My new hoe has an identity crisis. I’ve heard of the three names mentioned above for this type of hoe, but Wikipedia also lists “oscillating”, “swivel”, “stirrup” and “Hula-Ho.” The original Dutch hoe is a flat piece of steel typically attached to a long handle on each side in a u-shaped fashion.
The flat piece of steel is angled to the shaft and usually both the front and back edges are sharpened so that the hoe will cut weeds on both the forward and backward stroke, thus the alternate name “scuffle hoe,” as you scuffle it forward and back. It’s meant to cut just below the surface of the soil. It seems that some of these hoes are only sharpened on the front edge, but I think that would limit it’s usefulness.
There is also a version with a narrow blade that is attached to a shaft in the middle of the blade. It can be used with the same action, only it wouldn’t cut in the middle on the pull stroke. I think that some people would claim that that is a real Dutch hoe and the others aren’t, but from what’s on the Internet I don’t think many people see it that way.
The modern incarnation of this hoe is described by all the other names. Essentially it is a U-shaped piece of steel attached to a handle, either through a solid attachment or some kind of attachment that allows a bit of a swivel motion. Here’s some pictures of mine –
Oddly enough I have never had a hoe like this as I have always used a regular Dego hoe, with a typical broad, flat blade, or a Warren hoe, with a triangular, pointed blade.
I took it out for a spin in the garden and it worked really well. I only got a row and a half weeded with the hoe before I suddenly realized the head was coming off the handle. One of the nuts holding it on had also fallen off, but luckily I was able to find it. All it needed was for the nuts to be tightened, which I did. By that time, though, I was ready to quit. This is a nice addition to the garden tool collection.