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#204345 - 04/25/20 05:55 PM trowel test
PerryMK Offline
member

Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1228
Loc: Florida panhandle
So I've accumulated a collection of backpacking trowels. I got to thinking comparing them might be fun, or at least a way to pass the time. But I like to conduct objective tests (I'm a chemist by trade and like objectivity).

I would like some ideas of what tests to perform. My first inclination is to get a 5 gallon bucket of sand and push the trowel into the sand using a luggage scale to measure force required. This way it's not just 'it felt easier/harder'.

My other thought is attaching weights to the end of each trowel to see when it bends to test prying strength. But I'm not keen on breaking them. Maybe just estimate prying strength needed and test that amount of weight.

Other ideas?
Thank you.

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#204346 - 04/25/20 06:22 PM Re: trowel test [Re: PerryMK]
Rick_D Online   content
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2909
Loc: NorCal
Most intriguing collection I've heard of in awhile. cool

Two capabilities I need:

Prying out rocks/fitting between them. So resistance to bending and snapping while being thin enough to fit in tight joints.

Cutting though root mats.

Not clear on how to standardize tests for those, other than potentially destructive failure-point bending for the prying part.

Let us know your progress!

Cheers,
_________________________
--Rick

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#204347 - 04/25/20 09:20 PM Re: trowel test [Re: Rick_D]
Glenn Roberts Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1906
Loc: Southwest Ohio
What about comfortable use? Shape/padding on handle? Does it hurt the hand when enough force applied to push it into normally-hard earth?

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#204348 - 04/25/20 10:22 PM Re: trowel test [Re: Glenn Roberts]
Rick_D Online   content
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2909
Loc: NorCal
Agreed, Glenn. Probably the worst time to find oneself with bloody fingers.

Cheers,


Edited by Rick_D (04/26/20 03:46 PM)
_________________________
--Rick

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#204350 - 04/26/20 04:43 AM Re: trowel test [Re: Rick_D]
PerryMK Offline
member

Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1228
Loc: Florida panhandle
The bucket of sand is partly because I have a bucket of sand and partly to have a consistent test to repeat with each trowel.

I agree comfort is a good measure but not sure how to measure it. Maybe reverse the trowel and see if it still penetrates soil.

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#204351 - 04/26/20 03:51 PM Re: trowel test [Re: PerryMK]
Petro1234 Offline
member

Registered: 10/27/16
Posts: 98
Loc: engeland
Speed and depth ?

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#204357 - 04/27/20 11:06 AM Re: trowel test [Re: Petro1234]
BZH Offline
member

Registered: 01/26/11
Posts: 1040
Loc: Madison, AL
I agree with Petro: time digging a standard size hole. It seems subjective, but with a little repetition I think you could easily differentiate the capabilities of different models. Small, thin, uncomfortable models that would show little resistance to penetrating the soil would be penalized because they are a PITA to use and can't remove very much material.

Dig in different materiel: sand, gravel,... and try to find some soil with consistent roots. Roots are the hardest to test for but the most common issue while in service. Inconsistency in root structure could throw off results.

Best of luck. I eagerly anticipate your results (not quite as eagerly as I have anticipated the results of digging a hole in the back country a few time though)

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#204359 - 04/27/20 12:35 PM Re: trowel test [Re: BZH]
aimless Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 3137
Loc: Portland, OR
Inconsistency in root structure could throw off results.

Since we're designing a bulletproof test for this all-important question, the obvious answer would be to recruit about a dozen volunteers who would each dig a hundred holes to a uniform depth using each trowel, carefully recording the time required and grading such variables as ease of use on a 1 - 10 scale, corresponding to the best available indictors. These could be charted on a scatter graph, noting how they clustered.

Anyway, I'm sure the more experienced post-grad MS and PhD degrees among us could power their way past these small difficulties in study design and statistical interpretation. Then we'll have real information, not just a bunch of random data. laugh

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#204360 - 04/27/20 05:03 PM Re: trowel test [Re: aimless]
Glenn Roberts Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1906
Loc: Southwest Ohio
Did I mention I'm out of town that day? wink

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#204361 - 04/27/20 05:07 PM Re: trowel test [Re: BZH]
Glenn Roberts Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1906
Loc: Southwest Ohio
Since I frequently don't have a lot of lead time (and am not that good at lawn darts), I don't worry about speed that much. Instead, I make digging the hole the last step instead of the first - after I have dug a perfect hole, I use a long stout stick to push everything into the hole, then cover it up. Never fails, and removes a lot of pressure. Literally.

I know - TMI (again.) smile

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#204362 - 04/27/20 05:38 PM Re: trowel test [Re: PerryMK]
PerryMK Offline
member

Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1228
Loc: Florida panhandle
I just ordered another trowel. I think this will be the last. From this site and a couple others I think I have a few ideas, and the realization that no test will be perfect. Of course I’m still open to new ideas.

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#204363 - 04/27/20 09:20 PM Re: trowel test [Re: PerryMK]
balzaccom Online   content
member

Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 2022
Loc: Napa, CA
Are any of them motorized? laugh


Edited by balzaccom (04/27/20 09:21 PM)
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check out our website and blog: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/home

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#204364 - 04/27/20 11:44 PM Re: trowel test [Re: Glenn Roberts]
Petro1234 Offline
member

Registered: 10/27/16
Posts: 98
Loc: engeland
Originally Posted By Glenn Roberts
Since I frequently don't have a lot of lead time (and am not that good at lawn darts), I don't worry about speed that much. Instead, I make digging the hole the last step instead of the first - after I have dug a perfect hole, I use a long stout stick to push everything into the hole, then cover it up. Never fails, and removes a lot of pressure. Literally.

