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What are the different types of mattock head?

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Cutter mattock, adxe blade, axe blade A cutter mattock features a vertical axe blade on one side of the head and a horizontal adze blade on the other.

The vertical axe blade can be used for cutting through roots in the ground, whist the adze is used to dig or hoe the earth.

Pick mattock, Pick, adze blade The pick mattock head features a pick on one side and a horizontal adze blade on the other.

The pick is used to break up or dislodge rocks, stones or other solid objects in the ground, whist the adze is used for digging or hoeing the earth.

What are the different sections of the head used for?

  The adze is used to dig or hoe loose and soft earth. The blade of the adze is slightly curved which gives it the correct angle when striking the earth to penetrate further, allowing it to remove a larger amount of earth.

The adze blade is thinner than the pick or axe and so should not be used for breaking up rocks and hard ground or chopping through roots, as this could bend the adze blade.

  The vertical axe blade of cutter mattocks is designed to cut through roots in the ground. Its sharp cutting edge and thicker cross section give it the strength needed for this job.

The momentum of a heavy mattock head at the end of the long handle will give the axe greater force than you could achieve with a spade even if you used your foot to apply more pressure.

The pick on pick mattocks has a thicker cross section than the adze, giving it greater strength.

The pick tapers to a point at the end, which allows the force and momentum of the mattock to be concentrated on a very small area, making it effective at breaking up rocks and hard earth.

Unusual mattock heads

Claw mattock

Claw mattock

Claw mattocks, sometimes referred to as weed wrenches in America, have an adze blade and a two or three pronged claw.

Micro claw mattock in use The claw part of the head is used for breaking up soil and digging out weeds.

Claw mattock heads are most often found on micro mattocks which have a much smaller handle for use with one hand in confined spaces.

Hammer mattock

Hammer mattock

Hammer mattocks are sometimes referred to as geotul/geotool mattocks, due to their popularity with geologists, as they have several advantages over the traditional pick hammer.

The adze blade allows small roots to be cut, lichens to be scraped away and moss carpets to be rolled up in order to get a rock sample.

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