Digging a grave in the winter is much harder than digging one in the summer. The ground becomes hard and frozen which can damage tools that are not strong enough to break through the frozen ground. Most cemetery or grave digging companies use a variety of tools to dig a grave in such harsh environments.
A heating blanket is used to thaw the ground before beginning excavation of a grave. This digging technique is becoming more popular and grave digging tool manufacturers are developing new types of ground heating blankets all the time. The heating blanket is similar to the heating blanket used for a bed, but is completely waterproof. The heating elements run on standard 110 voltage service.
A back hoe is used to begin excavating or digging a grave once the gave has been laid out. The grave is generally 3 to 4 feet wide, 8 to 10 feet long and 8 feet deep. This requires the use of a heavy duty back hoe when digging this size hole in the winter. The back hoe has a bucket end that digs into the ground and removes the loose dirt with the bucket.
The most common grave digging tool is the standard hand shovel. The hand shovel is used to square off the sides and corners of the grave. These shovels are made of a stronger steel than a standard home and garden shovel. The handles are also heavy duty and the load capacity is greater than the standard shovel.
The grave has to be a certain depth and is governed by the state or municipality. Because there is a depth requirement, shoring must be done to ensure worker safety. Shoring tools range from wood studs and plywood or metal rods and planks. The tools are used to make sure the dirt does not fall into the grave while or after digging.