Last year, just before COVID came knocking, we were contacted by Bristol boffin Paul Clements who asked if we would like to trial a new spade he had invented. Inspired by a remark from a friend with a disability, and born from lunchtime doodling whilst working as a senior designer at Airbus UK, Paul’s mechanical spade is designed to take the strain out of digging by eliminating the need to bend your back.
Now we’re suckers for new tools and gadgets (especially ones that make soil shifting easier) so we invited him over to show us the goods. At a clandestine, mid-afternoon meeting at our windswept allotment, Paul unveiled his prototype spade from the wraps of a tartan travel blanket and, under his tutelage, we set it to work on our claggy soil beds.
Paul’s unique, dual-handled spade features a shaft that is 30% longer than other spades which gives the spade impressive leverage and power and works by operating a lever to lower and lock the spades blade. It’s kind of tricky to describe in writing, so we’ve made a short video of the spade in action which will hopefully make things clearer.
Admittedly it took a few goes to get used* to the spade’s clever mechanics but once we’d got the knack, we dug over our raised beds in a flash. We think it’s a great product that deserves a wider audience, so If anyone out there would like to help Paul put his prototype into production, please drop us an email and we’ll put you in contact.
Happy upright digging!
* To be honest, it took a bit of time for allotment-shy Nick to get used to actual digging.