03-07-2012, 12:35 PM
#1
  • function
  • lavendarian
  • Houston, Texas, US
User Info
My shovel is on it's last legs. Too much prying, too many loads of wet dirt, too many oak tree roots dug out. The rivets are loose, the handle cracks and the neck is too stretched out to just replace the handle.
So I go to find a new one. The big box stores each have a few options each made in Mexico or China with stamped steel so thin I can bend it with one hand. Local hardware stores are now nationally linked and offer nothing better.
Is a shovel made from forged steel of a heavy gauge too much to ask for? I know it will cost more than $20 and I am ok with that because I also know it will last me 30 years if I take care of it.
Ill look a bit more lovingly at my vintage razor and my vintage drums(all made here in the US before 1970) when get home today.

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 03-07-2012, 12:44 PM
#2
  • bullgoose
  • The Enabler
  • Redondo Beach, California, U.S.A
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That is a shame...I have noticed the same thing. When you use these newer shovels for they were supposedly intended for, they cannot handle the load. Maybe a garden supply store would yield better results.

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 03-07-2012, 06:37 PM
#3
  • kav
  • Banned
  • east of the sun,west of the moon
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One word- military surplus.
Well,two- forestry supply companies

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 03-07-2012, 06:58 PM
#4
  • bullgoose
  • The Enabler
  • Redondo Beach, California, U.S.A
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(03-07-2012, 06:37 PM)kav Wrote: One word- military surplus.
Well,two- forestry supply companies

Excellent suggestion Chris!


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 03-07-2012, 07:31 PM
#5
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When I used to manage a retail nursery years ago, we used to sell light (cheap) shovels for the homeowners, and heavy forged shovels for the professional landscapers. They're heavy, but the forged steel is about three times as thick as a regular shovel. When I sold them, we charged about $60, but it looks like they are up to about $75-80 now. Try a Corona #2 Forged Round Point. Cool

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 03-07-2012, 07:52 PM
#6
  • MaxP
  • Senior Member
  • Des Moines, Iowa
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Man, i know exactly what you're running into.

Lots of really poor quality junk getting passed off as tools.

You might track down a contractors supply house.

Or go online and look for nursery tools. I used to get a catalog from one. I forgot the name, but recall they had the good stuff.


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 03-07-2012, 08:27 PM
#7
  • function
  • lavendarian
  • Houston, Texas, US
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Thank you all for the input. I think I may be a victim in part of a mentality in this town of "just hire somebody to do it." Ill look for a proper contractor supply.

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 03-08-2012, 12:03 AM
#8
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(03-07-2012, 06:37 PM)kav Wrote: One word- military surplus.
Well,two- forestry supply companies

came here to post this.

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 03-08-2012, 09:13 AM
#9
  • vuk
  • Senior Member
  • Virginia
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Last fall I just re-handled two shovels (or maybe it is a shovel and a spade) and a hayfork that belonged to my grandfather. Probably from the 50-60's. They are very heavy and the necks are solid and don't have any seams, from a single cast I guess.
Drilling out the steel rivets was a pain but worth it and now its good as new.
I still have an axe that needs a handle.

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 03-08-2012, 12:44 PM
#10
  • kav
  • Banned
  • east of the sun,west of the moon
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There's a small outfit on EBAY that sells excellent kiln dried hickory axed handles in the classic patterns.

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 03-08-2012, 03:21 PM
#11
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Auctions and second hand stores. That's where I get my gardening/farming tools. I've got a lot of "organic fertilizer" out here to redistribute and I haven't got time to run to town and buy a new shovel or pitchfork all the time.

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 03-08-2012, 06:13 PM
#12
  • Johnny
  • Super Moderator
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
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I am very fortunate. I still have and use the shovel my grandfather made back in 1920 and the anvel he forged it on.

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 03-08-2012, 07:19 PM
#13
  • bullgoose
  • The Enabler
  • Redondo Beach, California, U.S.A
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(03-08-2012, 06:13 PM)Johnny Wrote: I am very fortunate. I still have and use the shovel my grandfather made back in 1920 and the anvel he forged it on.

