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What is a grafting shovel?

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Application

This shovel has been designed specifically for grafting ie. anything from digging into dense terrain to shifting heavy material. This shovel has been designed specifically for grafting – slang for hard work! This can be anything from digging into dense terrain to shifting heavy material.

The long blade is curved at the cutting edge and is designed to penetrate through hard, heavy earth.

As it is wider than the cable-laying, draining and rabbiting shovels, it is also suitable for the removal of heavy materials.

Wonkee Donkee says 'Grafting, in the horticultural sense, is a technique where the tissues from one plant are inserted into those of another in order to improve the original plant;s qualities. This is NOT what a grafting spade does!'

The blade

Typical grafter blade dimensions The width of the blade at its cutting edge is usually no less than 150mm (6″) and the length no more than 320mm (12.5″).

Some blades will taper slightly at the cutting edge, others will not.

Check that the blade is dished – curved out slightly towards the sides – to cup and contain material as it is being transported.

This blade has softer rather than sharp corners to avoid damaging pipes and cables. The tread provides a foothold when digging. Look for blades with rounded corners at the cutting edge to reduce the risk of damage to pipes and cables.

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

A solid socket connection 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.'
Solid strapped connection The shaft of a grafting shovel with a strapped socket is held in place with two straps. Strapped shovels are usually less affordable but perform better than sold socket shovels.

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″), however longer lengths are also available.

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

For more information, please see our section: Insulated shovels