A-O Pro Tip – Alternative Ways to Lift Rocks with Art of the Yard

Welcome to another A-O Pro Tip! For this 4th A-O Pro Tip, Heath Webb, owner of Art of the Yard, shows us alternative ways to lift rocks. This week’s tip for our Learn From The A-O Pro’s series is a quick and helpful way to use your resources when you’re not able to get machinery into the space you’re building your water feature in!

Rock waterfall on the side of a house with waterfall lights

This tip comes from the build in the Sandbox at Atlantic-OASE’s headquarters in Aurora, Ohio. Contractors from Art of the YardAlpine Custom Hardscapes and Demi Fortuna, from his own company, August Moon Designs, came to Ohio to dig in the dirt to kick off the start of this new series. After the 5-day building palooza, they created 3 incredible water features including a pond and waterfall feature with a custom copper bowl fire feature, a pond-free waterfall and a formal fountain hardscape.

A-O Tip #4 – Alternative Ways to Lift Rocks with Art of the Yard

In this 4th A-O Pro Tip, Heath Webb shows us how his team at Art of the Yard moves heavy rocks and boulders when their space isn’t big enough to bring their machinery in.

Watch the A-O Pro Tip here!

Heath explains how his team uses underlayment to carry all the heavy rocks to their waterfall when powered equipment is not available. They slide the rocks onto a piece of underlayment and utilize 3 to 4 team members to help carry the rocks into place. The underlayment acts as a sling to help lift and move the boulders without straining or injuring the team members’ backs.

Another great tool Art of the Yard utilizes during this build is a rock dolly to move rocks and boulders long distances. But, if you don’t have access to a rock dolly, the underlayment tip is an easy way to get around it!

Want to be featured in the next A-O Pro Tip Video?

Do you have some unique and help tips and tricks on installing water features? We’re looking for the next A-O Pro to be featured in our video series and we want to visit you! Tell us what upcoming water feature builds you have planned and what A-O Pro tips you have for us and we’ll send someone from the Atlantic-OASE team out to video you and your work!

Contact your Regional Sales Manager to learn more on the A-O Pro Series. Not sure who your Regional Sales Manager is? Contact us at marketing@atlantic-oase.com

Stay tuned for more A-O Pro Tips here on the blog and don’t forget to follow us on Instagramand subscribe to our YouTube so you don’t miss out on all the Learn From The A-O Pro’s videos!


About the Author:

Caitlyn Winkle

After graduating from the University of Akron, Caitlyn joined Atlantic-OASE in the fall of 2019. Caitlyn manages the social media and online content for the company. She also supports the Atlantic-OASE Professional Contractor (APC) Program and Marketing Departments in creating marketing and advertising strategies and plans.

A-O Pro Tip – Installing a Copper Bowl with Art of the Yard

We’ve got another great tip to share with you from our new, Learn From The A-O Pro’s series! This is a video series hosted by Atlantic-OASE where our water feature contractors share their expertise in the field! We’re collecting all the helpful tips and tricks our contractors gave us while creating their water features and sharing them with you! This week’s A-O Pro Tip: Installing a Copper Bowl with a twist!

This tip comes from the build in the Sandbox at Atlantic-OASE’s headquarters in Aurora, Ohio. Contractors from Art of the Yard, Alpine Custom Hardscapes and Demi Fortuna, from his own company, August Moon Designs, came to Ohio to dig in the dirt to kick off the start of this new series. After the 5-day building palooza, they created 3 incredible water features including a pond and waterfall feature with a custom copper bowl fire feature, a pond-free waterfall and a formal fountain hardscape.

A-O Pro Tip #3 – Installing a Copper Bowl with Art of the Yard

The 3rd A-O Pro Tip of the series comes from Shane Hemphill from Art of the Yard. He explains how to install an Atlantic Copper Fountain Bowl with a unique illusion.

Watch the A-O Pro Tip video here!

Shane wanted to build his water feature with an Atlantic Copper Fountain Bowl flowing partially into the pond and partially on to the patio they created next to the pond. This illusion trick was done by over excavating the pond and creating a false wall inside the pond with wall block and Eco-Blox to set the Copper Fountain Bowl and the patio on top.

