Picture of PVC Garden Trowel
This PVC garden trowel was made of scrap material.  The thickness of the material is about 3/16 inch.   It may need sharpening occasionally, but it will probably never break. 

Step 1: Scrap material

Picture of Scrap material
This is the piece of scrap I started out with.  You can cut something similar out of a piece of pipe to begin with. 
The best ideas are the simplest. thanks
Put together well and informative. Does just heating it to warm it release carcinogens and/or pollutants? I couldn't quite tell from your description. An alternative to PVC would be Kydex.
Thinkenstein (author)  Militant.Jester5 years ago
If the plastic is burned, it puts out some nasty gasses, but I have never noticed any problems with just warming it to soften it.
OK, thanks :D
Have you tried putting it in boiling water to soften it. Years ago I used that method to bend some small diameter PVC pipe to make a guitar stand. It seemed to get the pipe just soft enough to bend it. Not sure how it would work here, but there's no fire hazard with it. Vince
Thinkenstein (author)  bloomautomatic5 years ago
It might work on small projects that fit into a pot of boiling water, but I find that heating the water takes a lot more time and gas than directly heating the plastic with the flame does. There's an art to doing it without burning plastic, but I've pretty much learned the art, I guess. I usually have little or no problem with it.
EmmettO5 years ago
I would suggest using a heat gun. They usually sell them in the paint section of a hardware store. They're plenty hot to shape PVC.
Thinkenstein (author)  EmmettO5 years ago
I have a heat gun. Probably it's cheaper, per unit of heat, to heat with gas instead of electricity. -- My main objection to using my stove is that it has a round burner. Usually, I'm heating pipe, which only occupies stove jets in a center zone of the flame. The outer jets waste gas heating only air on either side of the pipe. A straight line of jets would probably be a better configuration for me. -- An electric oven, like a toaster oven works well for some projects, like keeping material soft at a controlled temperature until it gets molded. Precise heat control is good with electricity. -- Anyway, if you don't burn it electrically, or you don't burn it with gas, it's the same. The idea is just not to burn it.
Cheaper yes, but if worries about burning the PVC are mitigated with the heat gun. A burner or torch is fine if you know what you're doing, as you appear to but if this is a first project, a heat gun is easier to handle.
teslafan1005 years ago
Cool instructables.Also you could use a heat gun :)
all4fun5 years ago
Really cool tool , It looks good , easy and cheap to make. Thx for sharing.
gharper925 years ago
Did you guys know that when PVC burns the chlorine tends to bond to nitrogen and form CN or cyanide. Play safe and don't form PVC indoors.
Thinkenstein (author)  gharper925 years ago
If one does heat-form PVC indoors, as I do, make sure you have good ventilation. Also, try not to burn the PVC as you soften it. If you don't burn it, you don't make the nasty gasses. There is an art to this. -- If you do burn any, hold your breath and get to fresh air. You can take the plastic with you. The PVC normally stops burning as soon as you remove it from the heat source. I have very seldom had to run for fresh air, and I have never had any problem with a self-maintaining flame that had to be put out.. -- Be sensitive. Be careful.
yokozuna5 years ago
Simple and easy yet inventive and useful. A perfect instructables project, 5 stars.
zilcho5 years ago
I like the simplicity. "one ingredient trowel"
aadball5045 years ago
Very Cool thanks for the Idea!!!
Thinkenstein (author)  aadball5045 years ago
You're welcome. Thanks for the feedback.
luvit5 years ago
i left mines out in the sun. it turn'd yellow. *sadfase*
kill-a-watt5 years ago
was the piece of scrap originally pipe? What size / schedule was it originally?
Thinkenstein (author)  kill-a-watt5 years ago
Yes, it was originally pipe, about 3/16 inch thick. I don't know the schedule. I would guess at maybe 4 inch diameter pipe.
The trowel itself, I'm sure, is a useful tool but I loved this instructable for its safety page! PVC is a great base material for tools, but there was a lot on that safety page I didn't know and I'm glad I do now. Thanks for sharing!
Thinkenstein (author)  thebiglabowski5 years ago
You're welcome. Thanks for your feedback.
mattbomb5 years ago
mail order catalogs. the only good use for them