Hart Mattock HHM5LB

By Robert Robillard on Tool Reviews


Dig Faster with The Hart Mattock HHM5LB

The soil around this recently built development that I’m going to be digging footings in is dense. Hard packed by heavy equipment and full of sharp recently blasted chunks of rock from excavating through ledge to make room for a few basements. In short this is some of the worst digging I’ve ever done, and I live in New England a land whose soil is largely comprised of the leavings of a massive glacier from the last ice age. In other words in melted here and left all the rocks and boulders it was dragging along here.

Hart Mattock HHM5LBA mattock is a great tool for breaking up difficult soil. At least for shallow holes or larger excavations. I used the Hart Mattock to break up the initial few layers of soil for a few footings I’m going to pour for a deck on the back of this condo. I have to say I really like this tool. The plastic jacket should hold up well and the black, red and white color scheme is bold. I like it.


But a mattock is a mattock! Hand tools have, for the most part, barely changed in a few hundred years! Well… this mattock has a few really nice features.

A rubberized grip keeps the mattock firmly under control but only at the very end of the tool so it doesn’t keep your guiding hand from sliding along the handle of the tool. Also the angle on the business ends of the tool are flatter across the top of the tool “ergonomic head” as Hart calls it.

I’m a tall guy and often find that if I swing mattocks and the like I end up hitting a bit off kilter but the design of the Hart made it so I didn’t have to bend over as far to get my blows hitting true. Very helpful on the back strain. They also put a “powerfin” on top of the cutting end of the head which helps break up soil more efficiently. And it actually does because it seems to break some of the stickiness of the soil allowing it to move more freely.

It’s nice to see a company bringing some new features to old tools that haven’t seen a lot of attention. A lot of companies have just slapped a fiberglass handle onto an old-school mattock head but Hart refined a staple digging tool in some really thoughtful ways. HartMattock_HHM5LB_02

I’m very happy with this tool and will take it out to dig some trenches for some exterior lighting in the near future. I’m almost looking forward to it!

Author Bio

Ethan Bickford has a long history with carpentry. His father worked as a contractor for many years and taught him the ins and outs of home repair and remodeling from a very young age. Since then Ethan has kept up his skills and knowledge by doing handyman work while in college and eventually started his own carpentry and remodeling company which he’s been running for the last three years. He loves teaching and advising on tools and techniques. Ethan is also a big fan of quality workmanship. “Do it right the first time!”

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About the author

Robert Robillard

Carpenter / Remodeler / Editor

Rob Robillard is “The Concord Carpenter” Rob is a builder, general contractor, carpenter, woodworker, and editor of Concord Carpenter and ToolBoxBuzz As a General Contractor and carpenter, Rob owns and operates Concord Carpenter LLC. A full-service remodeling and construction company. Rob is a recognized leader in home building best practices and a source for how-to information for building professionals. On this website, Rob covers all aspects of home construction, building science, home improvement, woodworking, remodeling, and some of the best product and tool reviews. Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review series - Concord Carpenter Videos where we post all of our tool reviews and video tutorials. Rob approaches remodeling and building construction with a pragmatic and problem-solving approach. He enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate building professionals as well as DIYers on best practices in the construction and remodeling industry. He's a strong advocate for "raising the bar" in the construction trades and promoting the trades to youth. #BeAMentor #Green2Great Craftsmanship, quality, and pride guide his journey on this channel The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob

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