Keeping Tools in Shape
After making the considerable investment in good-quality tools, it is wise to spend some time to keep them in good shape.
Routine care: Clean, dry, and put away all hand tools after each use. Keep a large plastic kitchen spoon handy to knock dirt off metal blades. Don’t use a trowel or other metal tool, as you could damage the blades of both tools. A 5-gallon bucket of sharp builder’s sand in the tool-shed or garage is useful for cleaning tools. Dip the metal blade of each tool into the sand and plunge it up and down a few times to work off any clinging soil. Use a wire brush to remove any rust that may have formed. Keep power equipment in good repair and properly adjusted.
Handles: Regularly sand and varnish wooden handles to maintain their resilience and good looks. You can repair split handles temporarily with tape and glue, but replace broken handles as soon as possible.
To keep your tools working efficiently and with ease, keep blades of spades
, pruners, and other tools sharp. Take the time to study the angle of the bevels on all your tools, then sharpen each, as needed, to keep the proper bevel. If you have tools that are especially difficult to sharpen, take them to a professional for sharpening.
Winter care: At the end of the season, polish all metal parts of hand tools with steel wool, oil them to prevent rust, and store them in a dry place. Lubricate all tools that have moving parts. This is also a good time to take hard-to-sharpen tools to the sharpening shop.