Sharpening: How to Sharpen a Shovel

Slice through tree roots and tough soil more easily

Sharpen your shovel or spade and make digging easier. You can do it in 10 minutes.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

Sharpen a shovel

Your shovel will slice through dirt and roots easier if it has a sharp edge. If the point of your shovel is ragged with dents or chips, start by smoothing it with a grinder (Photo 1). Then switch to a mill bastard file (Photo 2) to file a bevel. You don't want a knifelike edge. Instead just bevel the top edge at a 70-degree angle to the back. That's pretty blunt compared with the 25- or 30-degree angle used for knife sharpening.

Back to Top

Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • Angle grinder
  • Mill bastard file

You'll also need leather gloves.