a detectorists best friend
2022 shall be remembered as the year that saw the death of many a detectorists best and trusted friend, the humble spade. Ground conditions in the middle of this year became incredibly hard due to the long hot summer and it got the better of two of my spades in quick succession.
This lead me to doing a lot of research to try and find a new spade that would be up to the job in the toughest of soil conditions come rain or shine. I now find myself writing this blog because I think I may have found just such a spade, so I thought I would give it a little Hertfordshire History Hunter review. It’s funny, if you’d have said to me a few years ago that in the not to distant future I would be writing a review about a metal detecting spade then I would have laughed in your face, stranger things, eh!
Simple but clever design.
Still, here we are and the spade in question is a hand made product by NobleMDT. After spending many hours trawling the internet for a new spade I finally came across this one on a fellow detectorists instagram account. The owner of this instagram account had just bought the spade after suffering the same issues that I had and he spoke very highly of it so I decided to check it out for myself.
NobleMDT has a dedicated Facebook page and an eBay shop where you can purchase their spades. Produced by Carl Griffin they are all hand made using high quality 316/304 stainless steel, which as I am finding out makes these spades incredibly strong. They come in a few variations where you can choose between a D or T type handle and the blade can be straight edged or with a serrated root cutter.
T handle design.
I chose the T type handle with the straight edged blade as this was similar in style to the previous spade I had which I had grown to love, even though it failed when the ground got tough (twice!). On first inspection when the spade arrived it looked and felt like a quality product, I loved the simplicity of the design and the welding is second to none, it’s obvious that a lot of love and care goes into making these spades. The fact that Carl is a detectorist shows as well, as these spades have been made specifically for the hobby which does make a big difference. Carl’s customer service is also worth mentioning as he was more than happy to answer my questions before I purchased the spade which was great.
On it’s first outing I threw it in at the deep end on the same hard ground that saw the demise of my last two spades. I was a little apprehensive at first but it didn’t take long for me to realise that this spade was well up to the task. That’s not to say that this spade won’t have it’s limits, of course it will, but those limits seem to be much higher.
With the conditions as hard as they have been this summer the slightly pointed end of the blade is great for initially peircing the ground. After that it always takes a heavy foot to move the blade back and forth to cut deeper into the ground which this spade does really well. This is in part due to the boot savers seamlessly forming the top part of the blade so you are able to put your weight and pressure right where it needs it to be able to cut through the tough ground. The boot savers on the spades I had before were located higher up the shaft which I believe was partly to blame for those blades buckling because the weight and pressure was being applied in the wrong place.
I always thought that the blades on my previous spades at 2mm thick seemed a little on the flimsy side which I think was done to compensate for the added weight of the boot saver. The blade on the Noble is 3mm thick and together with a generous concave and the clever design which sees the seamless boot saver form part of the main shaft weld makes for an incredibly strong spade.
The overall length of the spade at 35 inches is a little shorter than my previous one bit it’s still comfortable to use, my only niggle is that the T handle could be a bit wider so I can grab it with both hands when digging. At 1.6kg it’s lighter than my previous spades and I have no trouble carrying it around for hours on end whilst listening out for those perfectly toned beeps that get the heart racing.
Overall this is a great quality product, designed and hand made by a detectorist for detecorists, which lets be honest makes it feel that little bit more special! I’ve only had the spade for a few months but those months have been the hardest ground conditions I have experienced as a detectors yet and it’s sailed through with no bends or buckles. I have a feeling that this spade will be with me for many years to come, a trusted friend that I can rely on to dig treasures out of many a hole, along with tractor parts, canslaw, ring pulls, nails, shot gun caps, mint viscount wrappers… you all know the score!
A perfectly formed blade.
Priced at £66.50 for the T handle and £68.50 for the D handle (with no extra cost for the optional root cutters) these spades are at the higher end of the market, but in my opinion they are well worth the money. If you want to take a look at NobleMDT spades then head over to their Facebook page on the link below, it’s always a good thing when we can support a small British business making a quality product, especially in these tough times!