By creating a false wall, Art of the Yard was able to create a chamber to hide the Eco-Blox as well as all of the gas and plumbing lines for the Copper Bowl. The wall blocks also create the structure for the pavers or flagstone patio to cantilever over the pond edge. When installing the patio, they added a slight pitch back towards the Copper Bowl to ensure no leaks.

When creating this water feature, it’s possible to either tee off your existing waterfall system from the Skimmer to bring water to the Copper Bowl or install an AquaMax Eco Premium pump or a TT4000 pump into the bottom of the pond to supply water to the Copper Bowl. In this build, Art of the Yard used a TT4000.

Pond and waterfall with a Copper Fountain Bowl and fire feature flowing into the pond

This water feature is also unique in that Art of the Yard also attached a custom fire feature to the Atlantic Copper Bowl. The fire feature includes a check valve for protection in case rain or wind puts out the fire. It will automatically cut off the gas supply to create a safe installation. 

This fire feature can be ran with propane or natural gas. Contact Art of the Yard to help you design a fire feature to enhance your Copper Bowl. 

Fire and water Copper Fountain Bowl design drawing

Want to be featured in the next A-O Pro Tip Video?

Do you have some unique and help tips and tricks on installing water features? We’re looking for the next A-O Pro to be featured in our video series and we want to visit you! Tell us what upcoming water feature builds you have planned and what A-O Pro tips you have for us and we’ll send someone from the Atlantic-OASE team out to video you and your work!

Contact your Regional Sales Manager to learn more on the A-O Pro Series. Not sure who your Regional Sales Manager is? Contact us at marketing@atlantic-oase.com

Stay tuned for more A-O Pro Tips here on the blog and don’t forget to follow us on Instagram and subscribe to our YouTube so you don’t miss out on all the Learn From The A-O Pro’s videos!


About the Author:

Caitlyn Winkle

After graduating from the University of Akron, Caitlyn joined Atlantic-OASE in the fall of 2019. Caitlyn manages the social media and online content for the company. She also supports the Atlantic-OASE Professional Contractor (APC) Program and Marketing Departments in creating marketing and advertising strategies and plans.

A-O Pro Tip – Hiding FallsFoam in Water Features with Alpine Custom Hardscapes

Continuing our new series, Learn From The A-O Pro’s! We have a new A-O Pro Tip video for the series where our water feature contractors share their expertise in the field! We’re collecting all the helpful tips and tricks our contractors gave us while creating their water features and sharing them with you! Our second A-O Pro Tip: hiding Atlantic FallsFoam in your water features!

Today’s tip is another great video from the build here in the Atlantic-OASE Sandbox with contractors from Art of the Yard, Alpine Custom Hardscapes, Demi Fortuna, owner of August Moon Designs. Ryan Winter from Alpine Custom Hardscapes is the star of the tip today!

A-O Pro Tip #2 – Hiding FallsFoam in Water Features

Our second A-O Pro Tip of the series comes from Ryan Winter, owner of Alpine Custom Hardscapes in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He shows us a great tip when using Atlantic FallsFoam.

Watch the A-O Pro Tip here!

Ryan explains a simple but great tip for hiding the FallsFoam in your waterfall. He tells us to let the foam get a little tacky after spraying it down, then spread and pat down dirt over top of the foam to get the dirt to stick to the foam. When the waterfall is turned on, the water will wash away the excess dirt and leave a natural look of dirt in the waterfall stream.

*Reminder* Be careful while using FallsFoam – ALWAYS use eye protection and WEAR GLOVES! Foam Gun Cleaner LF1325 will dissolve foam only while foam is still wet. Once dry, FallsFoam is VERY difficult to remove from skin and clothes! Also, be sure to clean your Foam Gun with Foam Gun Cleaner when you remove the empty foam can. This will prevent the foam from drying inside the gun which would render it unusable.

Want to be featured in the next A-O Pro Tip Video?

Do you have some unique and helpful tips and tricks on installing water features? We’re looking for the next A-O Pro to be featured in our video series and we want to visit you! Tell us what upcoming water feature builds you have planned and what A-O Pro tips you have for us and we’ll send someone from the Atlantic-OASE team out to video you and your work!

