How to sharpen and maintain garden tools (video) – Mother Earth News

What would we be without our trusty gardening tools? With a little tenderness, there’s no reason they shouldn’t last for many years. You can easily maintain your garden tools to keep them looking like new. Keep the following tips in mind.

Photo Fotolia/Pixavril.

Remove mud from your digging tools with a water spray or scrub with a wire brush. If the dirt has hardened, soak the metal parts first before wiping them with an old rag. Then apply a vegetable oil using a clean cloth.

Sharpen digging tools and hoes with a metal file. Keep the angle shallow and work your way along the front and back of the blade. Use a vise to clamp the tool as you work if you have one. Finish by oiling the blade.

Clean the wooden handles then smooth them with sandpaper before polishing them with a natural and protective oil, such as teak oil.

Clean pruning tools with a wire brush or wire wool if necessary, then wash in soapy water and dry well before storing.

To sharpen pruning tools, hold the tool firmly in position. Sharpen only the cutting edge itself, working the whetstone, file or whetstone in the same direction as the bevel. Smaller blades may need to be worked in a circular motion. Two to five swipes of the sharpening stone should suffice.

Once the tool is clean, tighten all loose bolts on moving parts. Check blades, springs and handles, repair or replace parts as necessary. Finish by spraying on a tool lubricant.

Learn more about how to properly maintain and sharpen your gardening tools in this video.


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Need culture-specific crop information? Browse our at-a-glance crop guide for tips on planting and caring for dozens of garden crops.

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Shelley Stonebrook is the main gardening editor of MOTHER EARTH NEWS magazine. She is passionate about growing healthy and sustainable food and also leads Stonegrass Farms Soap Co. during his free time. Follow her on Twitter and Pinterest.

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