Ask a Question forum: Product design student (Improving a spade)

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Sweden, Malmö
ProductDesign
Sep 18, 2017 12:09 PM CST
Hello!

I'm a product design student and I am currently working on a project to improve a spade for allotment users. I have a few questions to ask:

- What qualities are important when choosing a spade?
(Weight, Length, Material, Durability, Handle, Environmental Viewpoint, ....)

- How does it feel in your hands, joints and back after a day at the cultivation pot?

- What is important in a spade from a storage perspective?
(Easy to carry, easy to hang up, flexible, can be folded?)

- How do you think a spade that is adjustable in length and where you can switch to different spade heads would work for you and on the market?

- Is there something missing in spades out there on the market, or anything that can be improved?

- How would you design and manufacture a spade if you had the opportunity?


Any feedback you can offer me will be very useful.

Thank you for your time!
Name: J.R. Baca
Pueblo West Co. ( High Dessert (Zone 6a)
josebaca
Sep 18, 2017 3:34 PM CST
ProductDesign; hello,
I've been a groundsman for the last 22+ years and speaking only for those that I asked and myself, small D handled tools of that nature are best left for those that are short and don't use them for hours at a time. A strong STURDY handle, wide foot plates and tough STEEL are what we are constantly looking for yet can't seem to find. We even tried those made with airplane grade aluminium handles, and while they held up fairly well, they are EXTREMELY cost prohibitive. The toolhead must be welded and not riveted and reinforced at the shank of the handle as that is the main breaking point.
We have kept the better heads that have broken off and had our welder affix stronger pipes to them but some of the earlier 'models' are juuuussstt a bit too heavy Crying But we have noticed that the ones we have kept are generally 'Razorbacks", not a bad shovel for the money but kinda chintzy on the handles. Ames used to make a pretty good shovel as well. Shrug!
As for an interchangeable head on a shovel?..........it would have to have an aggressive coupler for what we do.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
Sep 18, 2017 9:58 PM CST
Don't re-invent the short handled hoe. It was banned in California in 1975 because it was causing injury to workers.

Long handles that you can stand up and use without putting undue strain on your back. Anytime you have to bend repetitively, you will have back injury.

Light weight. I love the new polycarbonate hand tools. Build me a Fiskar Garden Trowel big enough to dig a man-size hole.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Yardenman
Sep 19, 2017 8:56 AM CST
ProductDesign said:Hello!

I'm a product design student and I am currently working on a project to improve a spade for allotment users. I have a few questions to ask:

- What qualities are important when choosing a spade?
(Weight, Length, Material, Durability, Handle, Environmental Viewpoint, ....)

- How does it feel in your hands, joints and back after a day at the cultivation pot?

- What is important in a spade from a storage perspective?
(Easy to carry, easy to hang up, flexible, can be folded?)

- How do you think a spade that is adjustable in length and where you can switch to different spade heads would work for you and on the market?

- Is there something missing in spades out there on the market, or anything that can be improved?

- How would you design and manufacture a spade if you had the opportunity?


Any feedback you can offer me will be very useful.

Thank you for your time!


For what it is worth, the single best tool I own is an all steel spade, blade about 8" wide and 16" deep. Turned metal at the shoe-end of the blade. Forget that rubber cushion stuff at the top of the blade where the foot goes, they don't last no matter what you design.

D handle about 4' long. Solid steel blade through top. Mine is 20 years old and nothing can beat it.

Any joint changing from blade to top fails. They always fail at the transition. Solid steel top to bottom is the only decent spade.

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