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strong digging shovels revisited

Posted by harvestman 6 (My Page) on
Sat, Apr 14, 12 at 18:20

A couple of my fiberglass handles got broken near the blade in the last few weeks because I opened a new area with a lot of rocks and my help used my regular shovels as levers a bit too much.

I researched what was available to see if I could find something stronger than what was available locally and ordered a couple of long handled round point shovels from Gemplers. The one I like best is made by Bully Tools and the handle is unconditionally guaranteed.

The blade and socket has welded reinforcement and appears much stronger than stamped shovels but the total weight is just 4 pounds- about the same as the crap shovels we've been breaking. Only the cost of shipping makes it somewhat more expensive than the best Home Depot has to offer.

I'll report back if it lets me down.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: strong digging shovels revisited

i used to buy my shovels at sears.. because they were craftsman.. guaranteed for life ...

and 2 seasons back.. i took in the 20 year old shovel.. and got a new one .. for free

and then they closed our sears.. .. so look where i am now.. lol .. i have to be very careful for the next 18 years ...

ken


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RE: strong digging shovels revisited

This sounds good HM!


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RE: strong digging shovels revisited

Is it this one?

I can't see about life warranty on the handle?

Here is a link that might be useful: Commercial Grade Long Handle Round Point Shovel


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RE: strong digging shovels revisited

No, the one I got is red. Maybe it is Gemplers who offers the guarantee.


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RE: strong digging shovels revisited

  • Posted by murky z8f pnw Portlan (My Page) on
    Sun, Apr 15, 12 at 2:39

Well, I got the Fiskars and have been using it for the last few weeks. For digging I love it. The 6 lbs is not a problem when I'm digging a hole.

Now if I want to move material from one pile to another, or fill a deep hole in, maybe it will be a hassle. But the think I care about is digging down into the clay.

The Fiskars has a really nice lip the is the full width of the head. It is basically a ledge. Its much easier to balance on and use my body weight to force it in. I ride it like a pogo stick while rockign back and forth and sometimes front to back.

I have heavy soil with lots of clay and there are roots, but almost no rocks. So once its in I almost always bury the head.


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RE: strong digging shovels revisited

Different shovels are better for different tasks but when you work long days in the soil, lighter is better. However, it also depends on the weight of the worker- a larger man will use larger tools. I'm not a large man, and neither are my current workers.


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RE: strong digging shovels revisited

http://www.gemplers.com/product/167607/Bully-Tools-Round-Point-Shovel-Long-Handled


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RE: strong digging shovels revisited

  • Posted by olpea zone 6 KS (My Page) on
    Sun, Apr 15, 12 at 9:14

That does look like a good shovel. Pretty good engineering to come up with a shovel that's lightweight and strong.

I wonder if it makes the handle stronger to use both fiberglass and wood in the handle. Never heard of that before.

I think I'd probably still prefer my shovel with the little head for digging, but I don't have to deal with rocks here.

Please post back how you like it.

Fiberglass is nice for shovels kept outside.


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RE: strong digging shovels revisited

Yup, I keep my shovels outside. They make quite a few models of shovels and other landscape tools. I will probably give some of their other products a try. Nice to see quality garden tools made in the U.S.. Sorry if it sounds like I have stock in the company but I do take my hand tools seriously. Some people like power equipment but I'm in love with hand tools.


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RE: strong digging shovels revisited

Thanks HM...I'll have to see if I cant get it.
Sounds good...Unbreakable handle has a solid wood core surrounded by a thick fiberglass outer shell.

This makes sense, when you have layers it will be stronger.

Compare this to a solid steel shaft and a pipe, a pipe can be more ridged, lighter and stronger with the right mixture of various alloys. Now fill this pipe with concrete and it could be several times stronger against bending and breaking.


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RE: strong digging shovels revisited

  • Posted by olpea zone 6 KS (My Page) on
    Sun, Apr 15, 12 at 14:25

"This makes sense, when you have layers it will be stronger."


Layers can be stronger, but it depends on the materials used and the strength of the bond. Engineered wood (laminated layers) is much stronger than natural wood because the glue is high quality.

Fiberglass by itself is stronger than wood, so I was curious if the fiberglass/wood combo would be stronger than straight fiberglass. It probably is, otherwise Bully Tools wouldn't go to the extra trouble and expense to make their handles that way and back them with a lifetime warranty.

"Compare this to a solid steel shaft and a pipe, a pipe can be more ridged, lighter and stronger with the right mixture of various alloys."

That can be true, but normally a solid steel shaft is stronger than a pipe of the same diameter made of the same material. A solid steel shaft would be stronger than a pipe of the same diameter filled with concrete. The reason people fill pipes with concrete is because it adds a lot of strength at a very cheap cost.


