Friday, December 13, 2019

Finland Entrenching Tool, Spade - Shovel, with Leather Carrier, Imperial Russian - Finnish Re-Issued for Winter War and Continuation War, Karl Spiegel (Карл Шпигель) К Ш, KW

Well, after quite a bit of searching, I finally located an original Finnish issued leather shovel carrier!

One of the best parts of a deal like this, is when I find what I'm searching for, AND it includes the matching shovel at an amazing price.  This was just that kind of deal!

The original leather shovel covers that were used by Finland are hard to come by, especially if you are looking for one that is in very good condition.  This cover is an original, Finnish made, and issued cover that dates to the Pre-Winter War era.  This would place it in the 1920's to 1930's window.

The shovel is an original Imperial Russian issued shovel that was captured by Finland after the revolution, and then reissued to their troops.  The date on this shovel is covered by a thick coat of green paint, but it dates to 1915, give or take a year or two, and no later than 1917.

The shovel is stamped with the crylic letters К Ш indicating that it was made by Karl Spiegel factory in Saint Petersburg, Russia.  The factory was shut down in 1917, so the shovel is no newer than that.
You can read about another one of my Karl Spiegel shovels here: 

 The shovel cover is stamped with the Finnish military acceptance mark of "SA" , and the P stamp indicating it was issued to a pioneer unit.  It also has the initials of a previous "owner".

The shovel has the usual hole punched through the blade, that is found on all Finland shovels.  The holes were punched at about the time the Winter War started.

Prior to the Winter War, the shovels were issued with a leather carrier.  When Finland found themselves at war with Russia, and pressed for equipment, they quit  making leather carriers, and started punching the shovel blades, so they could be carried on a belt hook.

The leather carrier that I have dates to this Pre-Winter War era.  With that said, it would have been used for the Winter War, the Continuation War, and most likely for quite some time into the Cold War.  

The Finish made covers look very similar to the WW1 German surplus covers that were also issued out.  The difference being that they are not stamped with a manufacturer, or have a Finnish manufacturer stamp, and use rivets to reinforce the corners and seams.

This is a wonderful example of a Winter War shovel  that was issued out with the pre-war carrier.

You can read about a few of my other Finnish reissued Imperial Russian shovels here:

Let's take a closer look at the shovel and leather cover:

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Original Swedish Fältspade KLAS, Short Light Attack Shovel compared to Replica Mil-Tec Swedish Shovel

As promised, here is a comparison between the Original Swedish shovel, and the, the Mil-Tec Replica shovel.

Original on left, Replica on right

I pulled out both shovels and set them out, side-by-side, to see just how much difference there was between the two.  As it turns out, there are very few differences.  

Original on left, Replica on right

The weights of the two are very similar.
Original:  1 kg 33g,  or 2 lbs. 15.1 ounces
Replica:   1 kg 34g,  or  2 lbs. 15.3 ounces

Handle length, top of the "T" handle, to the center of pivot bolt:
Original:  17-7/8 inches
Replica:   18-3/8 inches

Width of "T" handle:
Original:  3-1/4 inches
Replica:   3-3/8 inches

Aside from the very slight variations in the overall weight, and slight difference in the handle dimensions, it appears that the replica shovel was built to the exact same specifications as the original.  The blades are identical in shape, dimensions, everything.  In fact, it appears that the blades were stamped out on the same equipment, or could possibly be old stock parts.

The paint colors are different.  The original has the flat, olive drab paint that is typical for Swedish field equipment.  The replica has a very hard, glossy, "forest green" paint job.

The rivets attaching the pivot mount to the blade are different.  The original has rounded rivet heads and backs, and the replica has sharp, "mashed" rivet ends.  The difference is only visually different, not inferior.

The welds on the joint between the "T" handle, and the long shaft on the replica, are not executed to the same high quality as the original.  The weld lines are a bit "rough", with a "pin hole" in the weld line, but the "T" handle is still very firmly attached.  Again, mostly visual in the difference.

Last week I had the opportunity to put the Replica Mil-Tec shovel through its paces, to see how well it held up to some serious trench digging.  We had about 100 feet of trench to dig at my son's new house.  The ground there is very rocky, compacted, glacial till, clay and gravel.  He used his German made, tri-fold shovel, and I used the Replica Mil-Tec.  After digging through some VERY tough ground, prying out numerous rocks, and generally "abusing" the tools I rinsed off the Mil-Tec and gave it an inspection.

The Replica Mil-Tec held up perfectly!  The paint was only slightly worn away, which frankly surprised me.  I did not think that it would hold up that well, but it did.  There was one very slight bent spot on the blade edge from prying out a couple of very large rocks, but that was it.  A quick tap with a hammer and it was back in order.  Everything else on the shovel was as it should be.

My rating for the replica shovel after hard use:  Five Stars!  If you want a shovel to use-and-abuse, that is also a "classic", then this Mil-Tec shovel is the one to grab.  (by the way, the tri-fold performed at 100% as well).  Right now they are going for about $20 to $30 US dollars online.  

With a coat of some OD Green paint, you'll have an "authentic copy" of the original (With the exception of the 3-Crown Swedish acceptance stamp, you don't get that with the replica!)

You can read more about these shovel in my previous posts:

Friday, November 22, 2019

Original Swedish Fältspade KLAS, Short Light Attack Shovel, Three Crown Marked, M58, Swedish Army Folding Shovel

Back in August of 2017, I picked up a Mil-Tec replica, Swedish Fältspade KLAS, Short Light Attack Shovel.  I had been looking for an original for years, and had basically figured that I would be lucky to find an original one these days, and a replica would have to do.  Well, I finally spotted one, and picked it up at a very fair and attractive price.  So, now the Swedish shovel collection is "complete", and I have a "replica" that I can use in the field.

You can read about the Mil-Tec replica KLAS shovel in my previous blog page, here:

These Swedish folding shovels are the best folders I have ever encountered, and I do mean ever.  These shovels are all steel, and built to the highest Swedish standards.  

From what I understand, these shovels were surplussed in the late 1990's and early 2000's.  A small batch of them showed up here in the USA, and were basically sold out in "hours".  The supply in Europe has been pretty dried up for years as well.  If you spot an original, grab it (if the price is right), and you won't be disappointed!

They are not lightweight though!  I tossed this shovel on my scale and it weighed in at 1 kg, 33g, (2lb, 15.1 oz.).  These shovels were meant to do real work, not just be an accessory on the belt.   These folding KLAS,  light attack shovels, were designed to replace the old, straight handle spades that saw service from the early 1900's all the way through WW2.  I believe these new folders were introduced around 1958, or so.  You can read about the old style, straight handle shovels here:

This shovel has the Swedish 3-Crowns stamp, on the back of the blade, in between the rivets.  You won't find this stamp on the replicas, so keep an eye out for that.

The paint is the later, post-war, flat OD green, and this shovel shows evidence of at least one repainting during its life.

The rivets holding the blade to the pivot mount are well rounded on both sides, and are two sizes. 

As with nearly all Swedish gear, the shovel is undated.  I guess the 3-Crowns speak for themselves.......

There are two holes in either corner, or the top of the blade.  These for attaching the optional, aluminum, snow shovel blade.  

You can read about the snow shovel here:

Take a look at the links I provided for my previous blog entries, for the "full story" on these shovels.  After this blog posting, I'll follow-up with a side-by-side comparison between the Mil-Tec Replica and the Original Fältspade KLAS.

Here's a link to the comparison page:

Let's take a closer look and this "battle axe" of a shovel.