This is an independent review following a free product which was gifted by the company. I was not paid to review the product, I offered a review in exchange for the product.
I found myself without a Hori Hori knife; I have to admit…I lost mine in the mud in the allotment last year. It is still nowhere to be found and I have missed it. I have a feeling it’s underneath the raised bed I built last year with my husband and it’s about 2ft deep in horse manure and compost, so there’s no getting that back. My old Hori Hori knife is a Niwaki so it was nice to have a comparison.
Normally, I just use my hands for weeding, but as the season creeps on, I am finding that I do have to pop on gloves occasionally to avoid the nettles and shards of glass that keep appearing out of the ground. So it turns out that I could really use a tool so I didn’t have to bother putting on gloves (yes, naughty!).
Firstly, I found the leather holster a really good addition to the knife. Having lost mine, I felt like I should be a bit more responsible with mine and actually use it as intended (which is very grown up of me, I must say). It unclips really easily, it’s sturdy and fits onto your belt. What I liked even more was that it came with the knife as standard and was within a really reasonable price for the both the knife and the leather holster.
The weight of the knife is comfortable. As a disabled gardener, I can often give up on certain tools due to the weight and prolonged use with the weight and feel being uncomfortable, but this I found to have a good and sturdy handle with a comfortable grip.
Upon getting the feel of it, I noticed that it had a serrated edge in addition to a smooth knife-like edge. The Niwaki blade I had only had smooth edges on both sides, so I did wonder whether this would have a noticeable difference. I like the depth markings on the other side, but I haven’t yet found a use for those as I wouldn’t necessarily use this for planting bulbs or planting out, although it could be very useful for sowing seeds. But never say never, I just haven’t got round to sowing many seeds recently that normally need such precision due to planting out everything I have been growing in Spring.
I thought I would put the Hori Hori to the test. I have a lot of weeds in difficult places. I started initially with a dandelion and after slicing through the soil, the plant and root came up fully intact. So I kept going, slicing under the roots and pulling them up. It even worked with creeping buttercup, which I was particularly happy about as the roots can be extremely challenging to get out whole. Couch grass came up with no problem in my cultivated soil, along with the roots, and allowed me to pull the remaining stolons out of the ground (for now!).
I found that young and new shoots of weed growth come out so easily with this knife and the weeds can be left to dry off on the surface of the soil. With tougher plants, the serrated edge was actually really useful. It sliced through comfrey very easily and allowed me to chop the plant down in chunks, whilst cutting it back and adding to the bucket to make feed. Very handy to do two jobs in one.
The edge of my beds and in between my paving slabs is a place where I struggle with the most as a hoe doesn’t quite cut it. I put the knife to the test on the corner of one of my beds which also houses paving on one side. Whereas previously, I would have pulled them out with my hands but using the knife, I managed to get the whole of the weeds out, root intact, and it looked tidier than ever.
I then moved on to another part of my patch where the weeds have grown on top of the surface of the mulch. These were a breeze to flick out gently and left them on the surface of the soil for the weeds to die off in the sun. These are a particular pet peeve of mine as the weeds have generated from the manure that’s on my soil.
For my last test, I tried cutting some mint with the edges of the blades. I found the long smooth edge to be quite blunt – that’s not to say that you cannot sharpen it yourself with a whetstone which is what I am going to do, but some people may not want or need a sharper large blade so I can see the appeal. It does cut cleanly through the soil without too much friction, so the smooth edge must be useful in that aspect. I ended up cutting the mint with the serrated side in the end. I wouldn’t normally use a Hori Hori for this but if it was the only tool on me, it would have been useful to have a sharper edge.
You can feel that the knife is reinforced with the stainless steel running through the rosewood handle. I feel like this is also a counterbalance for the size of the blade, and could bend easily otherwise. Rosewood, being the strong and hardy material that it is, also adds to a comfortable grip and that counterbalance to help manage its size. At first, the knife can seem very intimidating but I found that with a short session of usage, you get comfortable (and almost a bit daring!) with using it.
When the knife arrived in the post, I was really delighted by the lovely presentation. Complete with a handy carry bag, it was much more than I expected and I didn’t know whether it would live up to its presentation. I couldn’t quite believe that the leather holster came with it. I took it to college and my friend there ended up getting one after using it as one of my test subjects. (Permissions gained from said friend for the below photo).
I thought it only fair to review the product after prolonged use of it and can report that I find more and more uses for it. I have also found that it hasn’t faded in its durability and it’s more or less the same as how it came. I do think it’s a great gift and addition to the tool collection for any gardener.
The blades, holsters, and handles are customisable for an additional cost, which I thought was a nice touch and I am actually a little envious that mine isn’t customised.
There are many different uses for this all round Hori Hori. It’s definitely now a permanent part of my tool bag and I can’t imagine not having it on my belt or bench now – just be sure to take it off when you pop to the shops on the way home from the allotment.
***Important: All products sold by Japeto are for use as garden tools or for use in the garden. However some garden products including the Hori Hori Knife and Grafting knife could be classified as knives due to the fact they possess a blade. Japeto is not permitted to sell a knife or blade to any person under the age of 18. By placing an order for one of these items you are declaring that you are 18 years of age or over. These items must be used responsibly and appropriately***