Keeping you tools in good working condition…

Person Author: Gavin Conway Calender December 15, 2012 Posted No Tags Comment No Comments

Have you ever tried cutting bread with the back of the knife blade?  Not easy is it..  So why do you dig with a blunt spade?

When did you last sharpen your hoe or your spade?   Mmmmm – for most the answer is probably never since you bought them..

Ok so lets start with a few tips here that can be done during the winter before the work really starts in the spring. Tool maintenance can be done according to how much use they get but at least twice a year..

Spades need a good sharp edge to pass through the soil, compost, manure and leaves (trash) etc. when you are digging. Not razor sharp… just a good sharp edge. This can be done really easily with a small angle grinder. A sharp spade will make your digging 100% easier – promise.. It will cut through rather than tear the soil and trash.  (You can always go to your local garden machinery repairs shop and ask them to do it for you if you have no grinder.)  A good sharp file can also be used with great results.

Forks – get the tines sharpened and they will do a far better job and make it easier to get to a good depth. Don’t put a tine through your foot – easily done so just be careful.

Hand spade / trowel and forks.. Same thing here.. Get a good edge on them.. When digging a hole to plant out you’ll be amazed at the ease it will be to dig the hole.. But be extra careful not to stab yourself or poke your fingers with the sharp points on the fork..

Hoes probably do the most work and need constant maintenance. A sharp hoe is so much easier to use. They are in contact with grit and stones all the time so get blunt easily. Keep a good sharp file at the plot and give the hoe a sharpen at least once a week.

Hedge clippers and shears require more of a professional touch to sharpen so better to go to a garden specialist for these. Small hand tools like secateurs can easily be sharpened by using a small sharpening “oil stone”. Remember only sharpen the bevelled edge and not the flat edge. Test on some leaves and you will soon tell when they are nice and sharp. Keep them oiled and check tighten the pivot bolts that hold them together. I loosen the nut, oil the parts then tighten it again until they it just about wont move and can still be operated easily. This ensures that the blades are as close as possible to do the best job.

Keeping all your tools oiled will prevent them from oxidizing and also make it easier to pass through the soil – only until it wears off but it does help!

Every now and then check the shafts and handles of your tools for damage. Most rakes and brooms and suchlike have wooden handles and need to be checked for cracks and splinters. The wooden handles of your spades and forks can also crack and splinter.  New wooden handles for most tools can easily be found at local hardware shops so keep them in good condition. You can get loads of really el-cheapo garden tools, especially spades and forks from the pound stretcher type shops but beware – they will bend and break in no time!! Get good quality carbon steel which I prefer to stainless steel which is strong but also fairly bendy.

Other maintenance that is required is on your electrical power tools.. Cables get damaged and can cause electric shocks.. Keep them in tip top condition.

Hedge trimmers need oiling every time you use them and also need sharpening from time to time. This should be done by the garden specialist once again.

Keep your strimmers good clean condition.. Leaving old grass and dirt build-up can come off as chunks and damage your legs..

   

NB these pics are not done by the writer they are found on the internet. 

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