Broken Shovel Alert!

flowerbug

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I have proof that fiberglass deteriorates in the sun. It breaks down into tiny fibers that are nearly impossible to get out of your hands.

Wood breaks, yes, it isn't a big job for me to replace a wooden handle.
i've had interesting and painful experiences with fiberglass that i won't go on about here... i normally avoid it and all plastics for any exerior uses unless i know that item is going to eventually end up in the recycle bin.

i like that when wood/steel breaks it can be used for other things, recycled or left to rot and the worms/etc take care of it. fiberglass, the recycling people will not take it in the curbside bins, but i'm not sure if they'll take it at the transfer station when they have their drop off for toxic stuff and other odd materials like electronics.

a metal handle and blade at least can be recycled, we have at least one of those kind of shovels here. i don't use it often.

maybe some year they'll make ceramic alloy shovels that can be recycled and they can all be taken back and ground up and turned into roads or new shovels or something... if the handle is a thin layer of metal and then primarily air foam stiff rubberlike stuff filled and that could also be turned into other things or reused when it reached it's end of life. it seems like around here i can always find a use for a pole.

what is really funny is this thread started before i got into reading a series of books and at one point in the books some characters get stuck in a snowstorm and have to clear the pathway/road to get back out and they end up using the front and back of a harp case to carve some shovels.
 

Artichoke Lover

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I have proof that fiberglass deteriorates in the sun. It breaks down into tiny fibers that are nearly impossible to get out of your hands.

Wood breaks, yes, it isn't a big job for me to replace a wooden handle.
True. That’s the one thing I really really hate about fiberglass. It does last long than wood though.
 

bobm

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My best shovel IS one that my father purchased way back in 1956. He used it for about 10 years when I inherited it. I have used it to dig garden sights, install lawns, sidewalks, several house and barn foundations, as well as any clean up or project that involves the use of a shovel. The metal portion is no longer pointed but slightly rounded inward at the middle tip ( instead of pointed ) and the rest of the front metal edge is probably 10% -20% warn off . However , it is the shovel of my choice for any work that I need to do up to this day and the forseeable future. :thumbsup:celebrate
 

Dirtmechanic

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Today I looked at a Kobalt shovel that had a heavy guage blade and a wood handle. They stamped the word "Kobalt" into the blade and I knew that our heavy clay would love to stick to it so I passed, but it had a really good weight. The elongated metal shank would help prevent breakage. I may still get one of that design because it was a tough tool design. But those 2 lbs add up throwing it foward 2lbs, back 2lbs, forward etc, etc.

@bobm Thats the M tip that I was joking about. Those old shovels did not really have beg foot treads and I am enjoying the traction on the razorback.
 
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R2elk

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maybe some year they'll make ceramic alloy shovels that can be recycled and they can all be taken back and ground up and turned into roads or new shovels or something...
I doubt that you will ever see ceramic as part of a shovel. Ceramic does not take flexing well at all. All the shovels that I have ever used get flexed frequently.
 

thistlebloom

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Wood can last a long time on a good quality shovel. I don't have an issue putting my tools away when I'm done with them so they don't get weather beaten. Also a lot of my work tools get used at home so I have to put them back in the work trailer so I don't hate myself the next day at work.

Speaking of wood, Kid#2 used a home (not work) shovel with a wooden handle many years ago when he was constructing a motocross course on our land. He swore he put it away but I never found it. Until last summer, I stumbled across it in the woods when I was limbing trees up. I am keeping it as an archeological relic. The handle has lichen growing on it and the shovel is rusty, haha.
 

Collector

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I have used shovels of all kinds for the past 30 or so years in the underground utility/ road building trades. I prefer the cheaper style wood handled shovels like Ames because they are lightweight and operator friendly for all day use. The downside is that they are not near as strong as other brands are so you have to baby them a little bit. The best shovels for the money are probably the razor backs I think, better all around for heavy use and prying ability. I just did not like the weight of them or the pitch of the shovel head. If you look at the budget shovels these days they are built so cheap that they are not worth the money they ask for them. If I were to replace any of my shovels today I would not hesitate to buy a razor back, I know it would last a good long time and hold up to heavy use.
 

Dirtmechanic

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@thistlebloom I used a shovel (and pick) left in the depths of the Yukon Territory by a gold prospector that came into Whitehorse ill, and died. The shovel was a pointed round digger, wood handle, and only lightly rusted, though it had been outside since the 1930s. No doubt the low humidity that far north played a part. My step father aquired the mineral claim and we went in by helicopter to prove gold was there in sufficient quantity to warrant further investment. Neat summer for a young man. Mostly we used underwater hydraulics, suction and a floating dredge that was small enough for a bell huey to lift.

@Collector I am with you on the weight. Someone "borrowed" my heavy fiberglass digger so the razorback is a replacement, but I am still looking for a lightweight but heavier bladed general use shovel like you describe.
 

Collector

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but I am still looking for a lightweight but heavier bladed general use shovel like you describe.
If you are looking for lightweight but strong shovel I suggest find one at a yard sale. These days the budget friendly shovels at big box are just cheap and that is all. You see a lot of older well built true tempers and other brands that have seen little use and stout enuf for anything around the house or garden and light enuf to not wear you out to fast.
 

thistlebloom

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@thistlebloom I used a shovel (and pick) left in the depths of the Yukon Territory by a gold prospector that came into Whitehorse ill, and died. The shovel was a pointed round digger, wood handle, and only lightly rusted, though it had been outside since the 1930s. No doubt the low humidity that far north played a part. My step father aquired the mineral claim and we went in by helicopter to prove gold was there in sufficient quantity to warrant further investment. Neat summer for a young man. Mostly we used underwater hydraulics, suction and a floating dredge that was small enough for a bell huey to lift.

@Collector I am with you on the weight. Someone "borrowed" my heavy fiberglass digger so the razorback is a replacement, but I am still looking for a lightweight but heavier bladed general use shovel like you describe.
That's a great story! I don't suppose anybody kept the pick and shovel?
 
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