I recall seeing professional snow shovels, that were I think made of
some nice aluminum, with almost straight blades, that worked
great. Made for large apartment building owners.
I do not mean the crap that they sell in stores these days, either
trashy plastic or very thin aluminum. These do not stand up to a man
shoveling large amount of snow.
I would really like to buy a sheet of suitable metal and make a most
perfect snow shovel, that would be usable forever. Any suggestions as
to what gade, thickness etc of what metal to buy?
I do not mind regular carbon steel, as well.
What I do not want is a shovel that would be either too heavy, or
would bend when it hits some object, and does not crack from long term
I don't think there is such an animal as an aluminum shovel that's not
too heavy which won't eventually fatigue crack in use. However, there's
a common aluminum shovel that makes a fine snow shovel that holds up for
a fair number of years if only used for shoveling snow. Use it to chip
ice a lot or otherwise abuse it, and get what you deserve. A grain
shovel with a good wax job is the best thing available off the shelf -
big enough to move snow efficiently. A roundback squarenosed steel with
a wax job deals better with abuse, or very heavy wet glop, but is too
small for efficient moving of normal snow. MHO, WWYPFI.
Best I've seen were titanium. Better wear resistance on the front edge
than aluminium too. Now these were on a German airbase, but Ti scrap is
cheap enough these days you can find it all over the place.
Titanium! Yikes! Yeah, really available if there is a military
aircraft crash in your back yard! Those must have been damaged
access covers off an F-15, which WOULD be just PEREFECT for making
snow shovels out of. Of course, they were worth $500 as scrap material,
and probably cost the US government $15,000 each.
Grain shovels are in fact Al - and are nice size.
I had one - gave it to my Dad for just that.
It was great.
The tip on wax is great. He lives in Az now - wonder were the shovel is.
I suspect given to a neighbor or used up.
@ home at Lions' Lair with our computer lionslair at consolidated dot net
NRA LOH, NRA Life
NRA Second Amendment Task Force Charter Founder
Some of the plastic ones are actually pretty good. In fact, I've been
using the same one for a few years now and it's the best I ever had.
This from someone who used to buy new shovels for the blades, removing
them from their cheesy handles and attaching them to my favorite
But the plastic one is great: first of all, it's straight; not that
idiotic crooked handle ergonomic type they are foisting on people
nowadays. And it's light as a feather. The plastic blade is pretty
tough too; I'm surprised how little it has worn on the concrete. The
tube is thin wall aluminum, grooved the length and plastic covered:
always a good grip, not like smooth aluminum tubes which get slippery
on a wet glove. I think the grooves make it stronger as well. I've use
this thing on the flat roofs, shoveling four foot drifts in big heavy
chunks for an hour; whump! whump! whump! It's a pleasure to use.
Wish I could get a job shoveling snow somewhere. I dunno, I imagine
them calling me up:
"We need someone over here to shovel this snow. Has to be one guy with
a shovel: no blowers, no plows. Just one guy with a shovel for a few
hours. We pay by the calorie. Can you do it?" Hell, yes!
The fresh cold, the workout, the great apetite afterwards... no BS to
deal with in any way or manner... I guess I am a snow-shoveling fool;
I just love it.
(Mowing the lawn, on the other hand, is something I truly despise for
some reason... When I am mowing I start thinking how nice it would be
to just have a yard full of prairie grass.)
I share your sentiment about lawn mowing 100%. Unfortunately, the
plastic and aluminum shovels I owned were crap and all broke.
I now have a old rusted steel shovel that does not break, but it is
not very good due to a blade that is not "deep" enough. I would
basically like, I think, a shovel like I have but with a blade that
has more depth to it.
If it has to be steel, it is fine with me. I do not think that regular
mild steel is suitable though.
Sounds like a job for titanium!
I'm not sure you can have it all. High performance (light, handles large
load, etc), long lasting, cheap. Pick two. Of course, if cheap don't
matter, then it's definitely a job for titanium! (Though perhaps with an
aluminum tip that you can replace easily.)
Donnie Barnes http://www.donniebarnes.com 879. V.
You're Ok, Drew!
