How to Sharpen a Spade Shovel

Written by kimberly johnson
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Garden spades, which are also called spade shovels, are similar to traditional shovels except that the blade is straight at the bottom instead of rounded. Spades are used for a wide variety of garden tasks from digging trenches to removing sod and mixing up compost. Over time, the blade of the spade becomes dull, which is evidenced by more effort being require to dig into the ground. Luckily, the process to sharpen the spade blade is quick and inexpensive.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Work gloves
  • Spade
  • Axe file

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  1. 1

    Place the spade on a flat work surface and position the metal part of the spade 1/2 to 1 inch off the edge of the table. The back of the shovel should be facing upward.

  2. 2

    Hold the file in a perpendicular position to the bottom edge of the spade.

  3. 3

    Place the tip of the file against the spade edge and angle it at approximately 45 degrees.

  4. 4

    Move the file toward the centre of the shovel and away from your body until the base of the file reaches the spade. You will notice a shiny strip of clean metal on the spade where the file sharpened it.

  5. 5

    Lift up on the file and place the tip back on the edge of the spade. Push it forward again to further sharpen the spade blade. Continue using this method until there is a 1/10 inch strip of shiny metal all the way across the end of the shovel. Run your fingernail over the shiny section. When it moves freely with little resistance the blade is properly sharpened.

Tips and warnings

  • If desired, you can sharpen the concave part of the spade or even both sides of the spade.

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