We get to review lots of different products at Arch MD Mag. There have been a few that were absolute pap, some OK, and some, in our opinion, fantastic.

Today we have the latter.

I was unaware of the Megraphta spade until an episode of the BIG Detecting Show several weeks ago when Co-host Adrian Gayler had the opportunity to discuss this new type of spade entering the UK Metal Detecting market.

Owner of Megraphta – Paul was trusting enough to send us the item to test in the field, literally, and offer an honest review.

Due to the lockdown, homeschooling and life, I had only been able to use the tool in the garden and went out last week for a few hours to detect. Yesterday however I spent a good six hours, along with a good friend, finally enjoying my hobby properly and between us, were able to utilise the Megraphta spade in a range of different ground conditions.

Specifications

The shovel stem is made from composites that are specially made for this application. The blade is made from high tensile steel and the handle from moulded hardened plastic to keep the weight down. All the materials used are sourced in the UK. Each shovel is hand made and assembled in the UK.

  • Carbon Hybrid shaft
  • Lightweight only 2.5 pounds
  • Strong and durable
  • Telescopic to reduce back strain
  • Serrated blade for roots
  • Footpegs for stability
  • The standard height for the HYB1F is 1020mm
  • Position heights from blade to handle
  • 1st position 1020mm, 2nd position 1090mm, 3rd position 1130mm, 4th position 1170mm, 5th position 1210mm, 6th position 1245mm
  • Spade without handle 790mm (blade attached)
  • Blade height 200mm
  • Blade width 125mm
  • Handle stem without shovel 560mm (handle attached)

I think I will get the not so positives out of the way first, this doesn’t mean negative, this is a personal perspective that I have discussed already with Paul.

I have, for twenty years, used the same stubby, DIY store-bought short spade. I have become used to it and engineered it to suit me personally, a few modifications and an old bag extension strap to let me carry it handsfree while walking, have led to me not needing to use anything different. I kept promising to myself to support another great British brand and purchase a Black Ada Gladius, but life throws lemons and I cant make Lemonade ( no money)!

It takes a bit to get used to the fact that the Megraphta is so bloody light, I can’t describe how it feels. But due to this, and its shortest length, it takes some time to get used to walking with it, as I said, I usually travel with it over my shoulder, so at first I was dragging it behind me, I then realised, for people getting old like me, that I could use it as a walking aid, it is that light and versatile. But I have had to change my entire spade related way of use.

The blade is significantly narrower than what I am used to, standard to most metal detecting spade users, but novel to me. Again, this is only due to using the same spade for twenty years.

The lightness of the entire unit also led me to feel that the shaft of the Megraphta would not hold up to the force and pressure of my testing and use, It did.

We were able to use the Megraphta in a range of ground conditions on this particular site. Fantastic easy to dig black soil, semi ploughed land, compacted pasture, flooded area and a very rough area of rock and stones.

These conditions, although a pain to detect in, offered more or less every ground type to use the spade, a dry summer and hardened ground will sadly have to wait at this time, but the Megraphta held up to all the different terrains and held its own against my heavy-handedness and 21 stone of weight.

I tried to force the spade as much as possible, bending it to the ground with the blade still inserted, slamming my foot down onto the footpegs and attempting all manner of near destructive testing. As in the above images, I did meet drove of pigs, more concerned in rescuing my Nokta Makro Simplex and Myself from the attack, the Megraphta went to ground and was trampled by the four pigs. Shooing them away I finally retrieved the spade and was astounded as it appeared undamaged in any way.

That was at the start of the day, so I was able to continue using and attempting shock treatment throughout.

Paul supplied me with one of the first Megraphta spades, a prototype to a degree in terms of the handle. This has since been upgraded and although I have no qualms with this particular handle, I have spoken to Paul and seen images of the new version and it fits perfectly into the overall design.

By trade I am an aircraft fitter, so understand and appreciate carbon composite materials, having worked with large scale versions of the material. This is also why I am a big advocate of the Composite Cleaning Pencil and appreciate it and its associated products. The Megrapthta I also get, I realise the strength of the shaft and what its capabilities are and the strains that can be placed on it. The points of attachment to the blade and handle are well constructed, meaning any potential risk of fracture is minimal.

Overall the Megraphta spade is a phenomenal tool. The blade type, construction and especially the weight make this a bit of a game-changing piece of kit, which is not only of use to the metal detecting community, but also on archaeological digs, gardening and ground working, I know this as I asked a groundsman constructing a new field fence to have a go, sadly I forgot to take a picture, but even he was shocked at the lightness and strength.

This product and potential future related tools are a well worthy purchase. I would even like to see a similar shaft on larger gardening spades. Well done to Paul on this fantastic product and good luck with the Megraphta’s future.

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