I know. You have superhuman strength and you broke your shovel handle. Way to go Wonder Woman. Here’s how to replace that shovel handle.
I dug a hole and broke my shovel. I’m a gardening beast with the strength of 12 oxen who just watched the movie Rocky. There’s no other explanation for it.
Either that or I didn’t take care of my shovel handle and left it out in the sun and rain every garden season since its birth. Regardless of how it happened (pretty sure it was the oxen strength) my shovel handle broke a couple of weeks ago when I was moving my asparagus patch in the garden.
Instead of buying a new shovel, I cleaned my old shovel up and then replaced the handle.
If you too are super human and broke a shovel handle, here’s how you can replace it.
How to Replace a Broken Shovel Handle
new shovel handle
rivets (often come with shovel)
chisel (an old one that’s past its prime)
drill & bits
- Clamp your shovel tightly into a vice.
- Using a chisel, angle grinder or hacksaw remove the rivet holding your broken handle on to the shovel head shaft. If the rivet is very tight use a chisel to pry it up just enough to maneuver a hacksaw blade into the space.
for everyone in the comment section having a heart attack over using a chisel, please note you should use an old chisel.
2. Once you have enough room for your hacksaw blade, use it to cut the head of the rivet off.
3. Using a punch or a narrow screwdriver, pop out the rivet.
4. Once the rivet is out you have the mess of a handle left inside the shaft to deal with. All the wood needs to come out.
Removing the wood is the biggest pain in this whole process. You have to chisel and hammer and drill until all the wood comes out.
If you know your shovel handle is on its last legs, replace it BEFORE it breaks. That way when you remove the rivet holding the handle to the shaft, you can just pull the shovel handle out with a couple of whacks to the shovel head. This is a lot easier than chiseling out the broken wood.
5. Grab yourself a new shovel handle.
- Shovel handles are different than brook handles. They’re thicker and longer.
- When you’re picking a shovel handle, pick one that has obvious straight lines and obvious grain. This is important when you’re positioning your new handle into the shovel head.
- Some shovels come with rivets. Others don’t. If yours doesn’t, make sure you buy a couple of rivets.
This is a good example of seeing the face grain of the wood. It’s the stuff that looks wiggly.
This is a good example of the edge grain of the wood. It looks like straight lines.
Your handle should have visible straight lines and visible wiggly lines. Pay attention to these.
6. Seat your new handle into the shovel head by holding it like you see in the picture below and giving it a few whacks against a cement floor or sidewalk.
** MAKE SURE THE STRAIGHT GRAIN IS AT THE FRONT AND BACK OF THE SHOVEL HEAD. The curvy grain should be at the sides.**
If you set the shovel handle this way it will be much stronger and harder to break.
7. Once the handle is seated you can drill a hole through the handle where the new rivet(s) will go.
My handle came with a plug in the end. Inside were two rivets. Shovel rivets have a head only on one end. They hold in place when you hammer the other end which flattens it out.
8. When the hole is drilled into your handle, knock a rivet through it. It should slide in fairly easily.
9. Flip the shovel over so the end of the rivet without a head is facing up. Place your handle on a strong solid surface and whack the end of the rivet several times with a hammer to flatten it out.
Flattened out, now the rivet has two heads and can’t fall out.
You’re done! Unless of course you want to add your maker’s mark.
Why do all this? Why not just get a new shovel? Reduce, reuse, recycle, revamp. Also, there’s that feeling of accomplishment you get when you achieve something that would make Charles Ingalls proud.
You can do it. You’re Wonder Woman.
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