Broken shovel handle

wormmainea(5a)May 2, 2006

Uprooting an invasive plant in my yard (old Japanese barberry) resulted in a broken shovel handle. It was an old shovel with a beautiful ash handle (soon to become a dibble if I can find some instructions-- another story!).

By what to do about the shovel head. It is in decent condition-- still bears the maker's mark from 1947, though it shows some wear.

can I retrofit a handle? The pin holding the hanles appears to have ben stamped(?)-- no way to remove pin without sawing it.

Any thoughts oin the shovel handle or dibble?



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If the shovel part held the handle in with several rivets, get somebody to grind the heads off the rivets, then push them out with a punch, or a long bolt. Then install a new handle--probably get one at a normal hardware store.(If any are left in your area, and not put out of business by Walmart!)
We used to repair that stuff, but cheap stores did away with the process--much to everybody's loss!

    Bookmark   May 2, 2006 at 5:43PM
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canguy(British Columbia)

I have a copy of Farmer's Shop Book by Lois Roehl printed in 1951. It was originally published in 1923 and shows how to repair all kinds of tools including shovels. It also covers blacksmithing, welding and wood shop projects. It is a fascinating read about a lot of practices that, like Rusty says, have disappeared in a disposable society.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2006 at 9:37PM
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bambooo(6 CT USA)

I have seen handles in the big orange place, but they will be nowhere near the quality you began with.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2006 at 10:15PM
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Pooh Bear

Is there enough of the handle left so you can just
whittle it down to shape and stick it back in the shovel.
Remove the rivots and use bolts to hold it.

Pooh Bear

    Bookmark   May 3, 2006 at 1:59AM
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turnkey4099(SE WA)

Ah yes, the old methods of replacing handles. I cut/split my own wood and a regular (every few years) job is replacing a handle in either the maul or sledge. Just put a new one in the maul two days ago. Very relaxing procedure. Cup coffee, few pieces of broken glass, heavy hammer and a comfortable seat while shaving down and repeatedley trying the fit before finally driving it home. Don't forget to start the wedge into the handle before driving it into the head!!!

Harry K

    Bookmark   May 3, 2006 at 3:54AM
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Thanks for the suggestions. I will try to reuse the old ash handle-- such a nicely grained piece of wood-- though I'll miss the height.

Not gonna do the big box thing. Don't like 'em, don't trust 'em. How many of their shovels will last almost 60 years?

    Bookmark   May 3, 2006 at 10:22AM
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earthworm(6 Pennsylvania)

In a great many areas I have found the "old-fashioned" hardware store to have more selection at about the same price as the big boxes..
I have see a man replace a broken handle with 1/2" pipe !
A little heavy, but it will never break....

    Bookmark   May 3, 2006 at 1:08PM
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Standard shovel handles are still easy to find but you need to shop around. Pick one out with old growth grain patterns. Get it tight then rivet it in.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2006 at 3:38PM
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We have lots of big box stores in my area and lots of old-fashioned hardware stores. Sadly, the old-fashioned hardware stores hire the same high-turnover teenaged clerks as the big box stores. The good ones are courteous and helpful, but they can't offer any advice on your project because they've never done anything.

As long as they continue to sell individual bits of hardware and the box stores don't, the old fashioned stores will continue to attract customers. That's were I went to buy a new handle for one of my rakes this spring.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2006 at 3:44PM
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There is a company in Canada, Timmins that sells quality tools and handles. I just bought a stainless spade with an ash handle and an angle on the blade so kinetically accurate it reminds me of the days when things like this were commonplace. They sell planting spades that are bullet proof but a spade is not a pry bar. I also bought a Dutch hoe, that they call a shuffle, that makes me feel like a craftsman just holding it in my hands. Back to replacing a handle: I have always found that getting the old piece out of the ferrule was the most difficult part of the job. Sticking it in the fire would burn it out but don't try this with with one bought at the bandit store as the metal may melt before the wood burns.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2006 at 6:00PM
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I can't find Timmins on the net. Is it spelled correctly? Do you have a website?

    Bookmark   May 4, 2006 at 9:48AM
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vinnyc(7 LINY)

I always replace my shovel handles when they break. Hardware stores sell them, and gringing off the rivets and replacing with bolts is the way to go. Mash up the threads afterward, so the nut doesn't come off.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2006 at 11:41AM
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Sorry the name of the company is Timm Enterprises and the web site is at I got confused there in my puffing enthusiasm,

    Bookmark   May 4, 2006 at 5:42PM
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rredogg(5/Chicago Area)

A bit off the subject but seeing as we are talking about big box stores here it goes. I needed a couple of bolts, size 5/8 X 4". Went to both Menards and Home Depot and learned they only carried up to 1/2" in their inventory, but they will sell you a stove, air conditioner, etc.

Then went to the local hardware store where I should have started in the begining and found what I was looking for.

Regards, rredogg

    Bookmark   May 6, 2006 at 9:41PM
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canguy(British Columbia)

Most homeowners don't look for bolts that big.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2006 at 12:41PM
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I broke off the handles on two of my shovels prying rocks from my garden. One had a long piece left in the shovel so I got it out ok. But the second was broken off where the handle touches the steel, and it would not budge. So I put it in the oven under the grill for 20 minutes. When it cooled off it was easy to pry it out with a small chisel.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2008 at 4:17PM
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