Look in the back of my 4-wheel drive any time I am away from home and you will always find a shovel, because over the years a shovel has gotten me out of some bad situations. I remember a couple of years ago, I attempted to cross some soft mud in my 4-wheel drive only to get stuck. It seemed like an easy crossing, maybe 25 feet or so, and didnt appear to be anything to be alarmed about.
Nothing could have been farther from the truth. About half way across, my vehicle settled down to the frame. What saved me that day were two items, my folding shovel and a good jack. This wasnt the first time I got stuck, and probably wont by my last.
During my ordeals, Ive often worried if my shovel would hold up since I have had the wooden handles break on previous models. Well, that is no longer a worry since I have been given the opportunity to evaluate a couple of George Lesches new heavy-duty shovels.
The first style is named the Lesche MP Folding shovel. This military-style shovel comes in three different models that vary basically in handle design. The price of these tools range from $59.95 for the straight handle and the T handle models to $69.95 for a model that has a storage compartment in the handle.
In technical terms, all three models have blades and handles made from 4130 Crome-Moly aircraft steel. The mounting bolt that couples the blade to the handle is a grade 8 bolt, and the two mounting ears welded to the blade are made from cold rolled steel and machined for proper alignment and positioning. The locking of the blade in one of its three positions is done by turning a machined aluminum locknut. A stainless steel washer protects the locknut from digging into the positioning ears.
In simple terms, this all-metal shovel is made of some very hard and durable material. Unlike many other models of folding shovels I have seen that have various components riveted together, all rigidly mounted components are welded on the Lesche tools.
Having a blade that is approximately 57/8 by 71/8, the overall length of the straight shovel 19 inches (closed) and 251/2 inches long when open. The T handle model is a little longer, at 201/2 inches long closed and 27 inches long open. The third model, the one with a storage compartment is a little longer at 221/2 inches closed and 29 inches open.
Like other military style folding shovels, the blade of the MP shovel can be adjusted to three different positions, as a straight or conventional shovel, the blade positioned at a right angle for hoeing, and closed for transporting. Unlike other folding shovels, one side of the blade of the Lesche shovel is sharpened so the tool can be used to cut roots, etc. Also, like other military styled folding shovels, the color of this shovel is military green.
In the field
I carried the Lesche MP folding shovel with me on my last field test of a metal detector. Normally, I use the Lesche pick to retrieve suspected targets when nugget hunting. However, when digging up very deep targets, a shovel is necessary, especially a folding shovel.
Although I didnt find any nuggets while digging some of the deep holes I dug with the MP shovel, things were sure a lot easier. I remember one hole I dug was about 3 feet deep. It wasnt until I was about at the bottom that I realized I was digging in an old tailing pile and what was to be found was trash.
Anybody who has tried to dig a deep hole knows the difficulty. After about a foot or so deep, it is almost impossible to pull the dirt out of a hole with a normal shovel.
However, with the folding shovel, I was able to first break up the soil using the shovel as a normal shovel, and then fold the shovel blade 90 degrees and use the shovel as a scoop.
One other use I found for the MP folding shovel was to pull down a couple of large piles of dirt left by previous gold seekers. These previous gold seekers used various types of mobile equipment to move large amounts of material.
One of the techniques commonly used by these previous hunters was to remove what is called overburden from the drywashes, piling it up along the sides and then processing the remaining material in the wash near the bedrock.
The reason for pulling down such piles is simply that it has been quite common to find nice nuggets hidden in these overburden piles. However, because these piles usually contain a lot of rocks, digging in them with conventional wide bladed shovels can prove to be cumbersome.
This is where the MP shovel excels. Its narrow blade and ability to have the blade positioned at 90 degrees means this shovel can double as both a shovel and a super sturdy hoe, thus making the task of leveling such piles less of a problem.
The Lesche MP folding shovel, like all the other Lesche products I have used, is built to last. Each one is basically hand crafted of super strong material for durability and dependability. George Lesche is so confident in the MP folding shovel that he guarantees it for five years.
Over the years I have tried to save money by purchasing cheaper products. What I realized was over the long run, it usually cost me more, simply because of the problems experienced with lesser quality equipment.
I dont do that any more. Instead, I purchase quality equipment such as the Lesche MP shovel and their prospecting pick. I do so that when I go out nugget hunting, I can concentrate on searching for gold without worrying about whether I will run into problems with my digging equipment.
It is easy for me to recommend the MP folding shovel to everybody who wants and needs a quality digging tool.
For more information on the Lesche MP folding shovel, contact Pamela Lesche Enterprises, 35 south Woodruff Road, Bridgeton, NJ 08302, phone (609) 455-3790 FAX: (609) 451-4985, e-mail: sales@leschetools. com or visit their website at: www.lesche tools.com