Folding spade trench tool suggestions

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JamPan

Forager
Jun 8, 2017
245
1
Yorkshire
My old folding spade has finally given up on the hinge after 20 years. It was just a cheap one from an army surplus store. On ebay I see there's endless varieties now from super cheap to branded Spear and Jackson, and Gerber etc...

What have you lot got that you'd recommend as a new one? It doesn't need to be super light weight.
 

Jaeger

Full Member
Dec 3, 2014
670
21
United Kingdom
Aye Up,

Does it have to be a folder? - If not but you still need something smaller than a standard GS shovel have a look at the short garden spades/shovels which are about half the size of a standard shovel.

I've been issued with/using folders for decades and there is some real cr*p out there so be careful.

I've seen the hinges and rivets on the cheapos fail ridiculously quickly and the plastic handles and shafts on even the so called 'high-end' ones shatter (albeit on most occasions through misuse - they aren't meant to chop tree roots or hack at rocks!).

The shafts of the non folding short 'Russian' type entrenching shovels seem to wear and become loose quite quickly (especially if the socket isn't welded) and the replacement shafts made from a not too hard wood, easily broken if using the tool for prying.

Russian Shovel.jpg

So if it has to be a folder it is +1 for the German army surplus one as per the image below - but! -

Clean the hinge and lock thoroughly of any grease after purchase (grit will stick to it) and after use clean and re-oil them or they will become a pain in the backside to unlock when you next come to use them, especially if you have used them in sand/sandy soil and snow!

And don't overdo any prying with the pick or you might even break the shaft on those!

German Folder.jpg
 

sunndog

Full Member
May 23, 2014
3,567
472
derbyshire
For a non folder i'v got a short handled version of the classic 'jeep shovel' which a belter with its T handle, or the cold steel special forces (groan) shovel seem pretty robust
 

Jaeger

Full Member
Dec 3, 2014
670
21
United Kingdom
Aye Up

Shovels Janne - they're an implement for digging with - making holes in the ground etc. Quite common in the UK and wider world, I'm surprised that they haven't reached the Caveman Islands yet. :D
 

JamPan

Forager
Jun 8, 2017
245
1
Yorkshire
Thanks guys. I think it's going to be the German one. That's a beauty!
It's mainly the back of car emergency spade with the odd forest/beach outing so that should do nicely. :)
 

TeeDee

Full Member
Nov 6, 2008
8,140
1,921
47
Exeter
Thanks guys. I think it's going to be the German one. That's a beauty!
It's mainly the back of car emergency spade with the odd forest/beach outing so that should do nicely. :)

If its for the back of the Car you may want to consider a modification for winter use.

Get yourself a sheet of Aluminum , shape & cut into a larger Snow shovel type profile. Now drill two holes through the German shovel and the New Alu profile - stick a couple of bolts with winged heads on and you now have a more suitable winter tool.

HTH
 

Tonyuk

Settler
Nov 30, 2011
911
65
Scotland
I keep a roughneck mini spade in the back of the car. Only cost about £10 but better for digging than any folding job I've ever used.

If your planning on needing to move snow you really need a proper snow shovel with a large blade. Google "avalanche shovel" and a load of ones will pop up with a telescopic handle for the car. Messing about moving snow with a small folding shovel is something to avoid, trust me on that.

Tonyuk
 

JamPan

Forager
Jun 8, 2017
245
1
Yorkshire
Thanks Tony. I do also actually have a proper garden spade which lives in the boot too. The folding spade is the second emergency one, but also doubles as the midweight carry one if I want something bigger than the trowel for wandering. :)

I've gone quite overboard on car gear as I used to drive alot. (don't drive much anymore though) so I always have a bag of rock salt, sand/mud tracks, buckle on snow treads (like chains) alongside the general waterproofs and wellies.

I could probably pare it down now, as driving up the road to the supermarket generally isn't going to warrant that lot. :D
 

Jaeger

Full Member
Dec 3, 2014
670
21
United Kingdom
Aye Up,

+1 re 'propper snow' shovels. I picked up a couple of Norwegian mil surplus ones last year quite cheap - very simple - no hinges/screws/telescopes to go wrong - the shaft just slots into the blade and is held secure by a friction collar. (S&O Kidderminster if they still have any).

Jampam - beware if you use the German folder on the beach - rinse it well and re-oil the locking mech or the salt will corrode it.

Most of the folders that I have used with a screw-up type locking mech close to the blade require frequent cleaning and re-oiling to stop them seizing up due to the ingress of grit, in fact I've seen some that couldn't be re-folded after use due to a seized screw. It is possible that is why the German shovel mech is a spring loaded 'bolt' as opposed to a screw.

Folding Shovels.jpg

Someone at Gerber must have also given that some thought as the one in the image, although a screw-up type, has the mech close to the handle instead of the blade.
However, I have seen several of these with broken handles due to over zealous (larger) root hacking and/or driving the blade in too hard! (Use a Bahco or similar on roots and save the shovel!)


To be fair it has got a bottle opener on it - priceless! :lmao:
 

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