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How is a shovel head manufactured?

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A square mouth shovel
Sometimes, we need to see how something is made to have a clearer understanding of how it works. A hand shovel and the applied science of shovelling is no exception.

In this section, we look at the construction of a solid socket, square mouth shovel with an ash handle and D grip.

Forging the head

The head consists of a blade and a socket The head of a solid socket shovel is formed from sheet metal, where it is heated and shaped by a machine press.

This is known as forging.

Planks of steel are heated to 1,100 degrees celsius then machine pressed into T-shaped pieces.
Planks of steel are heated to 1,100 degrees celsius then machine pressed into T-shaped pieces.

This T-piece will become the head.  The vertical part or the neck will be the socket and the horizontal part, the blade.

Forming the socket

The neck is flattened out between giant rollers.
The neck is pressed again, then flattened out between giant rollers.

Next, the neck is laid in a stamping press.

This punches out the outline for the socket and chops off any surplus metal, much like the dough cut by a biscuit cutter.

First, the press curves the socket outline into a U-shape and, at the same time, punches a rivet hole at the end of the socket.
The following stages complete the socket.

First, the press curves the socket outline into a U-shape and, at the same time, punches a rivet hole at the end of the socket.

Finally, the U-shape outline is bent into a basic cylindrical shape and then perfected
Finally, the U-shape outline is bent into a basic cylindrical shape and then perfected.  A solid socket has now been formed.

Forming the blade

Giant rollers compress this into the blade's general shape. The other end of the T-piece will be the blade.

Giant rollers compress this into the blade’s general shape.

Then a press stamps out the exact shape. Then a press stamps out the exact shape.

In this case, the blade is square (for a square mouth shovel.)

The final strike perfects the blade by striking it into the required angle.
The final strike perfects the blade by striking it into the required angle.

The blade and socket have now been created, forming the head of the shovel.