Back-Saving Two-Handled Snow Shovel




Introduction: Back-Saving Two-Handled Snow Shovel

Never bend over again to shovel snow!  Add a second handle from any broken tool with a D-handle (or even a cheapy shovel cut off), two pieces of plywood and a few nuts and bolts.  It works even better than those expensive curved handle shovels you see in the store.

Step 1: A Little Prep

Cut two pieces of scrap ply approx 9x16", cut a handle down to about 20" long, buy six bolts, washers and nuts the appropriate length for the thickness of the second handle and two pieces of ply, typically 3 inches.

Step 2: Layout on the Ply

Lay out the placement of the shovel's handle, and the second handle on one of the pieces of ply.  Four of the bolts go AROUND the shovel handle (making it transferrable to a new shovel when the blade cracks or whatever) and two of the bolts go THROUGH the second handle.  I have eight on mine, but six is ok.  The angle can be whatever is comfortable for you.  For me it was about 60 degrees, and the top of the second handle should be about the same height from the ground as the shovel handle when its in use, at a good angle to the ground.

Step 3: Drill and Assemble

Stack the two ply pieces and drill holes where you marked them.  Then clamp the ply onto the shovel with 4 (or 6) bolts, fit the second handle in where the holes are predrilled for it, and mark on the second handle.  Remove the second handle, drill the two holes in it where marked, and bolt it into the ply pieces. 

Note my posture - not bent over at all!  This also prevents uneven weight distribution on the back helping prevent dislocation.  And yet the shovel can be used normally, like to push it in front of you if you want.  Enjoy!

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    7 Discussions


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    The default pictures at are actually pretty deceiving. They do not show that the Shovel Master is both articulated and torsionally spring biased, which is the key to constructing a truly viable dual handled shovel.

    You can read much more about the design, it's advantages,  and view extensive footage under pretty severe snow conditions at

    Great , this has been a pretty brutal winter sofar 2 inches of ice on my driveway, that happens to be some odd 1000 square feet, luckily my dad has a plow for the snow, but we have to get the ice up cause the plow cant handle it. Boy was my back sore after that day, i wonder how much this would help.


    9 years ago on Step 3

    This needs to be lightened as much as possible. Remember how difficult it can be to throw a large (heavy) load of snow!

    I see some pencil marks on the plywood, which seem to suggest that the author has that in mind.


    Reply 9 years ago on Step 3

    Yes, GishPup, you could lighten it a few ounces by trimming the ply, but the best way is to pick a light second handle, like from a cheapie snow shovel. My prototype was a light cheapie shovel as you can see and a fairly light hardwood and steel second handle from a broken garden spade, so it's not bad.

    The real advantage of this rig is the load it takes off your lower back from being able to use two hands at waist level, and even a large shovelfull of slushy snow was manageable - the end of the driveway where the city plow plowed us in.

    Free tip: use some car wax on the shovel blade to keep it slippery and light.

    Happi Trails!

    Phil B
    Phil B

    9 years ago on Introduction

    This is a clever idea. Thank you for publishing a useful idea. It is good for the general readership of Instructables that you used tools and methods available to all. I did an Instructable some time ago on replacing a cracked plastic handle on a snow shovel with one I welded up in about 45 minutes so I could finish shoveling fresh snow before breakfast one morning. That was a way to get a handle when I did not have any left over from a broken garden tool. But, not everyone has access to a welder.