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Simple Maintenance for Garden Tools II


Once you've sharpened the shovel, spray it with oil or a lubricant and wipe all over the surface with a cloth. The oil will prevent the fresh edge from rusting. Sharpen the hoes or other like Garden Tools in the same way. Use a file on one side only, work slowly from one edge to the other and finish by giving the head a quick run with oil to prevent rust.

There are two basic styles of pruners, bypass or anvil. While both have a single cutting surface, the cutting blade on bypass pruners slides past a blunt edge, and on anvil pruners the cutting blade butts into a flat solid surface. Anvil pruners are good for cutting branches or solid stalks while bypass pruners work better on thinner stalks and branches. On either design, you only need to sharpen one cutting edge.

Good quality pruners are easy to take apart for cleaning or sharpening. They usually have a screw at the base of the jaws that can be removed. Once removed, the cutting blade can be sharpened using a whetstone or even a kitchen knife sharpener. After you've sharpened the blade, spread some oil on it to prevent rust before reassembling the pruners.

The wooden handles of rakes, hoes and shovels need maintenance as well. Over time, the wood will dry out and begin to splinter. You can ensure the wooden handles of your garden tools don't ever do this by sanding the handles with medium grade sandpaper and then rubbing the handle with linseed oil. You can do this anytime of the year, but it provides extra value when you are putting your tools away for the winter. Cold air tends to draw moisture out of the wood, so the extra protection provided by the linseed oil keeps the handles from drying out and splintering.

Gardening books or magazines will give you lots of innovative ideas about things you can do to maintain your garden tools. Things like putting your long handled tools into a capped plastic pipe filled with linseed oil or storing your digging tools head down in a bucket of sand will surely protect your garden tools. Undoubtedly, these ideas will work, but when you think about it, all you're trying to do is prevent the handles from drying out and the metal from rusting. You don't really need to go to those extremes, just follow the basic ideas we've talked about here, and you'll be working with your garden tools for years to come.