Friday, December 19, 2008

Plastic Snow Shovel Rant

Plastic snow shovels are the work of the devil.

When I was a kid you could buy an honest-to-God steel snow shovel that wasn't a piece of crap.

I don't want any "steel core", or "steel blade". Even the aluminum shovels don't last long -- the corners and edges get dinged up, and soon you're left with a worthless piece of aluminum on a stick... and even then it's still better than a plastic shovel.

And I'll have none of those allegedly "good for your back" shovels with the bend in the middle. They don't really help your back at all, they screw up your leverage when thrusting into heavily packed snow and/or ice, and if you're moving any large quantity of snow it's impossible to throw it far.

Where are the quality shovels of yesteryear? The ones that weigh half a ton... the ones that kill your back... the ones that are so rigid they'll dislocate your shoulder if you hit a crack in the sidewalk... the ones that are probably dangerous enough they shouldn't be sold to minors?

You know, the ones that actually get the job done?


Anonymous said...

Yeah! The ones that you, uh, pay the kid next door five bucks to use when he shovesl out your driveway!

Sockless Joe said...

That was back when five bucks was five bucks though.

Naw, I do it myself. Still a relatively young buck here.

Samay said...

I don't know where they get them, but all the Chicago Dept. of Transportation crews have the old-school straight-wood-handled, wide-ass-piece-of-steel snow shovels. Probably because they actually use them for their livelihoods. Also, they seem to be in much better shape than the average suburbanite.

Probably have to special order them or something.

Anonymous said...

I like the steel ones that are built like little plows. They suck for lifting, but they're usually built well enough that you can just barrel through the snow and force it to the side of the driveway.


Anonymous said...

BTW - amazon has some steel shovels along those lines...

such as this one

or this one

Sockless Joe said...

I guess I never thought about ordering a snow shovel on amazon. Seems like something that ought to be available at your local hardware store or walmart. (well, they have shovels, but they all suck.)

Funny thing is, there's a True Temper factory in a neighboring township, but no quality shovels are anywhere to be found.

Not so fond of the "plow" style, myself. I'd rather have the type in the second link.

Samay said...

I think it depends on the kind of snow you have. If it's a small amount of heavy snow, the "pusher" shovel is better, but if it's light snow that you have to actually lift out, then the bigger one is best.

I was at my local independent hardware store, and they had a bunch of the second type Mike listed, I didn't check to see if they were steel or aluminum, but they were there.

I don't think the steel shovels can be made cheaply enough to satisfy the low-margin demands of the chain stores, so they don't stock them. Another casualty of the Walmart-ization of America.

Anonymous said...

Metal shovels have their downfalls too. They tend to scrap, scratch and gouge concrete. Over time, they become on their edges, sharper than shaving razor blades and makes they actually dangerous while flinging snow around you. They easily damage wood decks that need snow removal too.
They rust and corrode, bending or breaking at the very worst moment. They are more suited for commercial use. For the seasonal home user, plastic ones are more practical, though maybe depending on your personal use, may need to be purchased more often. But being 1/3 the cost of the metal ones, does that matter?