Friday, September 09, 2005

I Hate My Wheelbarrow

I don’t like my wheelbarrow. When I caught the gardening bug last spring, I bought the middle-of-the-line, plastic-tray model. I scoffed at the Home Depot's offer to assemble it (and the extra $20 bucks). I put my own wheelbarrow together on a brisk, but sunny day in March.

Ever since its assembly, it has schemed to fall apart on me. Despite my best wrenching, the blasted nuts are eternally working free of the bolts. At first, the shiny metal nut would catch my eye and I’d reattach it. However, either the nuts or my eyes have dimmed, because I’ve completely lost two of them. Now, when I lift the wheelbarrow handles, half of the wheel assembly dangles free. I can buy more nuts, but the situation is just annoying. I can’t help wondering whether a Home Depot-assembled wheelbarrow would have remained intact.

I also find a wheelbarrow rather tippy. When fully loaded with dirt, it takes skill and strength to keep it from capsizing as I run it over our bumpy side yard. I’ve found myself lustily eyeing gardening carts. Still, I must admit that, tippy as it may be, maneuvering a wheelbarrow through a tight spot is probably easier than a cart.

Finally, I’m not sure if plastic is the ideal material for the tray of a wheelbarrow. I’ve had no problems yet, but it buckles alarmingly when fully loaded and I’m always worried that one day I’ll put the hoe right through the plastic. Metal seems more durable, but I suppose it is heavier.

I spent fifty bucks on this piece of crap, so I suppose I’ll simply replace the nuts (and ask my husband to tighten them) and wait for it to fall apart. Still, I can’t help but like the wheelbarrow when its cargo is Mr. Tibbs.


Blogger derek said...

I hate my wheelbarrow too. I broke the handle off of it because I overloaded it, and the bolts come loose. My neighbour has a contractors one, it's a lot more stable. Some loctite would fix the bolts. I made a new handle for mine out of scrap wood, it's hard to believe it's less than 2 years old.

2:35 PM  
Blogger amanda said...

Would lockwashers help this situation? Our next to middle of the line wheelbarrow came with these, but it was drilled incorrectly, so we took it back and paid the $20 for an assembled one. (I argued with Aaron that it was worth in b/c we'd already spent 2 hours trying to assemble the wheelbarrow).

2:47 PM  
Blogger Dianne said...

I have a garden cart that is all one piece and has numerous cracks in it but it's my favorite over the metal one my husband uses.

5:03 PM  
Blogger OldRoses said...

I have a metal wheelbarrow and even empty it is very tippy because of the weight. I only use it to carry oversize cargo. Any heavy stuff gets put into my daughter's old red wagon. Four wheels, low to the ground and it's easier to pull a wagon than push a wheelbarrow.

9:43 PM  
Blogger Paul Glowiak said...

Try using locknuts; you can get them at most hardware stores. They have a nylon insert that keeps them from loosening up.

Keep your eyes open at a garage or yard sale, too. We got ours at one, and it has lasted us about 5 years now. Sure, sometimes it gives me fits, but that's wheelbarrows for you.

Hello from Madison, Indiana!

11:22 AM  
Blogger portuguesa nova said...

Okay, I try to avoid yard work at all costs, but I have often thought that if we have men on the moon we could come up with something a little bit better than the wheelbarrow.

12:38 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

Yep. Locknuts.


I have a Rubbermaid plastic tub-style wheelbarrow/cart... It's equally awkward to push (the placement of the arms and the shortness of the handle makes it hard to lift and get moving) Mark hates it with passion, and we got a standard wheelbarrow for him.

But I find that it is a little workhorse. I paid less than $40 at the end of the summer, and if I use it to destruction, I'll be fully satisfied that I got my money's worth. I've hauled monster rocks that I couldn't lift, even, by tipping it on it's side and levering the rock in.

Worth looking at, if your wheelbarrow woes get too much for you!

7:32 AM  
Blogger Jenn said...

MMm. Should add I've had it for over five years and it's just starting to look a bit rusty around the wheels...

7:33 AM  
Anonymous Sara said...

And to think I was just bitching and moaning about the World's Sorriest Wheelbarrow! It came with the house - hell, it might DATE to the house (and the house is 77 years old). It's extraordinarily rusty, it hurts my hands, and its tire isn't the inflatable sort. It's very tippy. But it's been hauling lots and lots of peat around for me, even if it did give me a nasty scrape on the knee on Saturday that will probably give me lockjaw and kill me. Even so, it stays assembled - it has to, I'm sure it's rusted together.

1:45 PM  
Blogger crazygramma said...

I am so cheap that I use oversized buckets that once held laundry soap. And can you believe it they even tip when fully loaded.

8:58 PM  
Blogger Kathy said...

Wheelbarrows are made for people with good upper body strength. That single wheel in the front is an advantage in making sharp turns and maneuvering around objects, but if you don't have the strength to control it, yes, it is tippy. Also got to watch how you park it on a slope.

There's one or two metal bars that go across the handle end. On some wheelbarrows these attach with bolts, and in others there are just tabs fitting into slots. As you can imagine, the tab-and-slot arrangement isn't as sturdy. You never see it on a contractor grade wheelbarrow. We have two: a medium one that I use, and a much bigger capacity contractor grade that my older boys and husband use. They both have plastic tubs, which have lasted far longer than the metal pans of previous wheelbarrows. The most vulnerable part of our wheelbarrows is the tires, which too frequently go flat. A tube in the tire at least makes for a less expensive fix.

7:48 AM  
Blogger Robert O Ducharme said...

Google "Adaptable Transport" or visit and you will see a solution to all the complaints about wheelbarrows. I do not know why the likes of Rubbermaid, True Temper, Sears etc do not make a version of this.

4:19 AM  
Anonymous Robert Ducharme said...

You can also go to to see a way around all of the problems with wheelbarrows.

12:15 PM  
Anonymous Robert Ducharme said...

Whoops, the link should have been Please accept my apologies.

6:14 AM  

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