|Ode To An Ice Breaker
||[Feb. 18th, 2007|01:36 am]
Kelly J. Cooper
Standing roughly 5'5", my ice chopping tool is a long heavy pole with an even heavier blade on the end. The blade is 8" high, not counting the collar with which it is attached to the pole. It's slightly tapered, widest at the bottom at 3.5" and narrowest just below the collar, at 3".
It is the second ice chopper I've owned.
My trivial tale of woe...
The first, I bought back in 1997 or 1998 to deal with the sidewalks around The Ranch. I'd been using a spade (a spade is a type of shovel that has a flat end to the blade, so it's squared off) and my hands and wrists were killing me. I stumbled across the ice chopper somewhere - possibly at Tags, possibly at Home Despot - and bought it with my own money. It made a HUGE difference in keeping the sidewalks ice free.
It disappeared from The Ranch basement in 1999. I sent out an appeal to have it returned, anonymously if necessary, and it magically reappeared on the porch.
I loved that ice chopper. I was so happy when it came back.
It disappeared again in 2001 - again, I'd stored it in the basement after the winter was over and when I moved out in June, it was gone. This time, I gave up. I was dramatically distracted from tracking it down by the warm weather, a new house with the BF, and by my massively sprained ankle.
When winter rolled around, I was distraught at its loss and dragged the BF to Home Despot to get a new one. And they didn't have my old brand. Disappointed, I bought the new one. It's almost as good, but...
The old one. It was perfect.
The dimensions were roughly the same as the one described above EXCEPT the handle tapered or thinned from around the 4' point up to the 5' point - exactly where you'd hold it. Also, I could be wrong, but I think that the blade was straight and didn't widen at the bottom. Or it mighta just tapered less. And last, but most certainly not least, it had a little bit of a bend where the blade and collar met, which gave the user just the PERFECT amount of leverage. It might've been sharper too, or that might just be my imagination plus me getting older and weaker. I seem to recall it was branded "Husky" or something, but Husky Tools don't seem to carry this type of thing.
Chopping ice is one of those fun obsessive compulsive things to do, like picking at peeling paint or plucking eyebrow hairs. Nailing the ice at exactly the right point to get the biggest chunk broken off was like a tiny slice of perfection you could seek out over and over. Chop a smaller piece and it was sure to break off, but then you'd make slow progress. Chop too big a piece and the chopper would bounce back, making your bones ring and your skin tingle, while the ice remained unbroken. Aiming this with your hands wrapped around the pole 4+ feet above the target was also a challenge.
It's not as much fun with the new chopper. My hands get a bit cramped because the pole is pretty thick. And it doesn't feel like it nails the ice quite so well. But still, it's a huge improvement over banging on the ice with a shovel turned sideways or picking at it with a garden shovel.
But I miss my original ice chopper.