To be perfectly honest, moving from Utah was due in part to my burning
desire to get the hell away from snow in general, and snow shoveling
specifically. I've never found a shovel that fit my hands! <g>
We still get a little (snow, that is) where we live now, but rarely have to
worry about shoveling it. We usually let it go away the same way it got
Ah, it's a shame. You just never found the right shovel.
I managed to locate my shovel on the net:
Turns out, it's the bottom of the line SN1000. But check that SNF2150.
Harold, with a shovel like that you would be tempted to move back to
Utah, I bet.
In my humble opinion the Yo-ho steel pusher shovels kick but for general
use. When you need to do some serious shoveling I also use an aluminum scoop
shovel farmer use for moving grain. Both are partially shown on this page,
upper right is the grain scoop, lower right is the pusher.
I just retired my first Yo-ho pusher I bought back in '81. I replaced it
with the same. The old one's blade was worn to about 1/2 of new!
When they both fail me I get out my 10 HP Toro!
Here in Chicago, we have 40 different words for snow and at least 35 of them
should not be used in mixed company.
The problem with snow shovels is that you need two of them. One for pushing
and one for lifting.
The classic ribbed steel snow shovel is an attempt to combine them. If your
normal snow removal involves light fluffy drifts, their lifting ability is
fine. With a wet or packed snow however, the load is too heavy for either
the shovel or your back.
If I were to make the perfect pusher, it would be made out of 10ga
stainless, the leading edge would be at a slight angle (so that it scowls to
one side) and have the front corners turned up (so it rides over cracks and
joints instead of snagging them. It's handle would be a wheelbarrow handle.
If I were to make the perfect lifting shovel, I wouldn't. Either the
aluminum grain scoop or (my personal favorite) the classic steel coal shovel
are already better than anything I can dream up.
Paul K. Dickman
I have been buying standard shovels (grain scoop, 24" pusher, plastic)
and adding a SERIOUS wear bar. Suitable wear bar is 1/8" x2" steel strap
with 2 or 3 passes of abrasion resistant weld bead. It doesn't need to
be perfect to start with, a few passes down the driveway and the high
spots will be ground off. After a couple of years, the leading edge will
be really sharp, should be good for another5 to 10 years.
Of course, now that the edge is good, you have to worry about buckling
the rest of the blade. My big pusher shovel has a large aluminum
triangle to support side forces as well as several repairs (and gussets)
at the handle to shovel stress point.
I may start over and do a 30" pusher with an aluminum blade, billet
interface block, and a heat treated wer blade but..................
I am happy with a shovel/pusher that I saw a snow removal company using. It
is a Melnor brand plastic one I have not broken yet.
Most of our snow removal is done with an H Farmall or my Arctic Cat 300 4X4
with the plow I built for it.
I've used aluminum grain scoops a couple of times while working for a
contractor that shoveled walks for businesses. Even waxed, heavy, wet
snows would stick to them, I had to beat the snow off them on every
shovelful, very tedious. What my dad made up has worked best. He took
a standard steel snow shovel, made a galvanized sheet back for it and
riveted it on for pushing, then used a strip of packing strap iron
riveted on for a wear strip on the front. The back was curled so you
could use it for pushing and it would take a pretty large bite for
shoveling drifts. We used to get wide strap iron from along the
railroad tracks, apparently some kind of tie-downs or something on rail
cars, there was lots of it. It wore for years before we had to renew
it. The back was about 8" high, was salvaged galvanized heating duct
sheet. A Whitney hand punch and a pop-riveter makes short work of the
Finding a good steel shovel with a decent handle is kind of hard these
days. I ended up with a semi-satisfactory one from Home Despot, had to
go ask a floor guy where they were. All they had were those plastic
and weird cranked-handle jobbies out on the floor, they hid the good
ones back in a corner. Probably because the good ones were cheaper.
Had a wood handle and a steel blade. Had to do some work on the handle
to smooth it up, was all frizzed up from finishing, would tear up
gloves otherwise. They didn't de-whisker it before spraying on the
finish. Was like $5, though. A square or rectangular handle shaft
with a good spade end is important. One of the reasons I don't like
the plastic shovels is that all the handles are round, really hard to
get a good grip on with gloves.
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