How to Replace a Shovel Handle

A shovel is an important tool that everyone should have at their homes. It can be used for a variety of purposes which includes digging, moving dirt, grain and even snow. And while, you can usually find a shovel under $100, if you already have one, then why bother? Although the scoop of the shovel is usually made of metal and is durable enough to last a lifetime, the same cannot be said for the handle.

If you have a shovel lying in your garage with a broken handle, then you do not necessarily have to buy a new one. In fact, replacing a shovel handle isn’t that difficult and can make your old shovel usable again. Thus, this guide will walk you through the process so you can save your money and restore your shovel again to its original condition.


10 Steps to Replace a Shovel Handle

Step 1: Fix Shovel in a Vice

To make sure that you can effortlessly replace the shovel handle, you need to firmly hold it in the same position. Therefore, although not necessary, owning a vice can make the job much easier. You can place the rivet of the shovel onto the vice so while you’re grinding the head of the rivet, it does not move too much.

Step 2: Grind Rivet Head

Now the first step is to grind the head of the rivet. In case you don’t know, the rivet is the part of the shovel where the handle is installed. It is located between the head and the handle. In order to safely grind it off, you may need a power tool like a hacksaw to carry out the job smoothly.

Keep in mind to use the right personal protective equipment while carrying out this step. And if you don’t know how to operate power tools, then first learn to do that.

Step 3: Change Position of Shovel

Now loosen the vice and then place the shovel in a horizontal position by gripping its head. This will make it much easier for you to remove the handle by loosening the rivet.

Step 4: Loosen the Rivet

The handle of your shovel is probably still very firmly placed in the rivet. So to loosen it up, get a hammer and a dowel pin. Place the dowel pin at the back of the rivet, onto the handle. Tap the dowel pin with a hammer so the handle starts coming out from the other side. Make sure that you do not hit too hard and break the handle inside.

Most importantly, watch out for your fingers, especially, if you lack experience in DIY projects.

Step 5: Install the New Handle

Once the old handle is taken out, grab the new handle and put it into the rivet. Most handles have a universal size, so usually, you wouldn’t have a hard time fitting it. However, in case the new handle is bigger, trim it down a notch with a saw.

Pro tip: Make sure to line the grain up as best as you can while installing the handle. This will not only promote the longevity of your newly installed handle but also, make the shovel more reliable.

Step 6: Maximum Handle Depth

To make sure that the handle fully reaches the depth of the rivet, starting dropping it off the ground. You’ll have to do it a couple of times before you can effectively get the job done.

After that, inspect whether the handle has fully been installed inside the rivet or not. In case it isn’t, repeat this step.

Step 7: Drill a Hole Into the Handle

Now you need to rivet (or simply, hammer the head over) the handle. For that, you will need a drill to make a new hole. Keep in mind that until you haven’t properly riveted the handle, do not use the shovel. Even if it looks firmly placed, once you use it, the handle will come out.

Thus, place the handle into the vice and squeeze it as tight as you can. Keep it in the position to rivet the head as conveniently as possible.

Step 8: Find a Drill Bit

Having access to the drill bit of the right size is another important step to finish this project. In case you do not have the desired size drill bit, then you might want to wait until you do. You can find a small drill bit to rivet the handle online or at a shop nearby.

Step 9: Drill to the Other Side

Once you’re done drilling to the other side of the handle, try and see if the rivet goes through. Now all you need to do is tap the rivet and round it over so it doesn’t come out.

There are a number of ways to do this, however, the simplest is to simply use a hammer and pound the rivet until it isn’t round.

Step 10: Ready to Go

Take your shovel out of the vice and now, your shovel is now again, ready to go.


The Bottom Line

Knowing how important a shovel can be for our day to day tasks, it does not come as a surprise that why you would need to replace its handle. Even though a shovel is quite cheap, why spend money on buying a new one when you could make use of the old one?

If you have the right tools, then changing the handle of a shovel can become even easier. Just make sure that while you’re using any power tools, you also have personal protective equipment on. The same applies while you’re using a drill. Make sure to keep your fingers at a safe distance.

One last thing is, while you’re purchasing a handle for your shovel, opt for a high-quality one. Even if it isn’t too difficult, you would want your shovel to last. Thus, the higher the quality of the handle, the longer it will last.

We hope after reading this guide, you can easily replace a shovel handle now.

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