Contact your Regional Sales Manager to learn more on the A-O Pro Series. Not sure who your Regional Sales Manager is? Contact us at marketing@atlantic-oase.com

Stay tuned for more A-O Pro Tips here on the blog and don’t forget to follow us on Instagram and subscribe to our YouTube so you don’t miss out on all the Learn From The A-O Pro’s videos!


About the Author:

Caitlyn Winkle

After graduating from the University of Akron, Caitlyn joined Atlantic-OASE in the fall of 2019. Caitlyn manages the social media and online content for the company. She also supports the Atlantic-OASE Professional Contractor (APC) Program and Marketing Departments in creating marketing and advertising strategies and plans.

Introducing: The Learn From The A-O Pro’s Series!

Introducing the latest project happening at Atlantic-OASE: The Learn From The A-O Pro’s Series! In this new series we meet with some of our most valued contractors to learn how they work. We get to see the behind the scenes, in-action, tips and tricks for how they build their water features!

What is The Learn From The A-O Pro’s Program? 

Learn From The A-O Pro's Logo

The Learn From The A-O Pro’s series is a new video program at Atlantic-OASE where contractors share their expertise in the field. Once a year, we will be selecting contractors to come build in our new SandBox to show us how they create beautiful and unique water features. 

Throughout the rest of the year, we want to visit you at your builds! Tell us what awesome projects you have planned and we’ll send someone from the Atlantic-OASE team to come visit you! Big or small water features, we want to video all your tips and tricks for how you build. 

Building in the SandBox

Art of the Yard, Alpine Custom Hardscapes, August Moon Designs and Atlantic-OASE staff in front of a pond-free waterfall

To kick off the first year of the Learn From The A-O Pro’s Series, we were joined by contractors from Art of the Yard, Alpine Custom Hardscapes and August Moon Designs to come build in The SandBox. 

Art of the Yard, Alpine Custom Hardscapes, August Moon Designs and Atlantic-OASE staff standing in a formal fountain hardscape

Together in a 5-day long demonstration of building techniques, our APC’s (Atlantic-OASE Professional Contractors) created 3 incredible water features. A unique designed hardscape area with combined Atlantic and OASE products. An outstanding Pond-free feature and a one-of-a-kind pond and waterfall showcasing a Copper Bowl with custom fire feature. 

We videoed the entire event and grabbed some helpful water feature tips and tricks to share with you! Watch the introduction to our series below. We gathered some of those tips in our first video but, the full version of each tip will be in coming soon in other videos! Visit our Instagram and YouTube for more coming soon!

Want to be an A-O Pro?

Are you a pro at installing Atlantic-OASE products? Do you have some great tips and tricks to share with other contractors? We want you to be an A-O Pro and feature your projects in our next Learn From the A-O Pro’s video! Tell us what upcoming water feature builds you have planned and we’ll send someone from the Atlantic-OASE team out to video you as you work and get some great A-O Tips along the way!

Contact your Regional Sales Manager to learn more on the A-O Pro Series. Not sure who your Regional Sales Manager is? Contact us at marketing@atlantic-oase.com

What To Expect?

We want to come out and film you and your team at the job site! What will you expect when a member of that Atlantic-OASE team comes to visit? This is what you can expect for each A-O Pro’s event:

  • We’ll film video of you and your team working on your water feature project
  • Film your A-O Pro tips while your project is underway
  • Shoot photos of the completed water feature
  • Film a fireside chat with our Atlantic-OASE staff about your business

Along with the photo and video content, which we’ll give to you after we’ve edited it, contractors will also receive:

  • A complimentary TT-Series Pump or your choice (TT7500 or lower)
  • A Learn From The A-O Pro’s Series custom jacket
  • Photo & video content from your build
  • Social Media exposure for your business

Stay tuned for more blogs on the new Learn From The A-O Pro’s Series and read more great water feature articles here!


About the Author:

Caitlyn Winkle

After graduating from the University of Akron, Caitlyn joined Atlantic-OASE in the fall of 2019. Caitlyn manages the social media and online content for the company. She also supports the Atlantic-OASE Professional Contractor (APC) Program and Marketing Departments in creating marketing and advertising strategies and plans.

