Used Tools: Repairing A Shovel Handle

Used tools can break easily. Tired of your shovels breaking and having to throw them away? Read this article and find out how to fix that broken shovel handle.

High quality garden tools will last a lifetime with proper care. Shovel handles are the hardest to fix, they split down the middle from pressure that is applied. Glue a long split with epoxy adhesive. Add short wood screws to thick handles.

Soak heavy twine in adhesive and wrap it around the handle for added strength. If the break runs across the handle, shorten it or replace it. Grind off head of retaining rivet; drive rivet out of tool socket with a punch and hammer. If you are needing to replace the handle, buy only hardwood replacement handles. Ash, hickory or oak will do nicely.

Insert a 6 inch wood screw into the broken stub until threads disappear. Clamp the head of the screw tightly in a vise and hit tool with a mallet to extract stub.



Lay out the pieces of the old handle and cut the new one to the same length. You might want to save the old handles to re-use on other shorter garden tools. Lay the new handle next to the tool head and mark the position of the socket top on the handle. On most tools, the handle will have to be tapered to fit the socket.

Hold the new handle in a vise with its socket end upward. Hold the old stub in the center of the new handle and mark its thickness with four lines. Use a plane to taper the handle from socket line around its circumference to four marks made in the last step. Using a wood file or surfoam tool, round off the squared taper to match the tool socket. To insure a tight fit, occasionally test-fit the handle in the socket as you file. When the taper is correct, handle will fit into socket up to the line. When handle and socket are snug and parallel, strike tool on a wooden block to drive handle home.

Drill a pilot hole and insert a new retaining rivet or a round headed wood screw that is slightly shorter than the diameter of the socket. Coat unpainted or unvarnished wood handles with a mixture of half turpentine and half linseed oil. Apply mixture generously, then wipe off the excess with a clean rag to prevent gummy deposits from forming. If a handle is already weathered, sand it smooth, then apply the turpentine and linseed oil mixture. Keep cutting and digging edges sharp to prevent the need for excess pressure on shovel handles. To prevent breakage of shovel handles, place the the shovel in a vise and use a coarse 10 inch file to restore the original edge of the shovel edge. Sharpen the corners as well. This will help your shovel cut into the ground and prevent further breakage of handles in the future. After each use of the shovel, wipe down the handle and apply linseed oil to keep the shovel handle from drying out. Place the shovel in a cool place. If exposed to hot weather and the sun for long periods of time, handles will become dried out faster.

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