Through the years, several tools for excavating targets have been tested.
One day I ended up with my custom made aluminum shovel in two pieces, one piece in each hand, after trying to ‘fix’ the fact that the blade had turned a bit. That Summer, the ground was near inpenetrable after months of little rain. It wasn’t me standing and hopping on the shovel that broke it. IT was planting my foot on the connection between blade and shaft that did the trick. Once again, the slogan ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ stands.
That little aluminum shovel was my joy and pride, but after replacing it with a heavy-as-lead Black Ada, double thickness, I was actually happy to have switched.
-The Black Ada is longer, making it possible to dig a lot more without having to bend the back. I actualyl dig with one hand when the soil permits it. I stick the shovel in the ground, step on the foot steps to get it deep enough, then use my foot under the shaft to balance and rotate the blade with mud out of the way. I go over the pile with the detector, while still standing up, and only sit down next to it when I have to sift through the mud with my pinpointer.
– It is strong enough to survive ME digging in all kinds of soils 😀 I’m known to jump up and down on my shovel in dire circumstances to get it to go into the ground. The perks of being skinny.
– it has two steps so it can dig deeper in one go
-the T-bar was not my first choice. I’d rather have a plastic handle that doesn’t get so cold in Winter. The straight end handle was something I would avoid, because I tend do hold my shovel while going around with the detector and it’s a lot easier when you have a horizontal handle.
Downside: it is hefty. It weighs almost 1.9 kilo which is 3.5x more than my other shovel. I did get used to the weight and enjoy knowing this one will not be a victim of my barbarious digging out of a target. Downside 2: I didn’t take the stainless one because of higher price, but now i do get a bit of rust when it stays wet in the car. Or in the rain barrel when I forget to take it out after a rinse. Oops.
There are Black Ada shovels with a shorter shaft and smaller blade, which are a lot more ‘portable’. My buddy has one of those hanging on his belt. He bought some special tool hanger and it fits in it with its straight handle at the end of the shaft; However, it takes a lot of digging to make a decent hole. Only for people with no back problems 😀
Draper shovel: I used my buddy’s Draper shovel. I’m not really sure if it would withstand the rock hard soil in Summer but didn’t have a chance to try and wreck it because he wanted it back. It is smaller and lighter than mine, and also cheaper. It weighs around 750-860g, so less than half of my Black Ada. The blade is a tad bigger. I would use it for playground sand, beach sand and softer soil because it will definitely not break there.