Tools That Don’t Suck: Flag Dolly

As water feature installers, my sons and I are used to hard, dirty and sometimes dangerous work. We enjoy what we do, whether it’s digging ponds, plumbing pumps, rolling boulders or tweaking waterfalls. We also value anything that makes the job faster, easier or more fun. We’re always looking for tools, apps or gadgets that save time & effort, eliminate stress, add to our comfort on the job or are just fun to use. Often a buddy will turn us on to one. I’d like to return the favor by passing our favorite Tools That Don’t Suck along to you. 

Sometimes the perfect tool doesn’t exist, so you have to make it. I’m reminded of Lloyd Lightsey’s answer to the perennial problem of leaving the brand new pond as clean as possible so the customer gets that perfect first impression. Not easy to do with rocks that always seem to be covered in magic clay – you know, the stuff you think was washed off that instantly dirties up the pond even after two rinses. Well, Lloyd took matters into his own hands and built a ‘trummel’ to wash his gravel spotless before installing. Ask him about it sometime, definitely a TTDS.

We had a situation that demanded a totally new tool at the job we’ve been working on whenever quarantine has allowed. I don’t say that lightly; we actually got chased out when the Governor closed down the entire state to New Yorkers March 28 – by the National Guard! When restrictions eased, we went back to finish, and ran into a problem. Our customer had asked for a bridge or peninsula over a tiny watercourse at the foot of a natural stone bluff. All machine access had been cut off. The stone we wanted to use wasn’t massive, but a triangle five feet on a side, almost four inches thick, weighs over five hundred pounds.

(You might be interested in how we calculated the weight of the stone. The way we figured it, it’s the area of a triangle – ½ Height x Base, or in this case the crazy formula for an equilateral triangle. You can look that one up. Either way, it works out to over 10 square feet, times the thickness at 3.6”/12”  = 3 cubic feet, times 170lbs per cubic foot for granite = 510 lbs)

The challenge was, we had to travel 150 feet through a long narrow trellised garden, then take a hard right through a narrow gate. There wasn’t enough room to put four men, or even three on it, and there were only two of us on site anyway. We had to come up with another way.

Enter the Flag Dolly. Like most useful tools, it’s very simple – four wheelbarrow tires bolted to a 4×4 chassis. I drilled the 4×4 to accommodate two 5×8”x18” threaded rods for the axles, then bolted on a pair of filled puncture proof tires, so the dolly could be tilted backwards for turns without deflating. I bolted two air filled tires to the ‘front’ of the 4×4, to absorb any shocks from holes and cobblestone borders we had to traverse.

Loading turned out to be easier than anticipated, after we managed to get the horizontal flag vertical, which wasn’t fun but eminently doable. Then we rotated the vertical stone forward onto the carefully placed and braced dolly. Once placed, moving the stone actually went quite smoothly. By the end of the run I was confident enough to have my man Kevin let go long enough to shoot a short video.

Necessity is one heck of a mother.


About the Author:

DEMI FORTUNA

Demi has been in water garden construction since 1986. As Atlantic’s Director of Product Information, if he’s not building water features, he’s writing or talking about them. If you have a design or construction question, he’s the one to ask.

Tools That Don’t Suck: Kneeling Pad

As water feature installers, my sons and I are used to hard, dirty and sometimes dangerous work. We enjoy what we do, whether it’s digging ponds, plumbing pumps, rolling boulders or tweaking waterfalls. We also value anything that makes the job faster, easier or more fun. We’re always looking for tools, apps or gadgets that save time and effort, eliminate stress, add to our comfort on the job or are just fun to use. Often a buddy will turn us on to one. I’d like to return the favor by passing our favorite Tools That Don’t Suck along to you.

After years of kneeling there are certain accessories we don’t even think about working without. We take them for granted, but maybe they actually rise to level of a TTDS (Tools That Don’t Suck). For example, these photos show the pocket I’m in – sharp rock, no flat spots, all points and ridges. I’m working down the wall and across the bottom, attaching liner to rock. There’s no way to avoid kneeling, and your knees wouldn’t last a minute unprotected. The solution that we found our way to, maybe you did too? Is double knee pants and kneeling pads.

