Intro: The T Leaf : A.k.a. Toilet Trowel
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.
Angle grinder with a metal cut off blade.
An electric drill or a hand drill.
A 15mm metal drill bit.
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.
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.
Step 3: The T Leaf : Thumb Hole
To assist in use I have added a thumb hole.
Drill a 15mm hole off center on the right leaf if you are right handed. (on the other side for the lefties).
The rat-tail file is used to alter the shape of this hole so that the thumb can be used to grip the T Leaf. Use small pieces of the oxide paper to round off all edges of the hole.
The final step is to polish off any burrs, marks and layout lines with the oxide paper.
Step 4: The T Leaf: Finally
The overall weight is only 39 g.
The use of T Leaf will change depending on the ground on which it is used.
In rocky land it can be used to lever rocks to create the hole.
When the ground is hard and dry it is held in the manner shown in the photos.
For soft ground or when digging a small fire trench it is held as an extension of the palm.