Twin handles of the post-hole digger protruding from the posthole along the line of a new fence: Is this a labor-saving device, or a labor-making device?
Considering the alternative, i.e. digging the holes with a shovel or, even worse, a sharpened stick, the twin-bladed post-hole digger is a labor-saving device. But anyone who has used one for more than ten or fifteen minutes understands that the qualification “labor saving” is truly relative.
For that old-fashioned posthole digger is a very mean and primitive machine: a hernia makin’, blister breakin’, bone shakin’, sweat-n-dust cakin’, breath takin’ tool not designed for the faint of heart (or for lazy people).
So I’m relieved that, for the job at hand at son Zach’s place where I volunteered my unskilled fence-building assistance Saturday, we principally used the old-fashioned tool only for cleaning out debris left by the extraction of the bit on the REAL posthole digger, a gas-powered eight-inch auger that digs holes with considerably greater efficiency than the man-powered tool.
Of course, operating the gas powered machine was hardly a waltz in the flower garden: It’s grinding twist and torque requires two men to wrestle and hold it in place, and over the course of 20 or 25 eighteen inch holes, the handle bars will rub blisters with alacrity unsurpassed by Papaw’s handtool.
So yes, “labor saving” is a relative term, particularly as applied to the task of fence building. I’m glad I only do it once every 20 or 30 years.