Wow! That is very cool!

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 03-08-2012, 07:46 PM
#14
  • etoyoc
  • Active Member
  • NW Indiana
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Yeah.. not much is made for the consumer market that isn't designed to be broken and replaced in short time. Ridiculous!

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 03-09-2012, 01:14 PM
#15
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This might help:

Premier Mold & Die:
http://www.digrigshovel.com

Bully Tools:
http://www.bullytools.com

Union Tools:
http://www.uniontools.com

While it is true that there is a lot of cheap (and not so cheap) junk being sold today, there are an increasing number of quality items being sold. It looks like consumers got fed up with poor quality and the 'save once, pay twice' situation. The return to traditional wetshaving is just one manifestation of this trend.

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 04-18-2012, 05:35 AM
#16
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I've got an axe that my grandpa felled timber with in the 30's and 40's. I've dropped a couple trees with it myself. And I've got a polanski from the thirties that needs a new handle, still does the job though. All my shovels except one that I bought thirty years ago belonged to my dad. I like restoring old tools they have lot's of history in their past and lot's of life to still give that rust can't permanantly cover.

Clayton

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 04-18-2012, 06:26 AM
#17
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(03-09-2012, 01:14 PM)Tbone Wrote: While it is true that there is a lot of cheap (and not so cheap) junk being sold today, there are an increasing number of quality items being sold. It looks like consumers got fed up with poor quality and the 'save once, pay twice' situation. The return to traditional wetshaving is just one manifestation of this trend.

I was going to mention this. Not necessarily the brands you linked, but the fact in general that there's been a return of some of the "buy it for life" tools and attitude. It's been about 10 years since I bought a shovel, though.

Our local Ace Hardware is actually pretty good. They have the semi-disposable brands, but they also have some of the higher quality stuff, and sales people who know their business well enough to know to suggest the legitimate tools to my wife and I.

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 04-18-2012, 07:56 AM
#18
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http://www.counciltool.com/

I buy from these guys regularly. They are in North Carolina and still drop forge their tools. Piece by piece I am replacing every big box tool with a Council, Gransfor Bruks etc. My family members or my young neighbor who has no tools usually gets to reap the benefits of my "hand me downs". There's no need for me to have 10 of everything, but I'm seeing the wisdom in buying the best.


Also, thanks to the others for some suggestions and links. Looks like I've got a few more options too.

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 04-18-2012, 09:36 AM
#19
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I feel so lucky to live where I do when it comes to the most basic of tools. I had to buy a new shovel a few years back, so I drove 3 miles down the road to an Amish owned & operated hardware store and bought a great shovel at a great price.

The store has zero electric so there are gas lamps hanging so you can see. The greatest thing in the entire store is their 'intercom'; which is a 3" PVC pipe that runs from the front register to the store room in the back.

I have leather works down the road, repair shops, furniture, wood workers, blacksmiths, lamp (lantern) shops, carriage builders, livestock, produce all summer, bakers, fabric shops, butchers, and a Ye `Ole lumber mill.

Lancaster County PA...

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 04-18-2012, 04:57 PM
#20
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(04-18-2012, 09:36 AM)Johnny9 Wrote: I feel so lucky to live where I do when it comes to the most basic of tools. I had to buy a new shovel a few years back, so I drove 3 miles down the road to an Amish owned & operated hardware store and bought a great shovel at a great price.

The store has zero electric so there are gas lamps hanging so you can see. The greatest thing in the entire store is their 'intercom'; which is a 3" PVC pipe that runs from the front register to the store room in the back.

I have leather works down the road, repair shops, furniture, wood workers, blacksmiths, lamp (lantern) shops, carriage builders, livestock, produce all summer, bakers, fabric shops, butchers, and a Ye `Ole lumber mill.

Lancaster County PA...

Because that is all that they can use by their religious belief, they will make those implements far better than the "high tech / low quality" makers do. Those tools, their animals, and their own hard sweat labor is their livelihood. You win when you can get tools made by Amish.

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