A coal shovel is a type of square point shovel. They have heavy-duty blades designed for scooping, so while the scooping edge is square and flat, the body of the blade is curved like a shallow bowl with raised edges along each side. Coal shovels can be used to scoop and transport heavy, loose materials like rocks, mud, coal, or sand. Although coal shovels and snow shovels might look alike, a coal shovel usually has a smaller blade made of steel while a snow shovel’s blade is made of plastic or aluminum and designed to scoop lighter materials.
A coal shovel is a useful and versatile garden tool. It can be used for clean-up because its flat edge makes it efficient at scraping debris up from the ground, and it can move large amounts of material in one scoop. Coal shovels are also used to transport and spread dirt, gravel, manure, and other soil amendments. The sharp blade of the coal shovel can be used in a similar manner as a spade for cutting and maintaining straight edges on lawns and garden borders. While round-point shovels are more efficient at digging and breaking into new sod or soil, a coal shovel can be used to hit large pieces of sod or hard clumps of mud.
There are a few different types of handles on coal shovels. The handles can be made of wood or fiberglass. Wood coal shovel handles are usually ash or hickory, woods known for their strength and flexibility. Fiberglass handles are as strong as wood, but they are less susceptible to weather and moisture damage. Handles are of different lengths to suit various users’ heights and strengths. Coal shovels can have both straight and D-grip handles. A D-grip is a handle at the top of the shovel that some users prefer for the extra leverage in heavy lifting.
The strongest coal shovel blades are forged from single pieces of tempered steel, while cheaper types of coal shovels are made of stamped steel and intended for lighter jobs. The blade can have turned steps, which are flat parts at the top of the blade for the user to step on and push the shovel. Smaller coal shovels often have turned steps so the shovel can be used for edging shallow borders. The smallest type of coal shovel is the hand-held type which is used for cleaning fireplaces.