I've been using them occasionally. They are white ash, which is heavy but makes a very durable neck at a good price. They sell them at the hardware store and they are 2"x1.5" or sometimes a little larger.

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Pretty much a shovel handle?

A little different.  The ones I use are square/rectangular 60" of the way through. Basically a long 2"x1.5" block.

I have seen one used for a stand up base neck with the tub of the wheelbarrow as the body of the bass guitar. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iyD-8nl6AgQ

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