Instructables

For many years I carried the orange plastic trowel when back packing.  Even with the handle drilled out to reduce weight it still weighed 45g.
Needless to say it finally broke at the handle.

Looking at the junk (saved treasures) in the shed for a replacement I noticed I had some Aluminium Capping (approx 0.5mm thick) and an old garden trowel.  These started my thinking and resulted in The T Leaf.

The final weigh in resulted in a larger trowel that was only 39g.

Tools I used :-
A sheet of paper salvaged from the printer.
Scissors.
Black Sharpie
Angle grinder with a metal cut off blade.
Tin-snips.
Flat file.
An electric drill or a hand drill.
A 15mm metal drill bit.
Rat-tail file.
A range of silicon oxide sanding papers.
Practice safe work.
Use ear muffs and safety goggles.  Hold material in a vice or clamps when drilling or grinding.
 
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Step 1: The T Leaf : Design and lay out

The gardening trowel that inspired the T Leaf has the approximate measurements.
Length 170 mm.
Widest point 90 mm.
Rounding down to approx 60mm near the point.

The fold in the capping strip was used to add rijidity.

Fold the paper in half-lengthwise.  Using the dimensions above layout your overall shape.  Remember that the final template will be symmetrical along the fold.
Cut along your curve.

Step 2: The T Leaf : Cutting out


Lay the fold of the template along the fold in your aluminium.  Mark around the edge with your Sharpie.

Use the angle grinder to rough ouy the T Leaf.  If you outline the shape with the angle grinder it is much easier to use tin-snips for the final rough shaping.

The bench grinder is used to remove the final excess material.  Use the grinder to slowly remove the marks from the Sharpie.

The flat file is used to remove grinding marks from edges.  Be careful of the burrs created by the grinder they are sharp and can do you an injury .

The silicon oxide paper is now used to round off all edges.
caarntedd1 year ago
This is for digging? When I read the title and saw the picture, I thought this was a butt scraping tool! :D

Me too and yet we all clicked on here to see how it works, and how I can make one for my own butt.

Matt428 caarntedd3 months ago

Me too!

mrandle caarntedd4 months ago

I think its for digging a hole to poop in so close I guess lol.

jonnyd552 years ago
Why not use your angle grinder to cut a sirated edge for light sawing of roots or grass when digging. You could also get a large rubber grommet to put in the hole. This will make it much more ergonomic :)
Cambronze (author)  jonnyd552 years ago
I find that the sharpened edge is usually sufficient to dig most places.
As weight is a major consideration I did not use a grommet. If I was going to pad the hole I would tend to run a ring of silicone sealer around both edges and the with damp hands mold them together over the edge.
Kaelessin3 years ago
nice! this is awesome.

I've been trying to find a decent backpacking-ready trowel/shovel for years and the old ww2 style ones have seemed to be the only viable option but they're large and heavy for the little use i'd actually be getting from them. This is perfect!

I wonder if a sugru (or oogoo) pad around the thumb hole and along the back ridge would make it more ergonomically ideal too . . .Living in AZ with sometimes rock hard soil would make any digging somewhat painful lol
Cambronze (author)  Kaelessin3 years ago
Thanks for your thoghts.

As Sugru is difficult to obtain here, it tends not to enter my thinking. give it a go in your model and let us know how it goes.
schkip19733 years ago
great job! lightweight and simple design..