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How are the shaft and handle fitted to a shovel?

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In this image, the shaft is made from ash, a strong type of hardwood. The handle is a D-grip. Shovel handles can be wood, fibreglass or steel to suit different tasks and budgets. Here, the shaft is made from ash, a strong type of hardwood. The handle is a D-grip.

To fit the shaft

A 20cm slot is sawn through a cylindrical length of ash at one end and widened slightly. The process of connecting the shaft to the socket is made up of a number of steps.

First of all, a 20cm slot is sawn through a cylindrical length of ash at one end and widened slightly.

Preparing the wood

The slotted end of the shaft is then immersed in boiling hot water for 3 minutes. The slotted end of the shaft is then immersed in boiling hot water for 3 minutes.

This softens the wood and makes it more malleable, ready for the next stage.

Forming the handle

A horseshoe-shaped clamp is used to mould the wood into a D-grip. A horseshoe-shaped clamp is used to mould the wood into a D-grip.

The slotted end of the shaft is lined up with this clamp…

Each side of the slot spreads around the sides of the clamp, preparing the grip for its D-shape. …where a hydraulic ram pushes the slotted wood through the it.

Each side of the slot spreads around the sides of the clamp, preparing the grip for its D-shape.

The clamped shaft is then left to dry out in a heated chamber for 2 days. The clamped shaft is then left to dry out in a heated chamber for 2 days.

This ensures the wood remains in the D-shape permanently.

A rivet is inserted through the bottom of the slot to avoid any splintering along the shaft.

Both the shaft and handle are sanded down to a smooth finish. Both the shaft and handle are sanded down to a smooth finish.

The shaft is also sanded to a slightly tapered point at the other end.  This will make it easier to insert into the socket of the head later.

The end of handle is then reinforced with a solid wooden grip which is fastened in place with rivets before sanding to a smooth overall finish.

This completes its D-shape.

Connecting the shaft with the head

A press joins together the shaft with the blade through the socket. Now the shovel is beginning to take shape.

A press joins together the shaft with the blade through the socket.

A rivet (a metal bolt) is inserted through the rivet hole previously punched out by the press during construction of the head.  A rivet (a metal bolt) is inserted through the rivet hole previously punched out by the press during construction of the head.

This fastens the shaft firmly to the socket.

Linishing

Linishing is a finishing technique for metals. Using a coarse sander, the join where wood meets steel is smoothed and polished to create a flat and even surface. This is a finishing technique for metals.  Using a coarse sander, the join where wood meets steel is smoothed and polished to create a flat and even surface.

The edges of the rivet are also smoothed down.

Finishing the wood

The shaft is dipped in wood stain. To accentuate the natural grain of the wood,  the shaft is dipped in wood stain.
Once this has dried, a coat of varnish is applied to preserve the wood. Once this has dried, a coat of varnish is applied to preserve the wood.

Now the shovel is complete.