looking for good long-handled spade

dab07May 10, 2012

All the garden tools I use are long handled, not short with a D- or similar handle. I'm looking for a good quality spade with a long handle, but everything I see is the short handled kind. I don't have much experience with the short kind, but they feel awkward to me. And I've read that they're harder on your back and shoulders.

What's your experience with long vs. short, D-handled tools? All the good ones seem to be European, where they seem only to make the short handled kind. Anyone know of a good, long-handled one?

And by spade, I mean a flat headed tool with a squared off bottom, not a point.


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Until I just checked, I had assumed that Ames would have a long handled one but I don't see one either. I have some real old shovels that still work but I am sure they were out of business many decades ago.

But regarding the D handles. I like them for plot gardening. You are not usually moving dirt long distances but are rather loosening it up and moving it a foot or two, or perhaps into a wheelbarro. I think a long handle would end up in my face. In the case of double digging this close movement is especially true.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2012 at 3:39PM
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Steven Laurin & Company

Never understood the facination with long-handled shovels, ever since my wife and I bought our first house after marriage, with another couple back in the early 70s - a very nice duplex built in 1910.

We started a large vegetable garden in the back yard - with our partner using a long handle shovel, passed down in his family, and me using an Ames D-handle, bought from the local hardware store. He struggled with his, breaking sod and turning soil while I worked twice the speed with seemingly less effort. After trying his shovel - I understood why. You simply cannot position your hands in a way that utilizes maximum upper body strength.

I still have that shovel - three houses later and use it regularly in my organic gardens. My former partner sold his shovel at a yard sale after selling that first house and don't believe he ever got the gardening thing after that initial experience.

Somebody please explain to me why this tool performs better than a D-handle - perhaps I just never got it.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2012 at 6:51PM
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good tools are hard to find regardless of handle length. insert comment about cheap made in china...but that's not fair. most people would rather buy ten cheap shovels.than one good one.

there's a line called bully tools i'm becoming a fan of.

dunno what local places you have...my comparison shopping is gemplers and am leonard.

and if it makes a difference...for my two cents...i very much prefer long handled tools every time. in *my* hands a long handled spade becomes a.piece of equipment with horsepower.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2012 at 9:17PM
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