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Is it possible to buy a good shovel?

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  • RB211
    replied
    Originally posted by QSIMDO View Post

    They used to catch out inexperienced laborers that way.
    "Hey, want to learn how to run a PH?"
    The newbie, thinking it was a P&H crane, always said "YEAH!"
    He'd get handed a shovel and told "Here you go. A Pine Handle!"
    Don't get me wrong, I love manual labor. Last few days home I was clearing a lot of trees and logs. First day at work sitting around a hotel room, my body was jonesing for hard manual labor, was craving it.

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  • QSIMDO
    replied
    Originally posted by RB211 View Post
    I thought the best shovels are hydraulic operated?
    They used to catch out inexperienced laborers that way.
    "Hey, want to learn how to run a PH?"
    The newbie, thinking it was a P&H crane, always said "YEAH!"
    He'd get handed a shovel and told "Here you go. A Pine Handle!"

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  • QSIMDO
    replied
    Originally posted by Illinoyance View Post
    There is no such thing as a good shovel or a bad p.......... .
    Amen!

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  • RB211
    replied
    Originally posted by Tungsten dipper View Post

    This comes from a man who flies a hydraulic operated plane.
    I like my toys.

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  • challenger
    replied
    I dig a good shovel.
    Sorry.

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  • Tungsten dipper
    replied
    Originally posted by RB211 View Post
    I thought the best shovels are hydraulic operated?
    This comes from a man who flies a hydraulic operated plane.

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  • RB211
    replied
    I thought the best shovels are hydraulic operated?

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  • nickel-city-fab
    replied
    Originally posted by PStechPaul View Post
    [SIZE=14px]
    I also have an even older shovel that may have belonged to my grandfather in Germany, so perhaps 1920's vintage:
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    ... now *that* is a good shovel handle! I like it! I would apply some boiled linseed oil with steel wool, all over it once a year and enjoy the heck out of it.

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  • PStechPaul
    replied
    These shovels seem to be pretty good:



    About a year ago Suburban Ace Hardware had a sale on yard tools something like two for $30, and I bought a pretty nice shovel and rake. They have fairly fat red fiberglass handles with foam rubber grip, but I like them.

    I replaced the handle on one old shovel, by removing the rotten broken part and whittling the remainder to fit.


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    I also have an even older shovel that may have belonged to my grandfather in Germany, so perhaps 1920's vintage:
    Click image for larger version

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  • Norm W
    replied
    You might check with any Amish or Mennonites in your area for handles. They use the blades or hammer heads till the metal is gone. I sure some of the tools have been through many handles and probably generations. The ones that have a carpentry shop would know. They would make handles for "Use".

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  • Moxiedad2001
    replied
    Thank you for those links, lynnl. I recently had to make an ash handle for a unique hammer head I picked up at an antique store. Not octagonal, as someone above suggested, but nicely hexagonal. I think it's going to be my go-to hammer for small items. Maybe I didn't look hard enough for something on the market that would have worked. Unfortunately, ash handles are soon to be a thing of the past because of the emerald ash borer. Too bad because ash is such a beautiful wood and perfect for some purposes that no other wood will serve so well.

    Now, to check out some of those shovel recommendations. Unfortunately, A.M. Leonard is off the list. I have one of those, and I would have to start over as an 18-year-old before I MIGHT find it handy to use.

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  • lynnl
    replied
    Originally posted by true temper View Post
    The sad thing is a good handle will cost more than a cheap shovel. .
    Probably somewhere out there is some small time handle maker from whom one could get a nice handle at a reasonable price. I've always been partial to octagonal hammer handles, and several years ago I bought a few (hickory of course) from some handle maker in Tennessee. Don't remember how I stumbled on that source.

    I have an old shovel, just the blade and curved handle shank - no handle, that my dad had acquired sometime after I left home. Someone, with considerable black smithing skills, at some point made three wraps around the shank with about 3/16 or 1/4" wire or rod, and then applied a twist, like a bread twist tie to tighten the shank around a handle. Whoever did it was very good. The turns are perfectly smooth and lay nice and tight against each other. The wire or rod was almost certainly red hot when wrapped, and then tightened as it cooled. I guess money and resources were scarce, because the blade has at least an inch worn from the tip. The original pointed end now is a flat of about two or three inches. Now completely rust covered, it was obviously a quality item back in its day.

    (added)
    Here would be one source for wood handles. Don't know about prices, but you might be surprised (pleasantly):
    https://tennesseehickory.com/contact.shtml

    Here's another (Think this was my hammer handle source; I remember the name Sequatchie): http://hickoryhandle.blogspot.com/20...ufacturer.html
    Last edited by lynnl; 05-18-2020, 07:17 PM.

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  • true temper
    replied
    The sad thing is a good handle will cost more than a cheap shovel. I have been tempted to buy a shovel throw the blade in the scrap and put the handle in a good one.

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  • Dan Dubeau
    replied
    Went through this when we bought our place in 2010 and I needed my own yard tools. Spent more money on a shovel than I want to admit after looking through quite a few, and it broke within a few uses. Have replaced it, and picked up many more at yard sales and auctions over the years and some are probably older than I am. Check for straight grain on the handle, the grain orientation (perpendicular to cutting edge), and whether it's hardwood or soft wood. Fast growing softwood with wonky grain makes terrible handles. Unfortunately that's what populates the shelves as every box store out there. Although i don't do it as often as I should, keep it sharp. I try and avoid as much hand digging as I can though .

    I've always been a traditional wood guy for anything. Tool handles, gun stocks, etc, but I have to say I've been really impressed with my fiskars composite handled axe I bought a few years ago. I thought they were all hype, buy am a convert now. I wonder if they make shovel like that, or if it would have too much flex?

    My Dad is a yard sale hound, and spends his weekends out touring around. He's always on the lookout for me, and has found all kinds of gems for me over the years. I love it when he pulls in the driveway on a Saturday afternoon and heads straight to his tailgate to unload .

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  • sarge41
    replied
    Originally posted by lynnl View Post
    Long ago there was a line of hardware that I always thought of as good quality, "Blue Grass." Anybody else remember that name? I'm pretty sure they were out of Louisville, KY. I don't know that it was necessarily an absolute top end brand, never really thought about it that way back then.
    The Blue Grass line of tools was a line of tools from the Belknap Hardware company in Louisville, Ky. At one time they owned the tallest building in Louisville. They were a major competitor of Sears and Montgomery Ward. Went belly up sometime in the 1980's.

    Sarge41

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