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FS: Titanium Cathole Trowels are Back - Improved: 2 Sizes, "Original" 0.4 oz or "Big Dig" 0.6 oz
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Robert Kelly
(QiWiz) - MLife

Locale: UL gear @
FS: Titanium Cathole Trowels are Back - Improved: 2 Sizes, "Original" 0.4 oz or "Big Dig" 0.6 oz on 03/11/2011 08:19:32 MST Print View

September 10, 2011 UPDATE: I'm back from 10 days backpacking in the Wind River Range, so you can order and expect next day shipments again. Can you dig it?

This thread was started in March and keeps showing back up when BPLers post to it. There is another thread as well in this forum that is more recent, though it is also getting long in the tooth.

Anyway, if you are not familiar with my trowels, they are back in production on a continuing basis. Unless I'm out of town, I generally ship the day after you order.

Trowels have a yellow rubbery coating on handle for better gripping and visibility as well as a handle hole to attach a cord if you like. A larger Big Dig model is available as well as the smaller Original.

Ti Trowels

Here are the specs:

The Original: about 6” long, 0.4 ounces - $29 shipped to you in CONUS
As light as a trowel can be and still work well for its intended function

The Big Dig: about 7.15” long, 0.6 ounces - $36 shipped to you in CONUS
Fifty percent more surface area for those who want to be bigger and longer

International orders will require an additional $2 shipping fee.

Make PayPal payment to robkelly54 at gmail dot com and make sure your shipping address is correct. You can also email at this address with any questions you have.

Edited by QiWiz on 09/11/2011 14:27:06 MDT.

Edward Z
(Fuzz) - MLife

Locale: Sunny San Diego
Kudos on 03/11/2011 12:08:22 MST Print View

As a card carrying member of the Trowel troop, (And proudly in possession of the first , signed one....) I can say that these are featherweight, durable and indispensible. You won't be disappointed.... Get one!

Brandon Campbell
(bignlittle) - F

Locale: Southeastern Indiana
payment. on 03/11/2011 20:07:36 MST Print View

I just sent payment for a big dig. Very excited. :D

Mark Hudson
(vesteroid) - MLife

Locale: Eastern Sierras
re on 03/11/2011 21:30:05 MST Print View

ordered a small

Robert Kelly
(QiWiz) - MLife

Locale: UL gear @
Big Dig looks like a big hit on 03/12/2011 10:47:12 MST Print View

Appreciate Ed's kind endorsement. Every one of my trowels is made by my hands, one at a time, with loving care. They are all collectors items, but Ed has the very rare first one ever sold. I'm sure he keeps it in a safe deposit box whenever he's not actually using it.

This time around, I've gotten 12 orders so far, with Big Dig requests ahead of The Original by 3:1.

Looks like this will be a trowel-making weekend. Will try to get as many orders out Monday as I can.

Hopefully my tools will last through the marathon. (titanium is very hard, and hard to work with - it actually dulls and chips the blades of even very high quality tools).

Troy Hawkins
(ollyisk) - F - MLife

Locale: Germany
ordered on 03/12/2011 17:57:29 MST Print View

in for a big dig!

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Big Dig looks like a big hit on 03/12/2011 19:33:45 MST Print View

Hi Robert

Several comments.

I will move this thread to Gear Deals, as Gear SWAP is not the right place for it now. Good Luck!

I found that having a bit more of a point on the trowel made it dig better. See
for more details. The design you show looks too blunt at the tip to me.

> titanium is very hard, and hard to work with - it actually dulls and chips the blades of even
> very high quality tools).
Well, not really. It machines like stainless steel - which I admit can be a bit difficult at times, but it does machine, and does not wear tools that fast if done correctly. If you want to contact me direct we can discuss how I handle it.


Robert Kelly
(QiWiz) - MLife

Locale: UL gear @
Trowel shape on 03/13/2011 06:10:27 MDT Print View

Roger -

Thanks for your support and advice. The main tool that's getting damaged over time is the metal snipper I use to cut the titanium sheeting. It is definitely not as sharp as it used to be and has a small chip along one edge, all due to working with titanium. Not enough to need replacement yet, but I think it may eventually.

I agree that a pointed shape digs better, but a blunter shape makes it faster to remove loosened soil as the hole is dug. I've been using an early prototype for about 3 years now (about half-way in size between the Original and the Big Dig) and it has worked fine for me in the East, with a few trips out West as well.

Happy to have you move the post to Gear Deals if that's a more appropriate place for it. I don't anticipate starting a Trowel Guy cottage industry, just maybe making a few once or twice a year to help fund my gear habit. Be well.

BTW - I love your reviews - very thoughtful and well written.

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
Original Trowel on 03/13/2011 11:02:04 MDT Print View

Hi Robert. I have one of the trowels from your first batch. Works great. Just used it yesterday in fact.

