the garden without being a physical wreck afterwards.
Long-reach and lighter weight tools help, to prevent having to kneel or strain, and to get boots on and off quickly – a long reach boot horn and traditional Boot Jack.
The quick version of this story is that we looked for a traditionally made, Australian iron boot jack and couldn’t find one. So, we made one ourselves. Designed by me here in Napoleons in a traditional style, turned into a pattern by local patternmaker Ian Magee, and poured in Australian iron by Hasco Foundry in Ballarat.
Idea to Pattern
We started with a very old Boot Jack made in England a long time ago, but no longer made today, adjusted the dimensions to fit my specs, and the angle and design, then added our Dibber & Boots name, and lastly a proud reminder that it is made in Australian iron.
Local traditional patternmaker, Ian Magee, did wonderful work on the model in timber first, then added the letters, and was so accommodating to bring my design to life whilst keeping in mind structural elements and contributing his wealth of experience.
Four patterns fit into one pour box at the foundry, so Ian makes four and constructs a sand mold that will stay at the Foundry and be reused each time we do a new pour.
Pattern to Pour
Every casting begins with a pattern, from which a sand mold is produced, complete with a core that aids in the flow of molten metal to each part of the pattern.
Molten metal is then poured into that sand mold via holes in the top (two in our case) to form a casting.
We have two castings in each mold. The sand mold is cracked open when cooled, and the castings cut away from the core and given a cleanup round the edges.
We hand filed off the arris around the curve, to be a bit gentler on your boots, and off the base, but essentially, the way you receive it is pretty much how it was poured.
A huge thanks to Adam Hassell and his team at Hasco Foundry, Ballarat.
Our Boot Jack is made to serve you and your descendants for generations to come. Seriously. The cast iron is strong Australian quality (though not indestructable – as with all cast objects, it has an inherent brittleness that can break if dropped from a height, so perhaps best not toss it off a roof onto concrete, eh 😉) and will develop a patina over time, either darker charcoal to black when kept inside, or a thin rust sheen if kept outside that actually protects the metal beneath. If you want to maintain it, a quick brush with wire or brass bristle and a wipe over with linseed is all it needs to serve you, and outlive you. We will soon show a video of cleaning and maintaining our garden tools, using our tool Shipshape kit, and the same method works here too.
You can find our D&B Boot Jack in the garden shop, and online. If you buy in store, it comes bundled with a free long reach metal boot horn (whilst we have stock of course), to thank you for visiting. Boots on, and boots off – no bending down. 👍😉🌿
If you have a project you would like brought to life in cast metal, here are Ian’s and Adam’s details. They are both local to Ballarat, skilled in their rare trades, and so accommodating.
Ian magee, Cardigan VIC 3352, Ph: 03 53448150 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Adam Hassell, Hasco Foundry, Wendouree VIC 3357, Ph: 03 53399840 Email: email@example.com Web: http://hascofoundry.com.au
Look wide; grow well, folks 🌿