Effective and easy to use, the basic hand shovel remains relatively unchanged from its original design. A blade and a pole-like handle are the distinguishing characteristics of all types of shovels. However, the size and shape of the shovel's essential components affect the tool's functionality and purpose. If you think one shovel is enough, learn about the capabilities of the different types of hand shovels and you might add another shovel to your tool kit.
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The round or "round-nosed" shovel has a long, pole-like handle and a spade-shaped blade. Traditionally used for digging, the rounded tip of the round-nosed shovel's blade easily plunges into soil. The concave shape of the blade's centre or "bucket" further eases the entry of the tool into soil. Round-nosed shovel handles vary in length from approximately 3 feet to 5 feet. A truly multipurpose tool, the round-nosed shovel applies to landscaping, gardening, construction and more.
Like the round-nosed shovel, the square or "square-nosed" shovel has a long, pole-like handle. However, the edge of square-nosed shovel's blade is straight, and the blade's general form resembles a square or rectangle. Although the square-nosed shovel is capable of plunging into soil and digging, it is especially suited to scooping materials from flat surfaces and shaping the edges of trenches into flat planes. Like round-nosed shovels, square-nosed shovels apply to several activities, including landscaping and construction.
The scoop, also called a "grain scoop," is a popular variation of the square-nosed shovel. Like the square-nosed shovel, the scoop's blade has a straight edge. However, whereas the typical square-nosed shovel's blade stretches approximately 12 inches wide, the scoop's blade reaches a width of 18 to 24 inches. Additionally, the scoop's bucket has tall sides, usually 2 to 3 inches tall. Scoop handles are generally around 3 feet long. As suggested by the name "grain scoop," this tool often appears in agricultural applications. The tool's broad, tall-sided blade easily holds loose materials, such as grain, gravel and soil.
A popular speciality tool, the trenching shovel applies to its namesake task: digging trenches. Like other common shovels, trenching shovels have long, pole-like handles. Similar to a round-nosed shovel, the trenching shovel's blade is concave and has a rounded tip. Unlike the round-nosed shovel, the trenching shovel's blade is narrow and long, measuring roughly 5 to 6 inches wide and 12 to 18 inches long. The unique size of the tool's blade allows workers to create deep, straight-sided postholes and trenches.
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