TM reader Gaute Amundsen asks an interesting question: “Can we improve upon the shovel and wheelbarrow? Shovels and spades are simple and versatile, but the physics of shoveling are just horrible — as your back will quickly tell you. Having recently taken delivery of a truckload of aggregate for filling a cable trench — and another truckload of soil for the garden — I’ve had reason to ponder the question. After some Googling, I’m both intrigued and disappointed.”
Some of the products Gaute ran across include the krafse (a sort of narrow shovel of Norwiegan descent, known for its ability to just skim the soil and pick up/move above-ground material) and the Wovel, which Toolmongers have weighed in on previously. Gaute wrote that he tried an improvised version of the Fresno scraper (pictured above) designed to be moved by two people and achieved some success in moving aggregate.
But the question stands: “Even in the age of hydraulics there’s need for moving soil by hand. Can this really be state of the art? If anyone can answer this it must be the readers of Toolmonger!”