Friday, April 18, 2008

Caring for Gardening Tools

These tools need some love. They have worked hard! I did some research to find out more:

Tool sharpening
Some tools will become blunt with use and their cutting edges will need to be sharpened. Blunt blades may be sharpened with a fine metal file, but badly damaged or worn blades should be replaced. If you have any doubts about how to carry out the repairs consult your local servicer. Remove any rust with a wire brush and wipe over with an oily rag; use a general-purpose oil. Blades on shears, forks, spades and other tools will soon rust if they are not given this quick, effective treatment regularly.

To sharpen blades of knives and secateurs, use a fine sharpening stone from a garden centre or hardware store. First, prepare it with a few drops of general-purpose lubricating oil. For a straight-bladed knife, push it forwards and to the side, exerting a little downward pressure. Then turn the knife over and, holding the blade almost flat against the stone, brush it across the surface to take off any rough edges. Use the same method to sharpen secateurs and hoes. It may be easier to move the stone as you move the blade. It is important to sharpen only the outside blade on bypass secateurs and the upper surface of hoes.

Finish off by wiping over the blade with an oily rag before storing. Hoes should be stored with the blade uppermost, ideally suspended from a hook on the wall. The same procedure may be carried out with the cutting edges of spades. In very stony and heavy soils, this sharpening process may need repeating during the season.

Bare wooden handles benefit from boiled linseed oil. Rub the oil on with a rag and allow the wood to absorb the first coat before applying more oil. This prevents drying out and splintering.If a wooden handle is very dirty, remove as much of the soil as possible with a stiff brush. If you need to use water, gently wet the handle with a damp cloth, making sure that you don't soak the wood, as this may cause the grain to lift and the handle to swell.


Brad said...

these are very sharp

Anonymous said...

one way to ensure the wellbeing of your tools is to keep them oiled peolpe! I always hear "why are my tools rusty?" well water and oxygen oxidize the metal causing rust. oil repels water and creats a barrier between the air and the metal.oil yo shiz

Ryuuku.Apples said...

Another way to prevent rust is to coat the tools in a thin layer of Lead oxide. Be careful not to ingest any, though.

Sue G said...

take a five gallon bucket and fill it with sand (the sharpest you can find, not the playground stuff). Then dump in a bunch of motor oil and you have the perfect tool cleaning bucket. I keep mine in the shed out of the rain. The sand cleans off hunks o' dirt and the oil keeps the tool surfaces oiled. It's also a place to dump used oil.

penny said...

What a great idea, Sue! Thanks for sharing with us! I am going to get a bucket going soon!