How To Sharpen Your Shovel Or Spade?

Spades or shovels aren’t exactly the superstars of a tool shed. And the humble shovel is the very last tool that comes to mind when you’re about to sharpen something. After all, you’re not going to use a dirt-covered spade to create your masterpiece!

However, you’ll still need your trusty shovel when you need to dig a hole or want to get rid of overgrown roots. If you’re like most people, sharpening your shovel won’t cross your mind. But you’ll be pleasantly surprised how easy your job becomes when you use a freshly sharpened shovel or a spade. Here’s your guide to keeping your shovel in top shape.

Don’t ignore the basics: Before getting into the technicalities of sharpening it’s important to pay attention to the fundamentals to ensure that your shovel stays in decent working order.

  • Most people don’t even bother to clean their shovels. Don’t be one of them! The dirt keeps on piling and caking on the surface and significantly impacts the shovel’s ability to get the job done. Always clean your shovel before putting it away after a job.

  • Most people don’t know how to store a shovel correctly. They often leave it standing on its edges once the job is done. It’s a good way to dull the shovel a lot quicker and reduce its life. Store your shovel in a way that the edges aren’t resting on the ground.

  • Lastly, it’s important to understand that natural elements will have a bearing on your shovel’s effectiveness, especially if you don’t use it that often. Spades and shovels are quite susceptible to rusting. The easiest way to avoid this is to use an anti-rust spray when you store it.        


Sharpening the shovel:

  • Get hold of a wire brush and remove the dirt from the shovel surface.

  • Now position the shovel edge facing up while holding it tightly in place. A good idea is to use a clamp to keep it steady.

  • To sharpen your shovel, you need to have a file or a coarse sharpening stone.

  • Stick to the angle that’s mentioned on the shovel or you can use a 45-degree angle if nothing’s mentioned.

  • You only need to sharpen the inside of the shovel because there is only one bevel on a shovel.

  • While sharpening push your sharpening file or abrasive stone forward and make sure to use the entire length.

  • How many stokes you need to achieve a decent edge will depend on the degree of the dullness of your shovel.

  • There are two signs that you’re doing it right. One, a shiny beveled edge will start to appear and secondly, you should notice a burr on the back of the edge.

  • The idea is to achieve a burr all along the edge. Once there, make a few gentle strokes with the file on the back for deburring.

  • Once you’re done with deburring, finish off with some gentle stroking on the front.


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Here’s to sharp knives and great food!


Team Sharp Pebble                     


  • I can’t say much more than the folks above but I have really enjoyed using your great sharpening tools and the information you provide on a regular basis is absolutely invaluable!
    Thank you for your courtesy and positive care for your customers.
    God Bless and be well

    Newt Benham
  • Yep! This is exactly How I sharpen my shovels. It’s also the way I sharpen my Hoes and small Tools I use to dig small holes for transplanting.

    Norman Dvorak
  • I don’t know; I LOVE Sharp Pebble. I bought the knife sharpening kit a couple of years ago thinking I should really know more about how to sharpen knives, but you’ve given me so much more information. Sharpening shovels! I never would have thought. I save all your advice and when I need it, I look it up. What an addition to the quality of my life, especially during this Covid winter. Thank you, SP!

    Beth Whitney
  • Sharp Pebble great company you have here. Very pleased to be a customer of such a Great Company
    Thank You


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