Way back in March of 2009 (at this blog posting) I introduced my Whizbang wheel hoe design to the world. I had worked out the specification details the summer before. I had put my new tool idea through the paces in my garden. It was, without a doubt, a simple and inexpensive, yet remarkably effective cultivating tool.
Over the winter of 2008, into the early months of 2009, I had a local fabricator cut the components for 250 wheel hoe kits. I took the parts to a local machine shop to precisely drill all the holes. I bought a metal bender and figured out how to bend the “blade arms” into the proper U-shape. I found a supplier of spring steel to make the stirrup blades, then had the material cut to size and hole-punched, before hand-sharpening the blades and bending them to shape. It was a lotta work!
In retrospect, I don’t know how I managed it. I was putting in my days at a full time job while also making and selling Whizbang chicken plucker parts. I was, of course a decade younger then, and I had a powerfully strong desire to build up a successful home-based business. A business that would pay the bills, so I could leave my wage-slave job in the city. That was my dream.
In 2013 the dream became a reality. I left the security of my job and came home to operate Planet Whizbang full time.
Those first 250 wheel hoe kits sold surprisingly fast. I wrote down the customer name and number of each wheel hoe I sold up to #716, which was sold in early 2015. Sales had slowed down by then with the introduction of the HOSS wheel hoe. The HOSS people put a LOT of money into magazine and online advertising. My advertising budget was next to nothing. Readers of my blog, Google searches, and word-of-mouth were the source of my sales. It was good enough for me as a small-scale maker, with a lot of other irons in the fire.
Now, at 63 years of age, I’m looking to get a little more margin in my life. Which is to say, I need to eliminate some things I’ve been doing so I can have time for other things I want to do. As I noted in a previous blog post, I’ll be getting out of the chicken plucker parts business in 2021, and I’ll also be getting out of the Whizbang wheel hoe business in 2021.
As I write this, I am doing what I need to do to get the last of my wheel hoe kits together. Here’s a picture (taken yesterday) of me grinding a bevel on a spring steel stirrup blade…
My goal is to have all the kits ready for sale on January 30, 2021. All the kits amounts to only around 60. They will be sold on a first come, first served basis at This Web Page. There is no waiting list to get on. Just mark your calendar and show up on the morning of the 30th if you want one of the last Planet Whizbang wheel hoes.
I will continue to sell pdf specifications for people who want to make their own Whizbang wheel hoe. And I plan to continue making and selling the tempered, spring-steel stirrup blades. They will be available at that same web page link on and after January 30, 2021.
This is a sad closure for me. I created this tool. I love this tool. It’s my baby.
But there is a time and a season for everything, and just because I won’t be offering these kits any more doesn’t mean my wheel hoe will disappear. The design is so simple and sturdy that the hoes out there now will last a lifetime. I’m sure that people will be using my design to make wheel hoes long after I’ve departed this realm. There is some satisfaction in that. 😊