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RE: strong digging shovels revisited

Actually Gemplers represents another company, Nupla, that guarantees their solid fiberglass handles unconditionally themselves- also U. S. made. I was using the roundnose shovel they make today and it's only problem is that it's a bit heavier and a bit more expensive than the Bully round nose.

If you google bully tools they will tell you the sources of their tools. I ordered a solid steel spade they make through Amazon that they call King of Spades (a brand I've endorsed here before) but the price is almost half of what I've had to pay in the past- I'm hoping it's the same tool. The spade is not for digging dirt but for prying up tree roots during transplanting and big rocks.


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RE: strong digging shovels revisited

OK, I should have said..

Compare this to a solid steel shaft and a pipe, a pipe can be more ridged and stronger with the right mixture of various alloys of equal weight.


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RE: strong digging shovels revisited

If it's not available in light alloy steel it doesn't matter if it might be better.

I know of a landscape contractor who simply replaces broken handles with round fence post steel. He says he buys the hollow steel pieces at Home Depot and the result is a reasonably light shovel that might bend if misused but wouldn't break. He used a diameter that fit right into the sockets and he didn't even have them fastened with anything but the pressure of driving the handle into the socket.


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RE: strong digging shovels revisited

  • Posted by olpea zone 6 KS (My Page) on
    Mon, Apr 16, 12 at 9:49

"OK, I should have said..

Compare this to a solid steel shaft and a pipe, a pipe can be more ridged and stronger with the right mixture of various alloys of equal weight."

Konrad,

The reason I responded to that part of your post was that for a long time I believed pipe was stronger than solid rod. Someone who worked in the oil fields once told me that. His erroneous explanation for it was that since pipe had two surfaces (inner and outer) each surface added strength, therefore pipe was stronger than rod. He confused the truth that - pound for pound pipe is stronger than solid rod. But it was years before I learned the truth, and I've come across others who believed the same myth I did.

The topic is near to my heart since I believed a myth for so long, so my response was more general info. You're a machinist so I know you're familiar with these things, I was just clarifying for others.


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Yeah...looks like we listen to the same guy, LOL

It was probably never explained right,...it's only true when of equal weight.

I was searching for this thread and might place a order on amazon, looks like the same right?.. The only drawback, I have no dealer here for replacement.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bully Shovel


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RE: strong digging shovels revisited

Might be worth the price to get it from Gemplers for the guarantee. Might not. Same shovel.


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I've gotten to the point where i use two shovels. for the heavy lifting...er, digging, prying etc. i use the aforementioned king of spades. not good for cleaning out a hole but for penetrating clay or busting through roots and rocky soil or whenever you need a prybar but are too lazy to go rummaging through the tool barn. for cleaning out the hole i use the fiskars shovel. I've used them for about twelve years and have gone throuh three shovels (on my fourth)...considering that before i started using them i generally went through two or three shovels a year...yeah i'm satisfied.

just ran across the bully tools line and i like the looks of them...and feel...and am going to have to put them through the paces.


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I have a different taste in shovels, I like the really heavy heads of traditional English spades. The heaviness there seems to make digging a lot easier; not sure why but the center of balance is very different. I also like heavy heads on my weeding tools, you don't have to hammer it into the ground, instead the weight of the tool can do most of the work. I do a lot of weeding with a pick-axe for that reason (it also lets me dig up any saplings I run across in no time at all).

Scott


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Scott, that doesn't make sense to me as the weight of your leg and the rest of your body is so much greater than the few ounces difference your talking about (I use my weight more than my muscle to drive the blade but have to use my arms to pull the blade out). Maybe it's the shape of the blade making it easier.

I've never seen the English shovels without short handles, and I like the leverage a long handle provides.


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Scott...if weight of a digging implement is important to you...look into the king of spades. it's a beast.

I'm with harvestman...i'll take a long handled tool over a ahort handled one anyday. as Archimedes used to say...


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RE: strong digging shovels revisited

By the way, the much cheaper Bully version of the King of Spades spade looks cheaper but may be as affective. The handle is just a metal tube while KOS has a hollow handle. Bully puts a piece of rubber at the end of the handle that obscures the opening.

I used it a bit for prying rocks but it will take a couple years to evaluate its strength entirely and because Gempler's doesn't carry it, I purchased it without the lifetime guarantee. The way I use a metal spade all will wear out eventually- the blade eventually gets tweaked.


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RE: strong digging shovels revisited

Rats and mice sometimes get in my shed and they like to knaw on plastic grips , that doesn't happen with wood handles .


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