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Cleaning and Sharpening Your Vertak Garden Tools

2016-10-09

When it comes to digging in the garden or pruning trees and shrubs, having high quality vertak garden tools that are cleaned, lubricated, sharpened and otherwise properly maintained, makes any outdoor job simpler and more efficient. Clean, well-maintained tools take less effort to work the ground than those that are rusted and caked with soil. Sharp garden tools are especially important for properly cutting grass, pruning tree and shrub branches and even pruning herbaceous ornamentals and houseplants.

Wondering how can I clean my garden tools? Remember, always try to clean your tools after each use. Rinse tools under running water or soak them in water. Then remove any remaining soil using a cloth, bristle brush or wire brush. Get rid of any sap that may have collected on cutting tools with soapy water or turpentine.

If the garden tools are rusted (whether it be shovels, hoes, saws or pruning shears), use coarse-grade steel wool or lump pumice to remove the rust. Use abrasive materials like sandpaper, emery cloth or a putty knife cautiously as they can leave scratches where rust can redevelop.

And disinfest tools by treating them for at least 30 seconds with 10% bleach or preferably 70% alcohol (because of its less corrosive properties). Rubbing alcohol and many spray disinfectants typically contain approximately 70% alcohol. Once the garden tools are cleaned, rust-free and dry, apply oil, silicone spray or some other rust inhibitor to all metal surfaces.

Then, how to sharpen the harden tools? Start by always wearing safety glasses and leather gloves to protect your eyes, face and hands. Also, always use a vise to securely clamp the tools that being sharpened.

Typically, garden tools should be sharpened so that their cutting edges are kept at their original angle. If you make an edge too blunt, a blade will not cut well. However, if you make a blade too sharp, the edge will wear prematurely. So you can sharpen either into or away from the cutting edge.

Sharpening into the edge produces a sharper edge, but increases the risk of cutting yourself as you sharpen. For increased safety, face the sharp edge or your tool away from you and stroke down the slope across the cutting edge. This will create a metal burr on the back of the tool’s cutting edge. Remove the burr using a light flat stroke of a file, whetstone, or sandpaper along the back of the cutting edge.