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What is a cable laying shovel?

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Application

Used for digging narrow trenches for laying cable and pipes
Cable laying shovels are designed for digging long, narrow trenches for laying cables or pipes.

The long blade tapers towards the end and penetrates easily through hard, heavy earth.

Its slim design also means that less earth/material will be taken out, giving a neat finish. However, it is unsuitable for prolonged shovelling.

The blade

Cable laying blade dimensions The width of the blade is generally around 115mm (4.5″) at its cutting edge while the height averages at 280mm (11″).

Shovels with blades with rounded corners at the cutting edge will reduce the risk of damage to cables and pipes.

Some blades also have a tread on the top to give a better foothold when digging.

Cable laying shovel with a D grip The most robust heads (the blade and the socket) are forged from one piece of steel, which means that the shaft-to-socket connection is either a solid socket or, less commonly, a strapped socket connection.

The cheaper open socket blades tend to break easily under continual use.

  Wonkee Donkee says 'A solid socket means that head is forged from one piece of steel rather than stamped out of a thin sheet like an open socket, which creates a weak point at the neck. A solid socket connection is much sturdier.'
A solid strapped connection means that the shaft is held in place with two steel straps. For more information on socket connections, please see our section: How is the blade attached to the shaft?

The shaft

This will prevent water from entering any open points, lessening any damage A steel shovel should have high quality welds (metal joins) that have no open points to allow water to enter. This will reduce the risk of internal rust and damage.

There should not be any fractured seams: welds must look immaculate and as smooth as possible.

The shaft is normally the standard length of 700mm (28″): check with the manufacturer if you require longer lengths.

Use an insulated shaft when digging around live cables For working around live cables or power lines, use an insulated shaft.

Please see our section: Insulated shovels for further information.