Christopher Holly
(climber72) - F

Locale: At my desk
Nice! on 03/13/2011 15:00:43 MDT Print View

Just paid up for one of the original size hole diggers!


Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Trowel shape on 03/13/2011 16:11:52 MDT Print View

Hi Robert

> The main tool that's getting damaged over time is the metal snipper I use to cut the titanium
> sheeting. It is definitely not as sharp as it used to be and has a small chip along one edge

OK, understood.
I am going to suggest that any snips which are damaged and worn like that by cutting thin Ti sheet are not good enough. My snips do not get damaged at all, and they stay sharp.
There's consumer grade, and there's industrial/production grade tooling. Your local hardware store probably stocks only consumer grade, because that's where the market is for them. If you want to make more trowels (a good idea!), buy some serious production-grade snips. You won't regret it.


Robert Kelly
(QiWiz) - MLife

Locale: UL gear @
Thanks on 03/13/2011 17:50:49 MDT Print View

Jacob - Thanks for your feedback. It's good to know that my trowels are being put to good use. I forgot to mention that (in keeping with the tradition of the first batch) everyone who orders a trowel will get a copy of the "Advanced Cathole Users Manual" shipped to them with their trowel.

Edited by QiWiz on 03/15/2011 10:16:22 MDT.

Eric Drew

Locale: Sespe Wilderness
6" Trowel on 03/15/2011 13:23:29 MDT Print View

Can't wait to give it a go!

Johnny Werbe

Locale: east coast
Big Dig on 03/15/2011 17:20:44 MDT Print View

I dig the big dig
Just ordered one
Good luck

Marc Mensing
(soldierspike) - F

Locale: Southwest
Big 'un on 03/17/2011 12:00:12 MDT Print View

I'm in for a Big Dig

Mark Hudson
(vesteroid) - MLife

Locale: Eastern Sierras
Re: 6" Trowel on 03/19/2011 07:47:52 MDT Print View

"Can't wait to give it a go!"

Pun intended?


Chris Cheng
(chrischeng) - F
Just got mine on 03/19/2011 12:34:46 MDT Print View

Looks great. Can't wait to test it out.

Robert Kelly
(QiWiz) - MLife

Locale: UL gear @
Trowel sale random thoughts on 03/21/2011 12:18:49 MDT Print View

The response has been a little much (good problem to have), but I guess that's how a cottage "industry" can begin. Thanks to everyone for their support and suggestions.

The trouble with my trowels is that they are likely to last a lifetime, unless they are lost (I've done that once, myself, so it can happen). So I don't expect that I will get rich quick with trowels, just maybe help fund a gear habit and defray some trip expenses. I could do worse, for sure.


Edited by QiWiz on 06/16/2011 08:58:10 MDT.

Mark Cashmere
(tinkrtoy) - M

Locale: NEOH
Gotta have one on 03/21/2011 17:00:59 MDT Print View

I think I am going to have to break down and get a Big Dig. Great to see another Northeast Ohioan around here. Buy local! Sending payment soon.

Christopher Knaus

Locale: Northern California
Just received... on 03/24/2011 17:49:12 MDT Print View

A great addition to the colelction. Thanks,

Cameron Semple
(camS) - F

Locale: Brisbane, Australia
Big Dig on 03/24/2011 17:58:21 MDT Print View

Sent payment for a big dig. :)

Rebecca Ribbing
(joyfulmama) - F

Locale: Alexandria, VA
Re: Big Dig on 03/25/2011 05:58:38 MDT Print View

One for the big dig as well! Thanks!

Michael Crosby
(djjmikie) - MLife

Locale: Ky
Re: BIG DIG on 03/25/2011 06:10:19 MDT Print View

Pmt sent.

Elisabeth Chaplin
(elisabitch.) - MLife
Little dig. on 03/25/2011 11:59:18 MDT Print View

Payment sent :) Thanks! Going in the gear kit for my PCT thru this summer.

Robert Kelly
(QiWiz) - MLife

Locale: UL gear @
YOUR CHANCE (to get oneof the lightest cathole trowels on the planet ) on 03/25/2011 14:32:09 MDT Print View

6/16/11 Update:

Do not fret. I have plenty of trowels and titanium to make more. But the sooner you order the sooner that itch will go away . . .

Edited by QiWiz on 06/16/2011 08:45:18 MDT.

Aaron Benson
(AaronMB) - F

Locale: Central Valley California
"Doh!" on 03/25/2011 15:00:13 MDT Print View

Dang it, Robert. Because I indeed really don't need one, I was trying hard to behave myself and forget about this second round of trowels. But, alas, as you said, I do indeed want one. Paypal sent.

Jason Hortin
(jhortin) - M

Locale: Chicago
Joining the bandwagon on 03/25/2011 17:15:52 MDT Print View

Just ordered a Big Dig!

