On shovels for metal detecting

Custom Aluminium Shovels for metal detecting – the one on the right was the one I used. Tge one on the left would have been better for hard soil because it had a narrow blade and shoe sole protection.

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.

Black Ada – Gladius Black shovel for detecting hard ground.

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.

BBS-detectors : My kind of Lego :p

My current collection of beach detectors by Minelab and coils

Since I started collecting them since Late Spring 2020 and I don’t really live near the coast, the only setups I have used more than once are :

– The Sovereign 1991 with the 8″ original coil:
Light to handle and finds small stuff. Not sure about depth. Some people say the original coils are the best but I can’t really compare. The unit hangs in a random shoulder bag and gets in the way and I’m afraid the part where the coil connects to the unit is going to get hurt by the bending.

– the Excalibur with the Detech 12×10 which works pretty well and isn’t too heavy. Pinpoints quite easily. The Excalibur is attached to an old camera-harness; It’s a bit of a fuss to get it on and off, but the weight and the fact that the unit is hanging behind my back is not bothering at all. I also learned to turn the knobs without seeing them.

– Sovereign Elite with Detech 12″and NEL 14″ coil
The NEL Thunder 14″ coil seems a tad bit heavier on the arm (might be the weight, or just the fact that you have to swing further to keep it away from your feet). Plus, the pinpointing is harder. I still have to test where the actual detecting begins because I think it’s not the entire length of the coil that reacts. Once you know where the beginning is, you can pinpoint by swinging the coil away and back to the target.

The Sovereign with the 8″ original coil: finds small stuff.

The old ‘The Sovereign’ doesn’t work well with the NEL and Detech coils, beeping on all weird hot rocks:

Minelab 10″ coils

I’m not even intending to try the current Minelab Tornado 1000 coil because of it’s weight. Maybe i’ll sell it separately or with one of the detectors at some point.

I replaced the old BBS 10 cable to the coil and sold it a while ago: