Terms of the Trade: What Is the Difference Between a Shovel and a Spade?

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While often used interchangeably, shovels and spades have different characteristics that make them work better than the other at specific tasks. Shovels and spades both have long handles to assist in moving dirt and debris, digging holes, and otherwise manipulating the ground. However, a spade is the one that doesn’t have the curved tip on the blade. That’s right; a spade in the DIY sense is not the same shape as the spade in a deck of cards. The tool typically has a flat edge that makes it ideal for cutting and scraping hard ground (i.e., outlining a garden bed,…

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