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Gardening is one of the most fulfilling hobbies that a person can practice. If you enjoy doing this activity, then you should know how vital it is to care for your garden tools. When you buy new equipment, you should learn how to maintain them so that they will continue to serve their purpose for a long time. Read more for ways to keep each of your tools in tip-top shape.
List of Essential Garden Tools
Before jumping into the details, let’s start with a list of the tools that every gardener should have.
- Garden Trowel
- Fork Hoe
- Garden Knife
- Garden Secateurs
- Heavy Duty Hoe
- Multipurpose Rake
- Oscillating Hoe
Ways to Maintain Your Garden Tools
The first thing that you need to do after your gardening session is washing the dirt off your tools. You can use a wire or a brush to scrub it clean. After this, you can dip them into a diluted solution of household bleach. You can make this solution by adding 2 cups of household bleach in a gallon of water.
For items that are covered in sap, you can use turpentine. For those full of rust, utilize vinegar to remove them. You should also take care of the wooden handles by rubbing them lightly with linseed oil. Make sure that you keep a stack of rags so that you can easily wipe off any undesired matter on your equipment.
If your tools were exposed to pest-infected soil or diseased plants, you could soak them in the diluted solution and then rinse in plain water. You can also wipe it with a cotton pad that contains rubbing alcohol.
Most gardeners use a flat mill file to sharpen their tools, such as prunes, shovels, scissors, hoes, shears, and others. Before doing so, you should wipe your blades down with WD-40 or any lubricant. Take note that as you sharpen, you should maintain a 20 to 45-degree angle. Your pruners or shears need a finer edge, and so you can use a whetstone after.
It may be more convenient for you to bring your tools to a local shop or garden center to have it sharpened from time to time. However, if you plan to continue this hobby for a prolonged period, you should learn how to do it and buy a sharpening device for yourself. It will only take you a few seconds to complete deburring your tools. All you have to do is pass each of the items through a sharpener around three to five times.
Sharpening your garden tools can be very dangerous, which is why you need to ensure that you take precautionary methods when doing so. You should have the right sharpening tools. To make sure that the items that you are going to sharpen do not move, you can secure them on the table with a clamp. Other than that, you need to wear the right PPE. You should wear some eye protection and heavy gloves.
First and foremost, you need to make sure that you should not store your tools when they are still wet. If you do, they will become covered with rust. As soon as you are finished cleaning and wiping them down, you should return them to your shed. Remember that your storage area should be dry and ventilated. The smaller tools that you use can be placed into a pot that contains motor oil-soaked sand. Doing this keeps the metal well-conditioned. For the bigger items, you can hang them so that you can easily pick out the ones you need in the next session.
Another important thing that you have to do is sand your wood handles. The wood reacts to the moisture that is present in the soil or the environment, which will result in raised grains. When this happens, it will be rough to touch, making it difficult to use. You can use any sandpaper. However, it is recommended that you use an 80-grit paper first and finish it off with a 120 to 150 grit.
You can take this time to get rid of some of the rust on your equipment. Although a wire brush would be a good option to remove the majority of the rust, the 80 grit sandpaper could do an even better job. To finish the process even quicker, you can use an electric sander.
Importance of Keeping the Quality of Your Tools
Well-maintained garden tools will last a lot longer than those that aren’t. Not only that, but they will also serve their purpose much better. If your equipment is not sharp enough, then it will not be able to cut the things that you intend to cut. Also, if you don’t follow the storage recommendations and tips, then they will easily rust and decay.