We like pads with yellow stripes on the back, look for a “23-in x 11.5-in Foam Kneeling Pad”, for just twelve bucks. You can find all kinds and brands of foam kneeling pads out there but if you want to find one easily Lowe’s sells them here. These pads get a workout. Constantly underfoot, so to speak, they get stomped and rolled over by every tool and fool on the property. They hold up to a surprising amount of abuse before they tear, and we keep using the pieces until they shred.

Now sure, I have worn about six different kindsa strap-on knee pads, with long pants and shorts, in winter and summer, and always had trouble with either slippage or irritation to the back of the knee. This makes perfect sense. Either they’re loose enough to be comfortable and they slip, or they’re tight and they rub. Not any more. These days I wear Craftsman double knee cotton duck pants and throw a pad or two down. I know, sounds sweaty, but I’m actually comfortable in 80-degree weather (with a breeze), unless they get wet.

So, I want to hear what you use to kneel on sharp rock. Are you a kneeling pad fan, or do you prefer traditional kneepads with straps? Sound off below in the comments!


About the Author:

DEMI FORTUNA

Demi has been in water garden construction since 1986. As Atlantic’s Director of Product Information, if he’s not building water features, he’s writing or talking about them. If you have a design or construction question, he’s the one to ask.

Atlantic-OASE Staff Picks: Three-Way Diverter

When our Social Media Director, Caitlyn, asked me to jot down something on a favorite product, I realized it might not be as simple a task as it sounds. There are so many Atlantic products that I personally find literally extraordinary, as in “beyond the ordinary.” I’m not alone. Contractors, especially those with little experience with our line, usually notice that our FastFalls, FilterFalls, Skimmers and Basins are all built a little differently than everyone else’s.

Thinking back, I remembered the first time I saw an AWG product that was definitely out of the ordinary. It was at the Winter Workshop for Pond Professionals in Lawrence, Kansas, presented by Water’s Edge, a deceptively small water garden specialty distributor that punches waaaay above its weight. Deb Spencer and Susan Davis have quietly promoted the highest ideals, standards and education in water gardening for decades. The Workshop presented the latest trends in water features to contractors from all over the country. Brandon Dwyer, the new product development guy at AWG, was doing the Pond-free presentation. I was pleasantly surprised when he asked me for info about my (competing) product line to include in his presentation. We started jazzing about a couple of his current projects. He waxed deservedly enthusiastic about his revolutionary new check valve and asks if I’d like to take a look at what he called a three-way diverter.

A little background, I had just built a small fountain requiring multiple water returns for a customer. The valved manifold I constructed separated the flow from the 1½” outlet on the pump to three ¾” spouts. It cost me $40 in fittings: two tees, two elbows, three close nipples, three reducing bushings, three valves and three barbed adapters. It took me 45 minutes to cut and glue, ended up 14” wide, was impossible to hide and looked like hell.

So, this thin, well-spoken bespectacled young man reaches into the bag on his shoulder, pulls out this polished piece of black plastic with two red handles and asks my opinion. My first thought is, I’ve met Skinny Santa Claus, and I musta been good, because this is a gift of genius. He’s stuffed an 1½” threaded inlet, three valves and three ¾” barbed outlets into a single fitting the size of my fist. I would be lying if I said I was impressed; I flat flipped out. This Brandon was not only thinking up terrific new products for contractors, he was actually building them!

Years before I landed at Atlantic, I knew I wanted to work with the skinny dude.

Still do.

By the way, those FastFalls, FilterFalls, Skimmers and Basins that are all built a little differently from everyone else’s? Right outta the same bag.


About the Author:

DEMI FORTUNA

Demi has been in water garden construction since 1986. As Atlantic’s Director of Product Information, if he’s not building water features, he’s writing or talking about them. If you have a design or construction question, he’s the one to ask.

Taking Koi Pond Building into the Future

With the new merger between Atlantic and OASE one concern always comes up, “will my OASE pump survive in the bottom of a pond?” 

I completely understand the concern about a pump in the bottom of the pond because traditionally in the US it has only spelled disaster. On the other hand, in Europe they’ve been building ponds for many years this way. They find it weird that the US uses large skimmers and FilterFalls to build our water features. One of the big advantages our company and OASE saw when discussing the merger was the opportunity to change how ponds would be constructed around the world.  

