May 20th, 2009

Manhandling the Garden Wand

I manhandled my cheap watering wand to death. After occasionally stepping on the wand and bending the aluminum tubing out of shape, it finally snapped in half when I leaned over the garden fence and used it to lift a gourd-filled vine back into place.

While browsing the gardening aisles of the local hardware stores for a replacement, I was disappointed that my options ranged from another cheaply made $10 aluminum wand to a cheaply made $30 plastic wand.

Not wanting to drop more money on something that wouldn’t last, I headed over to the plumbing aisle to see if I could make my own.

Building the Frankenwand:

With a few leftover parts from the broken wand, a little garage scrounging, and a couple of $3 plumbing adapters, I managed to put together a wand that should outlive me.

Plumbing parts for wand

Parts List: (shown left to right)

Note: Standard garden hoses and attachments have a 3/4″ thread.

The copper pipe is cut into two pieces. About 36 inches for the main handle and about 3 inches for the end. You can adjust for what’s comfortable – I made mine a little longer than standard wands so I don’t have to stoop down as much.

The valve sits between the wand and the hose and allows you control the flow right from the handle. I used the valve and spray head from the old wand, but both are available separately at nurseries and hardware stores. I also used the rubber grip from the old wand, but you could substitute a rubber bike handle if you can’t find a grip. The grip helps if the wand gets hot from sitting out in the sun.

Watering wand

Assembling the parts on the hose end.

Sweating the pipe

Sweating the pipe on the watering end. These copper fittings must be sweated to make a watertight seal. If you don’t have the tools for sweating copper pipe, you could substitute the copper pipe for PVC and the appropriate glue.

The finished wand

The finished frankenwand in action.

If you want to buy a wand, and avoid the cheap options from the local hardware store, check out this DRAMM professional model. I’ve noticed it in use at all of the local nurseries and it comes with a lifetime guarantee.