Author Topic: Do you sharpen your shovels?  (Read 1561 times)

Syonyk

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Do you sharpen your shovels?
« on: September 16, 2017, 09:11:17 PM »
I was helping out with someone else's yardwork this morning (a bunch of us from our church showed up to help out), and a few times, the topic of shovel sharpening came up.  I sharpen most of my shovels - I put a 45 degree single sided edge on it, from the top of the shovel.  Going from a square edge to the 45 degree edge took quite a while with a file the first time, but after that, maintaining it is quite easy - perhaps 5 minutes with a file every few months.  Or a few minutes with a file before I start a big project.

Apparently, nobody else has ever heard of doing this.  But my shovel cut through hard dirt a lot better. ;)

So, do other people do this?  Or are most people content slamming a square edged shovel into the dirt?

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Also, at the same time, the whole "muscle vs machine" thing got a good test.  We were helping trench for irrigation.  A crew of about 5-6 people were trenching the old fashioned way with pickaxes and trenching shovels (satisfyingly, I had to sharpen my pickaxe afterwards, and saw a few good sparks in the process of breaking out rock).  We got... oh, 30' trenched.  And, based on the rate of progress, someone suggested renting a trencher.  In about twice the time that it took to trench 30', with 6 people, two of us trenched several hundred feet throughout the property.  Just... kind of impressive to see the difference that a few horsepower of gas engine makes.  There's no way we would have gotten all that trenched manually today. :/

yourusernamehere

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Re: Do you sharpen your shovels?
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2017, 09:17:00 PM »
I have one straight shovel that I use for edging, and my dad sharpened that for me when I first got my house (10 years ago.) I have only sharpened it twice since, but it makes a huge difference for the edging. (Dad owned and operated a successful landscaping business with his dad. I assume he got the sharpening trick from his professional experience.)

Jaayse

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Re: Do you sharpen your shovels?
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2017, 06:53:15 AM »
I know we sharpened our shovels for the archaeological dig that I worked on one summer while in college.  It made a big difference!  We had to keep our holes perfectly square in order to record what we found in the correct quadrants... of course i also dug a hole big enough to sit in with an unsharpened spoon and ladle (brushes only work in sandy areas). 

aperture

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Re: Do you sharpen your shovels?
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2017, 07:03:38 AM »
Going to add "sharpen shovels" to the list of things to do once I retire.  -aperture

BTDretire

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Re: Do you sharpen your shovels?
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2017, 11:35:16 AM »
Of course!
Especially important when digging sod and cutting roots.

Goldielocks

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Re: Do you sharpen your shovels?
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2017, 04:11:28 PM »
I keep meaning to, but where I live, the sod is a lot softer than the prairies / clay.

Also, I read a tip to take a 5 gallon bucket, fill with sand, add a quart of motor oil, and then, after you hose off your shovel  shove it in your bucket a few times before hanging it up in the garage... 

AccidentalMiser

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Re: Do you sharpen your shovels?
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2017, 04:26:11 PM »
I keep meaning to, but where I live, the sod is a lot softer than the prairies / clay.

Also, I read a tip to take a 5 gallon bucket, fill with sand, add a quart of motor oil, and then, after you hose off your shovel  shove it in your bucket a few times before hanging it up in the garage...

I both sharpen my shovels (though not as often as I should) and treat them in a similar manner to what you described.  My father taught me well when it comes to tools.

Syonyk

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Re: Do you sharpen your shovels?
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2017, 04:49:46 PM »
I need an oil bucket. :/  My shovels are sharp, but have a bit more surface rust than I'm proud of.