David Beechey
(imp) - F

Locale: UK
order placed on 03/26/2011 01:23:05 MDT Print View

Just ordered an original..... all the way to the UK :o)

Robert Kelly
(QiWiz) - MLife

Locale: UL gear @
Feedback is a gift. I dig it ! on 03/26/2011 12:22:13 MDT Print View

I love to hear from those BPLers who dig my trowels. Internationally, trowels have winged their ultralight way to Australia and Canada, and soon will also be headed to the United Kingdom (thanks David). My hands are sore from all the trowel construction, but it's a good sore. Planning a marathon tomorrow to finish up all the orders that come in today, with shipping planned for Monday.

David Lutz

Locale: Bay Area
Titanium Cathole Trowel on 03/26/2011 13:41:04 MDT Print View

Got mine, Robert, thanks!

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
Houston, the Big Dig has landed! on 03/26/2011 15:50:30 MDT Print View

"One small Poop for man, one giant Scoop for mankind."

I love this thing! It actually digs quite well, seems durable and solid, and it knocks 1.3 oz. off my pack weight. Great work, Rob!

Mike Knapp
(IdahoMike) - F

Locale: Idaho
Time is Short.... on 03/26/2011 19:21:41 MDT Print View

...but I am headed to PayPal now for the Big Dig.

Robert Kelly
(QiWiz) - MLife

Locale: UL gear @
THE SALE GOES ON !! on 03/28/2011 12:21:07 MDT Print View

6/16/11 update: Thanks to all who have ordered for your support and everyone's kind comments. All ordered trowels are shipping the next day with rare exceptions.

Edited by QiWiz on 06/16/2011 08:47:51 MDT.

Aaron Benson
(AaronMB) - F

Locale: Central Valley California
Thanks on 03/28/2011 14:35:30 MDT Print View

Thanks for the effort, and the update, Robert!

I'll be eagerly watching the mail box!

Steve A. Clarke
(petuni) - MLife

Locale: Quispamsis
Got it on 03/28/2011 16:05:28 MDT Print View

Thanks Rob

Got the original today and love it, that has potential for many uses!!!!! Thanks again for shipping to Canada!!

David Beechey
(imp) - F

Locale: UK
arrived safely on 04/03/2011 03:37:34 MDT Print View

Cheers Robert - trowel arrived safely in the UK yesterday. Looks great !

Cameron Semple
(camS) - F

Locale: Brisbane, Australia
Arrived Safely on 04/06/2011 21:46:29 MDT Print View

Thanks Robert. Big dig arrived safely in Australia today.

Edited by camS on 04/06/2011 21:47:18 MDT.

Dave Jenkins
(Jinx667) - M

Locale: SoCal
Got mine on 06/15/2011 15:23:04 MDT Print View

My Big Dig arrived today. Awesome. Thanks for making these available, Bob.

Big Dig

Edited by Jinx667 on 06/15/2011 15:24:16 MDT.

Robert Kelly
(QiWiz) - MLife

Locale: UL gear @
Update; trowel weights on 06/16/2011 08:55:14 MDT Print View

Since Dave added his nice comments to this older post (dating back to when I had a limited sale in March and early April before my AT section hike), I have updated my parts of the thread to reflect the reality of current prices and ongoing trowel availability (so as not to confuse BPLers who find one of the threads for the first time).

If you look carefully, you will notice that Dave's Big Dig weighs just a half ounce, LESS THAN the stated weight of 0.6 oz. BONUS !! As I've gotten a more accurate scale myself, I'm finding that the weight of the Original is closer to 0.35 oz and the weight of the Big Dig is closer to 0.55 oz. So they are actually lighter than claimed. Not something you see often in the UL world.


Michael Barber

Locale: Western NC Mountains
trowel weights on 06/16/2011 09:39:49 MDT Print View

I also received my Big Dig recently, and it too was 0.5 ounces on my scale.

Joseph R
(Dianoda) - MLife

Locale: Chicago, IL
Weight on 06/16/2011 14:11:34 MDT Print View

For those curious... I ordered my big dig a few months ago (it's great, thanks Robert!), and have access to a rather precise Mettler scale - the trowel flips between 15.4-15.5g, but settles at 15.4g, or .543oz.

robert v
(mtnbob123) - F

Locale: Upstate South Carolina
Big Dig on 08/11/2011 20:02:21 MDT Print View

Bg Dig with Dyneema wrapped handleI received mine today in a nice tyvek envelope. Thanks Robert. Looks great! I wrapped a 2ft long piece of orange Dyneema around the handle for better grip in my big hands. The Big Dig and a decent amount of toilet paper for a few days, in a ziplock bag, still weighed around an ounce.

Edited by mtnbob123 on 08/11/2011 20:43:41 MDT.

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
Re: Big Dig on 08/15/2011 11:04:56 MDT Print View

Seeing the trowel with the cord wrapped around reminds me a of survival knife for some reason. Give it a sheath, stash some TP inside, maybe some alcohol wipes and you have a potty survival kit ;)