The American way of building ponds is what we’ve typically seen from Atlantic and other companies in the US. We utilize a skimmer to protect our pumps and to pull and trap the debris that floats on the top of the water. From there, the pump pushes water up to a FilterFalls where beneficial bacteria treats the water, removing toxins. But this still leaves one area untreated: we don’t ever touch anything on the bottom of the pond. The black muck that develops on the bottom of the pond has to be removed, typically via draining and mucking out the bottom by hand. Some contractors install bottom drains to easily flush everything out, but whether they pump it out or drain it down, basically they have to do a full restart of the pond year after year.  

The European way has been quite the opposite. They have designed and engineered their pumps to sit at the very bottom of the pond and have them pick up and push fish waste back to a UV/Filtration system that polishes the water. With the fish waste and debris going through the pump up to their filter systems that are cleaning the water, they do not see the need for a FilterFalls. The downside to this is they must use pond nets to clean the debris off the top of the water and are restricted in the types of water falls they can build because their pumps aren’t designed to do high flow at high head heights.  

The A-O merger presents an opportunity to bring both our practices together by incorporating the best aspects of each design. We now are building ponds with a skimmer to pull debris off the top of the water while also allowing us to build great falls using our FastFalls. Then, we are utilizing the OASE “Clear Water Guarantee” system by incorporating their pumps in the bottom of the pond feeding their filters that clean and polish your water. The result is a pond that can be customized to the highest level, cleaning and polishing the water without the need to ever fully drain your pond again. With the OASE PondoVac, we can go in and suck out leaves and debris that settles at the bottom that can’t pass through the pump to get to the filter. As for cleaning the filter, it’s as easy as turning a knob and flushing out the system twice a year, so easy you can do it in a suit and tie.  

And as for concerns about the pump at the bottom of the pond. These pumps are specifically designed to handle everything that a pond throws at it and they’ve been doing it for many years! 

This YouTube video made by a homeowner, who installed a brand new OASE system, shows all the mud and debris that was being put into the filter and how well the system works on day 1!

That is exactly what we want to see happening. It means we are cleaning the pond from top to bottom, unlike in the past when we, here in the States, would only clean from the top. OASE pumps are designed to deliver the debris from the pump to the filter system by utilizing a large intake pre-filter and Environmental Function Control (EFC), which will shut off the pump if it’s running dry or freezes or clogs (which takes a lot), to prevent pump damage. The large surface area of the wrap-around pre-filter allows small particles to pass through. It’s designed for water flow all around the pump, giving it multiple surface areas for the pump to pull water from. The pump also features a coated magnetic rotor for adverse water conditions and a proprietary grounding plate for unparalleled safety. These things make the pump very resilient from ever burning itself out or breaking.  

As Atlantic-OASE continues to grow we want to continue to push the envelope on how our industry creates incredible water features. Our company feels that we have an opportunity to define what a top of the line Koi pond should be built like and give our customers the best possible design available in the industry. We hope you will join us in creating state of the art water features that will be hassle free and allow anyone to enjoy a beautiful pond in their backyard! 


About the Author:

Kyle Weemhoff

Kyle is Atlantic-OASE Southwest Regional Manager and has been in the role for the past 3+ years. He started off working in the manufacturing facilities and shipping department. Kyle is a Koi dad and loves sitting out by his water feature with a cold beer. 

Tools That Don’t Suck: Kershaw SpeedSafe Pocket Knives

As water feature installers, my sons and I are used to hard, dirty and sometimes dangerous work. We enjoy what we do, whether it’s digging ponds, plumbing pumps, rolling boulders or tweaking waterfalls. We also value anything that makes the job faster, easier or more fun. We’re always looking for tools, apps or gadgets that save time & effort, eliminate stress, add to our comfort on the job or are just fun to use. Often a buddy will turn us on to one. I’d like to return the favor by passing our favorite Tools That Don’t Suck along to you.

