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Shovel crane

Tape a rope to your shovel to save your back.
  [vote for,

Take your shovel, be it snow, grain, digging, or whatever kind of scoop you use while standing upright; tape a rope to the base of the blade where the handle attaches and then to the other end of the handle. Grasp the rope in one hand and the handle in the other hand. Now you can push, pull, lift and throw with both hands. This is very similar to the "The Ultimate Snow Shovel" previously presented by 'Bob Wade'. The difference being the attachment to the upper end of the shovel handle. I use this trick whenever I have some serious shoveling to do. In my humble(?) opinion, the best time to learn how to use the shovel crane is when your back is already sore. That way you are not going to habitually bend over while shoveling. I call it a shovel crane because the look of it in use reminded me of a dredging crane.

Details: I use tape because it doesn't damage the handle of someone else's shovel. First, to attach the rope to the handle at the blade end, lay the rope along the top of the handle with a few inches extending over the blade past the point where you are going to tape it. Wrap the rope and handle a few times with tape as close to the blade as is feasible. Fold the extra bit of rope back over the tape wrapped section and run a few more wraps around all of it. Second, measure your rope. Run the rope along the top of the handle and fold it over the end. Grasp the rope and handle together so as to hold the rope in place at the end. Lift the shovel by the rope with your other hand. Adjust the length of the rope so that the shovel blade is at the correct working height and angle for scooping and moving material when you are standing upright and both arms are relaxed. You may be surprised by how little slack is needed in the rope. - Some years ago, I read about how to properly use a shovel. The key point is to lift as little as possible. Leave the loaded shovel close to the ground as you swing it from the pick up point to the dump point. Also, if possible, simply turn the shovel over at the dump point instead of flinging the load. - Third, secure the rope at the right length with a few wraps of tape. The rope should be folded over the end so that tape secures it to both top and bottom sides of the handle. On a shovel with a D handle the rope would be folded over through the loop of the D so it doesn't interfere with your grip. On other types of handles you would grip over the taped end or under the rope closer to the blade. Fourth, get any excess rope out of the way somehow. Now you have a shovel crane.

In use you stand up straight. You can push horizontally into a pile with both hands. You can drop the rope and push the shovel into the ground with your foot, pry a clod loose, then grab the rope, to lift without bending your back. You can use the rope to extend your reach. You can lift and swing a fuller scoop with less effort. For high lifting you bend your knees and slide your hand further down the rope. Digging a trench is now easier to do from above than from down in the trench. You might lengthen the rope for deep, narrow trenches. There are two difficulties to be aware of. One, use a soft rope or gloves to avoid abrading your hands with heavy use. Two, those fuller scoops are often poorly centered on the shovel blade and thus prone to tipping. With an ordinary straight shovel handle you may need a stronger grip with your upper hand. A D or T handle should be fine.

Maybe some day a shovel manufacturer will start selling shovels with loops to secure a rope to. Until that day, you and I will have to save our own backs with a simple shovel crane.

PS You can make it fancier if you want to!

AwarmRay, Jun 04 2013

The Ultimate Snow Shovel
[xaviergisz, Jun 04 2013]


       So... a regular shovel with a rope, one end fixed near the blade, the other to the handle, that works like those newfangled bent-handle snowshovels, but it's adjustable ... ?
FlyingToaster, Jun 04 2013

       Small wheels on either side of and close to the front of the blade?
not_morrison_rm, Jun 04 2013

       I haven't used the bent handled shovels, but the idea of standing up straight while shoveling is the same. A rope is much easier to adjust than a bend in a metal tube. I had to come up with this because I am fat and out of shape due to laziness. With a rope attached to my shovel I can keep up with or surpass the young athletic types and avoid back pain too.   

       Small wheels would likely interfere with the scooping. A caster ball wheel attached to the handle at the base of the blade could turn it into a scooping wheelbarrow, Sir Not.
AwarmRay, Jun 04 2013

       [+] good'nuf.
FlyingToaster, Jun 04 2013

       You didn't find it because it's not named logically.   

       It's called a "crowd rope".
lurch, Jun 05 2013

       Hi [AwarmRay] welcome to the halfbakery. I like your idea. [+]
xandram, Jun 07 2013


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