Country Slovenia

Bronze tools - old knowledge for the future

Subtitle / abstract Reintroducing different traditional gardening tools to modern life as replicas made from bronze for sutainable farming. Tha way of transfer agroecological knowledge to every day life.
Domain of activity
  • Agriculture
Support of the practice documentation interview, video, website,other documents
Place of experiment Volčji potok, Slovenia
Description of experiment To study the transfer of traditional knowledge connected with gardening tools we had an interview with Gregor Kvasnik and his partner Tina the only producers of bronze tools in Slovenia. Five years ago they established small company and named it Osti jarej (very old Slovenian greeting meaning: "Be (stay) healthy, invigorated, vital" ).They represented their work and demonstrated the use of their tools in Arboretum Volčji potok, well known horticultural facility near Domžale Slovenia. Osti jarej" produces different models of bronze tools. Some of them are universal and others are reproductions of traditional gardening tools from different parts of Slovenia. They noticed that wide range of different versions of tools was used in the past. They looked for them on farms and in ethnological collections and museums. They studied their properties and have chosen three different types of hoes (zala, vesna , vida) to reproduce them in bronze. Traditional hand narrow sickle for weeding (slava - see attached video) was made according to old tool from enthnographc museum but old women still knew to use it. The reporduced some other types of gardening and field tools, garden knives, claws and a tiller in bronze. They also manufacture a reproduction of a kind of druid sickle (miroslav). The most interesting and innovative is a weeder (ljubica) with heart shaped cutting part. It was invented by inspiration by Tina and has interesting features. It can be used by both hands (right or left handed) and it enables user to go as near as possible to the plant not to damage it. The weeder is very popular since it is used as a present to passionate gardeners. More on:
More information Manufacturing of bronze tools is quite difficult because the most of technology, knowledge and understanding about what causes and how it works in plants and soil was lost. So lately they are bringing people back the information and knowledge about useful properties of copper alloys. Their tools are made from a copper alloy - bronze consisting of 94% copper and tin. The alloy is several times harder than iron and tools obtain the strength comparable to steel. Bronze garden tools are intended for use on cultured fertile soil for vegetable and flower gardens, flower beds, vineyards and parks. Some models are appropriate for cultivation of the fields. They recommend the use of copper tools to growers who are engaged in organic farming, permaculture and biodynamics. Due to their specific properties, bronze tools are kind to the soil and ensure careful care and rapid healing of the earth, as well as complementing organic and agro-homeopathic preparations. Copper has a beneficial effect on water retention in the soil and contributes to the quality of the soil and crops. Bronze tools have very low friction coefficient and are easy to use. This kind of tools were used during the "bronze age" and are very durable. More than ten different tools were presented and their use demonstrated and explained. Short videos were made about different tools and their use (one of videos is attatched as a document three different other videos are prepared - they can be used similar to video sequences presented in Methods and tools:
Fichier : bf_fichierjoint_Osti_jarej_Pralca.avi Download
Succes factor Study of traditional hand tools for gardening and weeding enabled authors to reintroduce different kinds of tools and reproduce them in bronze - old traditional material for tools and weapons. They gathered agroecological knowledge and konwledge of technology of bronze and combined them into innovative product siutable for sustanable farming practices. Tools are appropriate for use in organic, permaculture and biodinamic farming. Bronze tools have numerous beneficial properties for the user, plants and soil. One of imoprtant features is that has 30% less friction than iron and it is very easy to work with, also for elderly people (see user experience on the website). The tools don't gather dirt and are easy to clean. They are easy to manitain. Good experience with gardening tools are translated to tilling machines and ploughs for filed cultivation (ploughshares or entire ploughs covered with layer of bronze reduce fuel consumption of tractors). Some of tools are innovative, special in design and are appropriate as a gift for passionate gardeners. Authors represent their approach, knowledge and products through numerous presentations and demonstrations and transfer agroecological kowledge to different interested target gorups. Short videos made could be good tool in explaining agroecological practices.
Met difficulties Presentations could be somehow commercial, but authors are flexible and are reday to ephasise tradition, their experience, philosophy behind and old knowledges (agroecological point of their activity) to meet different audiences. A lot of people still don't know about beneficial properties of these tools and a lot of skepticism is still around.
Contact Gregor Kvasnik
Contact email
Address OSTI JAREJ, Tomaž Kvasnik s.p. Cesta svobode 16, SI-4240 Radovljica Phone: +386 40 217 191
Town Radovljica, Slovenia (46°20′33.06″N 14°10′19.48″E)
Author of the index card dr. Janko RODE
Author Structure Chamber of agriculture and forestry of Slovenia, Gospodinjska 6, SI-100 Ljubjana, SLOVENIJA
Author Email