Caring For Your Garden Tools (Part 1)

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Ever tried to prune a rose with blunt secateurs – unsuccessful? Take the hint and look to sharpening your tools now; a good way to get something done in the garden whilst being inside the potting shed next to the heater!

Firstly gather together tools and cleaning/ sharpening equipment.

Cleaning/ sharpening equipment:

A selection of cleanish rags, including cloth for wiping your hands; general purpose oil; boiled linseed oil; ‘drip tray’ (for when you’re getting oil onto rag); stiff brush; wire brush/ rust scraper; sharpening stone/ whetstone; soapy water; bucket or container for used rags/ rust/ dirt  to be dropped into; WD40 or similar may be useful too.

Most of the equipment you probably already have in your shed or can be obtained from your local hardware or diy store or garden centre.

we’ll first start with some of the basic tools most of you would be using around your garden

Secateurs, loppers, shears, etc:

Check the springs and screws are all present and still working. If stiff, they made need rust removing and some oil applying as with blade (below).

Look at the blade; badly damaged or worn blades should be replaced. All moving parts need to be checked for wear; for many tools there will be spares available, check with the manufacturer.

Blunt blades may be sharpened with a fine metal file. First remove any rust with a wire brush and wipe over with an oily rag; use general-purpose oil. Then, adding a few drops of general-purpose lubricating oil, push the sharpening stone forwards and to the side against the blade, exerting a little downward pressure. Depending on which tool you’re sharpening it may be easier to move the whetstone rather than the tool. On bypass secateurs only sharpen the outside blade. Finish off by wiping over the blade with an oily rag.

Clean the handle of dirt by wiping with soapy water and drying before storing.

Next Time we’ll be looking at Spades, Forks, Hoes and Hand push Mowers! 
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