I know - TMI (again.) smile


Yes, you would certainly want to take your time then. Maybe an hour or two or an entire afternoon.

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#204365 - 04/27/20 11:46 PM Re: trowel test [Re: PerryMK]
Bill Kennedy Offline
member

Registered: 02/27/18
Posts: 269
Loc: Portland, Oregon
I suspect there's a little cabin fever at work here smile

Well, me too. I bought a Deuce of Spades a while back, and discovered it's excellent for digging...into my hand. I finally put a bead of epoxy putty (JB Weld SteelStik) around the handle to blunt it. It added 0.3oz., but made it useable. So comfort is high on my list.

It occurs to me that when through, you'll have the necessary data to design and market the perfect potty trowel. In fact, Perfect Potty might be a good name for your new company. However, I would suggest a name that pays homage to the history of backpacking...Poopwise.
_________________________
Always remember that you are absolutely unique, just like everybody else. -Margaret Mead

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#204366 - 04/28/20 06:10 AM Re: trowel test [Re: Bill Kennedy]
PerryMK Offline
member

Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1228
Loc: Florida panhandle
Originally Posted By Bill Kennedy
I suspect there's a little cabin fever at work here smile


Actually, I'm still working out of the house at least half of the time. I'm just naturally compulsive wink

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#204368 - 04/28/20 12:58 PM Re: trowel test [Re: Bill Kennedy]
Petro1234 Offline
member

Registered: 10/27/16
Posts: 98
Loc: engeland
Who can forget the Ipood ?

https://www.trailspace.com/gear/sea-to-summit/ipood-pocket-trowel/

Apple got huffy and sent sea to summit a threatening letter, so they had to change the name.

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#204369 - 04/28/20 03:00 PM Re: trowel test [Re: Petro1234]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6735
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I'm enjoying this thread--the more laughs we can get in this time of crisis, the better!

Here's a suggestion of trowels that should be included in the test:
5 best leave no trace trowels This article appears to be about a year old.

My favorite is the QWiz Big Dig. Probably because it came out before the others mentioned in the article.

Rocks and roots are the most important obstacles towards getting a cathole dug, especially when one is in a hurry. Glenn has a good idea for the latter situation!
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#204380 - 05/01/20 02:14 PM Re: trowel test [Re: OregonMouse]
PerryMK Offline
member

Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1228
Loc: Florida panhandle
The last of the test trowels arrived today. Hopefully I can get started this weekend. I plan to be done this month (I'm in no rush).

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#204401 - 05/09/20 03:24 PM Re: trowel test [Re: PerryMK]
PerryMK Offline
member

Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1228
Loc: Florida panhandle
I’ve got 10 pages of specs plus completed two sets of tests. Hopefully next weekend I can do one or two more sets of tests and write a few reviews and thoughts.

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#204402 - 05/10/20 10:02 AM Re: trowel test [Re: PerryMK]
balzaccom Online   content
member

Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 2022
Loc: Napa, CA
The best part of any research project is to read about the fails. That's where to good stuff is.
_________________________
balzaccom

check out our website and blog: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/home

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#204403 - 05/11/20 01:12 PM Re: trowel test [Re: PerryMK]
Glenn Roberts Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1906
Loc: Southwest Ohio
We definitely want the second set of data - otherwise, how would we know we're getting the straight poop?

Come on, you knew someone was going to say it! smile

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#204404 - 05/11/20 07:31 PM Re: trowel test [Re: Glenn Roberts]
Bill Kennedy Offline
member

Registered: 02/27/18
Posts: 269
Loc: Portland, Oregon
With all that data, I imagine he'll be able to determine the best one. You know, by process of elimination.

Sorry, it's cabin fever. I know I shouldn't go there. Oops, sorry again smile
_________________________
Always remember that you are absolutely unique, just like everybody else. -Margaret Mead

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#204405 - 05/11/20 10:06 PM Re: trowel test [Re: Bill Kennedy]
Rick_D Online   content
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2909
Loc: NorCal
Originally Posted By Bill Kennedy
With all that data, I imagine he'll be able to determine the best one. You know, by process of elimination.

Oh lawdy!

Digging issues aside, wonder whether this will be the hiking season I finally consider packing out the paper. I won't complete the thought.
_________________________
--Rick

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#204408 - 05/12/20 06:07 AM Re: trowel test [Re: Rick_D]
PerryMK Offline
member

Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1228
Loc: Florida panhandle
Ironically, many years ago (no longer) I was a certified colon therapist. So I know my poop.

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#204410 - 05/12/20 10:52 AM Re: trowel test [Re: Rick_D]
balzaccom Online   content
member

Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 2022
Loc: Napa, CA
Originally Posted By Rick_D
Originally Posted By Bill Kennedy
With all that data, I imagine he'll be able to determine the best one. You know, by process of elimination.

Oh lawdy!

Digging issues aside, wonder whether this will be the hiking season I finally consider packing out the paper. I won't complete the thought.


We've been doing that for years. Just so tired of funding TP at every campsite. Get over it...grin
_________________________
balzaccom

check out our website and blog: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/home

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