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shovel sharpening

Guide for Sharpening a Shovel

When it comes to digging holes or tackling tangled roots, having a sharp shovel can make all the difference. While many may not have considered sharpening their shovel, the truth is, a sharp edge will slice through dirt and plant matter with ease, saving both time and energy.

Tools for Sharpening:

  • Norton Utility File
  • Lansky Heavy-Duty Sharpening Tool
  • Work Sharp Ken Onion Edition Knife Sharpener with the Tool Grinding Attachment

How to Sharpen a Shovel:

  • Begin by cleaning off any dirt caked onto the shovel using a wire brush.
  • Secure the shovel in place with the cutting edge facing up, using a clamp or vise for stability.
  • Choose a file, coarse abrasive stone, or handheld grinder for sharpening.
  • Use the existing angle of the shovel as a guide. If the original angle is unclear, a 45-degree angle is suitable for most digging tools. Focus on sharpening the inside edge of the tool, as shovels are typically single-beveled.
  • If using a file or abrasive stone, push the sharpener forward in even passes along the full length of the blade, sharpening away from the edge to minimize the risk of accidents.
  • When using a handheld grinder, ensure the shovel is securely held and move the grinder along the entire sharpened edge. Avoid lingering in one spot to prevent unnecessary heat buildup.
  • Aim for a visibly shiny beveled edge, approximately 1/8″ in width, indicating proper sharpening. Continue sharpening until you feel a slight burr along the entire cutting edge, then lightly stroke the backside to remove the burr before finalizing the sharpening on the cutting edge.

Additional Tips for Maintenance:

  • Keep your shovel clean by removing any accumulated dirt before storing it.
  • Store shovels in a manner that prevents the edges from resting directly on the ground, which can accelerate dullness.
  • Apply a rust-preventative spray to extend the lifespan of the shovel.

By following these simple steps and maintenance tips, you can ensure your shovel or spade remains sharp and efficient, ready to tackle any digging task with ease.

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