|Friday Five: Keeping Tools Clean & Sharp|
|Written by Heleigh Bostwick Friday, 27 July 2012|
With Spring around the corner (we hope!), it’s time to make sure your garden tools are ready to go. Here’s how to keep your garden tools clean and sharp.
1. Clean your tools
If tools are still covered with surface dirt, rinse with a hose to remove debris. Then, use a wire brush to remove any crusted on dirt rust. Do this once a year, preferably before you put tools away for the winter.
2. Remove rust
Soak the metal in white vinegar or use steel wool to get rid of rust that can’t be removed using a wire brush.
3. Shovels and metal edges
Sharpen the metal edges on shovels and similar tools using a mill file. Follow the angle of the original bevel and move the file along the edge and away from your body in long even strokes (not short choppy ones) to achieve a smooth but sharp edge. Hint: Place the tool in a vise to add an extra pair of hands.
4. Pruning shears
Use a whetstone or oil stone to sharpen pruning tools. Diamond, ceramic, and high-carbon steel sharpening "stones" are also sold. File in the direction of the original bevel edge in one direction until sharp. Alternatively, take your pruning tools to be sharpened professionally.
5. Storing tools
Rinse and dry tools after use, then wipe down with oil (olive oil works fine) and store in a 5- gallon bucket of sand. Some gardeners add oil to the bucket of sand and use the coarseness of the grains to clean the metal.