Caring For Your Garden Tools (Part 2)


Picking straight up from part one!

Spades, forks, hoes

Check the hand grip and blade aren’t coming loose from the handle; and tighten if necessary.
Clean blade, handle and grip, with wire brush and rag dampened with soapy water. Wooden parts should not be over wet as this can cause swelling and then splitting when drying out; especially if the wood hasn’t been oiled on a regular basis.

Blunt blades and tines (or prongs of the fork) can be sharpened as described above; hoes should only have the top edge sharpened.

Although there are more spades with plastic or composite handles, most still have a wooden handle, even where the grip may be plastic. Wooden handles and grips, once cleaned and dried, benefit from the application of linseed oil to keep them from drying out and the wood from splitting. If it is sometime since they were last oiled two coats may be needed. Rub on linseed oil with a rag; allow it to be absorbed before applying a second coat.

Hand push mowers

A brief mention, as these are slowly becoming popular as an alternative for house owners with small lawns.

As before, check that no parts are loose that shouldn’t be; tighten where necessary. Check that moving parts – ie blades do move as they should, if they’re sticking, see if cleaning away debris resolves the problem. Clean with wire brush and scraper so no remnants of dead grass are present; wipe down with soapy water.

Using spray oil if it’s then easier to reach all the metal blades, lightly oil.

If your mower wasn’t cutting as well as it should, it may be blunt blades or it may be that the blades need to be adjusted to a different height. You should have had instructions for this with the machine.

Sharpening is usually best done by your local service people unless you’re confident enough to take things apart and put back together again. If you want to give it a go, sharpen with whetstone, on the bevelled edge of the blade, remembering to apply oil with rag.

Next Time we will be dealing with Power Tools!

And don’t forget if you have more questions don’t be shy to  drop us an email 🙂


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