Wash dirt and debris off shovels after using them to prevent metal blades from rusting.

How to Remove a Broken Handle From a Shovel

by Mary Lougee

Wooden shovel handles deteriorate with age, especially with incorrect use and storage. When your shovel handle breaks, all is not lost. You can easily replace the handle itself without the need to purchase an entire new shovel. Shovel handles are readily available with a much smaller price tag than an entire shovel. Replace the handle with common household tools to get you back in the garden as quickly as possible.

Set the shovel on a solid surface, such as the ground or a workbench. Put on safety glasses and leather gloves to protect your hands and eyes from splinters.

Hold the shovel down onto the solid surface with one hand with the blade facing up. The two rivets on either side of the shovel holding it into the blade are on each side of it.

Remove both rivet heads with a hacksaw. Start sawing slowly to start the cut, and then increase your speed to cut entirely through each one.

Place the tip of a center punch next to each rivet post in the handle and strike them with heavy force with a hammer to dislodge them and remove them from the handle.

Tighten the remainder of the shovel handle near the blade into a vise. Strike the shovel blade on both sides of the footrest with a hammer, alternately, until the blade is loose from the handle. Pull the blade off the handle.

Insert the tapered end of a new handle into the shovel blade. Turn the grain of the wood so the straight lines are on the top of the shovel and the oval wood grain in on the sides.

Hold the shovel handle downward with the blade pointing upward. Strike the handle firmly onto a concrete surface or a solid wood block to insert the handle fully into the blade.

Place a 1/8-inch drill bit into a drill. Drill a pilot hole through each side rivet hole and into the new handle.

Replace the drill bit with a 3/8-inch drill bit. Fasten the shovel handle to the blade with one 3/8-inch stainless steel wood screw on each side through the two pilot holes.

Items you will need

  • Safety glasses
  • Leather gloves
  • Hacksaw
  • Center punch
  • Hammer
  • Vise
  • Drill
  • 1/8 inch drill bit
  • 3/8 inch drill bit
  • 2 stainless steel wood screws (8 X 3/8 inch)


  • If you do not have a center punch, a large nail works as well.
  • If you don’t own a vise, you can pull the shovel blade off on a porch rail or corner of a building.
  • Store your garden tools with wood handles in a dry, enclosed area away from moisture and sunlight to extend the length of usefulness.
  • Apply a light coat of linseed oil to the handle and blade of a shovel before storing it for the winter. This process keeps the wood moist, pliable and prevents cracks, splintering and breakage.


  • Do not use a shovel in place of a pry bar to remove rocks, roots or stumps. The tool is designed for digging downward or at an angle and extensive stress will break the wooden handle.
  • Do not wear loose clothing when using power tools. Keep long hair pulled back away from your work area. These measures prevent clothing and hair from being caught in power tools and causing an accident.

About the Author

Mary Lougee has been writing for over 10 years. She holds a Bachelor's Degree with a major in Management and a double minor in accounting and computer science. She loves writing about careers for busy families as well as family oriented planning, meals and activities for all ages.

Photo Credits

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