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Smaller shovels for women to use in gardening are available in hardware and home improvement stores. But, there was a period of time when they were not. We had bought one and my wife liked it very much. But, these shovels are not as sturdy as a full-sized shovel. After a few short years my wife's shovel broke where the handle attaches to the metal. Because these shovels were no longer in stores at the time, I decided to make one for my wife by cutting down a standard shovel.

Step 1: The Plan

The plan was to trim about 1 1/4 inch from the perimeter of the shovel's cutting edge as indicated by the broken line.

Step 2: The Tool for the Job

The best tool for the average person is an ordinary circular saw with an abrasive cutting wheel. These are very available wherever saws are sold.

Step 3: Setting Up the Saw

Clamp a piece of wood to the base of the saw. The length of the arrow in the graphic is 1 1/4 inches. Set the cutting depth so only about 3/8 inch of the cutting wheel comes through the base of the saw.

When I did this modification, I clamped the handle of the shovel in a Black & Decker Workmate so the bottom of the shovel was facing upward and the surface of the shovel was flat and level. Follow the contour of the shovel with the wood fence clamped to the bottom of the saw.

Cutting through the shovel to make a new, smaller profile will take some time and many passes. You do not want the steel to get hot. Just keep making the groove formed by the passes of the cutting wheel a little deeper. Cool the shovel with water after each pass with the cutting wheel. Eventually, the cutting wheel will break through and the extra steel will fall off of the shovel's perimeter. Touch up sharp edges with a grinder. Your wife will enjoy her new sturdy, lady-sized shovel. She will also be the envy of her gardening friends.
A "ladies" shovel is in the back of most oil field workers trucks. Doe the job where the manly larger shovels can't fit. An essential tool.
Thanks. It is interesting to know reduced size shovels are used in the oil fields. If they are like those I have seen in stores, they are a little flimsy. Cutting down a regular shovel would give you a more durable tool.

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Bio: I miss the days when magazines like Popular Mechanics had all sorts of DIY projects for making and repairing just about everything. I am enjoying ... More »
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