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What is a Square Shovel?

By Misty Amber Brighton
Updated May 16, 2024
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A square shovel is a tool that is used for scooping and moving dirt, gravel or landscaping materials. It also is used for digging as in construction or landscaping. A square shovel sometimes is referred to as a spade. It can be constructed from steel, aluminum or plastic. Steel and aluminum shovels most often are used for household and industrial use, and plastic shovels are widely preferred as snow shovels.

At the top of the shovel is a D-shaped handle that is attached to a wooden pole. This pole will be about 4 feet (1.22 m) long and 3 inches (7.62 cm) in diameter. Some more elaborate models will have foam or rubber grips about one-third of the way down for the user's comfort.

The blade will have a steel or aluminum arm extending from the top of the blade. This arm will wrap around the bottom third of the wooden handle. This arm is for added support of the blade so it can not be broken off easily when used in extremely rugged conditions.

There are a few types of square spades. One is a taper-mouth spade, which is an all-purpose tool. This shovel has a slightly tapered cutting edge.

A trenching spade is slightly tapered as well, but it has a slightly wider blade than that of a taper-mouth spade. A garden spade has edges that are pointed. The blade of a garden spade will be slightly smaller than that of a trenching spade. In addition, it might have a reinforced shoulder at the top of the blade itself so a gardener can use his or her foot to exert pressure on the blade when digging in hard soil.

The blade of a square shovel will be square but can vary in size. An average-sized shovel has a blade that is 9.5 inches (24.13 cm) wide and 12 inches (30.48 cm) long. A large square shovel will have a blade that is 13.5 inches (34.29 cm) wide and 14.5 inches (36.83 cm) long.

The blade of a square shovel also will be raised on either side to hold materials. The center of the blade is a flat, triangular shape with the back and two sides being elevated. The exception is that of a snow shovel, which generally is flat on all sides with only a slight rim around the outer edges so snow can be better scooped from underneath.

Square shovels are a garden tool that has been used for many generations. Their versatility and durability make them a must-have item for anyone who needs to dig or move rock and mulch. They are relatively inexpensive tools that require little or no maintenance. The purchase of a square shovel would be a wise investment for any do-it-yourselfer.

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