I won’t leave home without a pocketknife unless I’m going through Security. I’ve had dozens over the years, starting with my trusty Buck 110, the old school model with ebony wood scales. They all shared the same drawback; they were difficult, or impossible, to open safely with one hand. I tried going to fixed blades, but standard side sheaths were bulky and very noticeable. Cross draw sheaths, set horizontally on the belt at the small of the back, seemed menacing. These might not have presented too much of a problem on the worksite but both were certainly less than optimal in any formal setting. The same could be said of the one automatic knife I brought back from Italy. That raised eyebrows everywhere.

A few years ago I discovered Kershaw SpeedSafe knives. The assisted opening system, a beautifully engineered internal spring, allows a small flipper tab on the top of the blade to quickly open the knife with the touch of a finger. It is NOT an automatic knife, a switchblade or anything illegal; the spring just helps the knife open, safely, with one hand. The system is available on a multitude of models, some pricey, some very inexpensive.

I am a huge fan. I own a number of Kershaws, choosing between them depending on what I’ll be doing that day. My current favorite for field work is the sturdy, somewhat heavy Freefall tanto style blade. The textured scales offer a good grip even in wet hands, while the sturdy edge is easily sharpened and stands up to abuse.

At the office or going out I really like the lightweight Zing, which I find as attractive as it is functional. It is hardly noticeable when parked in my right front pocket, but always at hand when I need to open a package or share an apple. One last point that has kept me from getting into too much trouble with my very patient but always budget conscious better half, Susan. Many Kershaw blades retail for less than $35, including the two mentioned here. At work or play, Kershaw SpeedSafe knives definitely qualify as Tools That Don’t Suck.

Want to see more Tools That Don’t Suck by Demi? Read all about the DMT Diamond Sharpener for your knives or read more of his articles here!


About the Author:

DEMI FORTUNA

Demi has been in water garden construction since 1986. As Atlantic’s Director of Product Information, if he’s not building water features, he’s writing or talking about them. If you have a design or construction question, he’s the one to ask.

Tools That Don’t Suck – DMT Diamond Sharpener

Here’s a clever little tool that I don’t like to be without, at home or on the jobsite. I bought the Diamond Mini Sharp at the counter at Bissett, one of my favorite landscape suppliers here on Long Island. I needed something to touch up my Felcos (another Tool That Doesn’t Suck!) The pruners were too dull for the triangular ceramic rod to touch up, and the Mini was small enough to work the blade, so I bought the blue Coarse grit model. I remember it was under $20. I figured it wouldn’t last long but I’d probably get my money’s worth.

That had to be over 20 years ago. Not only does it still work, it hardly shows any wear. Over the years it has migrated from my keychain to my shoulder bag, as the keys have multiplied and my time in the field lessened, but I still keep it close by. 

I wanted to see what DMT said about the Mini, so I checked out the website www.dmtsharp.com. For all you tech geeks who like to know the details, like I do, what makes this little sharpener special are “micronized monocrystalline diamonds, precisely sized for a more uniform diamond surface.” According to DMT, other diamond surfaces typically offer “the lesser grade poly-crystalline diamond. Mono-crystalline is like an ice cube made up of one particle holding its form while poly-crystalline is like a snow-cone made up of many small particles that get sheared off during use.”

Okay, I can believe ice cubes sharpen better than snow cones. DMT also touts its manufacturing process assures the most diamonds per square inch in the industry, providing a more durable sharpening surface.

Well, after all these years, I can attest to its durability.

But what about the polka dots? you ask. Turns out the “Interrupted Diamond Surface” for which DMT is famous has slightly recessed holes that will collect metal fines (swarf) removed during sharpening to prevent loading.

Gotta love those dots. And here’s the kicker – it costs less now than I paid way back then! After all these years, it’s available online for only $8.95 plus shipping. Truly a Tool That Don’t Suck. I think I’m gonna go buy one of the big models for my kitchen knives.

For more Tools That Don’t Suck, check out some more of Demi’s articles! Cordless (Liner) Trimmers, Hypath Bags, Wiss W10TM Scissors, and many more!


About the Author:

DEMI FORTUNA

Demi has been in water garden construction since 1986. As Atlantic’s Director of Product Information, if he’s not building water features, he’s writing or talking about them. If you have a design or construction question, he’s the one to ask.