Thursday, 2 October 2014

Garden Tool Maintenance


At the September meeting we had a 'Show and Tell' segment and it was a very informative and interesting one. Members bought in their favourite tool or told us about some of their helpful tips in gardening.

Margaret mentioned that ABC Gardening had some really good maintenance tips on a recent programme and this piqued a lot of interest. So much so, I thought a post about this subject would be a good idea.

The best way to tackle this task is to assemble everything together and go through methodically and clean each tool.

What you will require:


  • steelwool
  • soapy water
  • wire brushes
  • soft cloth or old towel
  • Metho
  • sharpening tool
  • emery block or paper
  • oil-stone
  • WE40 or similar
  • sandpaper
  • linseed oil
  • metal water pipe
  • protective gear - goggles, gloves etc
  • brush attachment for power drill
  • fine file for sharpening edges of shovels and spades


First off is to thoroughly clean the tools of sap, rust and other debris with steelwool and soapy water. Use a wire brush on really stubborn stains or where cleaning might cause an injury by having your fingers too close to the action!

Dry the tools thoroughly using a soft cloth or old towel. Remove rust or stubborn marks by using the emery block. Sharpen pruning equipment blades using a tool designed for that purpose and use the emery block afterwards to remove any burrs, if needed. Bypass cutters are easily sharpened along the cambered blade edge.

Wipe the blades with a cloth and Metho - this sterilises them.

Finally, spray with WD40 or similar lubricant which will protect the blades and mechanisms from rust.

With the wooden handles of rakes etc it is a good idea to rub some sandpaper over them to remove any splinters and treat with some linseed oil or similar to preserve the wood.

If the tines on your gardening fork are out of alignment put the water pipe over each tine and straighten - a terrific tip, thanks ABC Gardening!

To clean shovels and spades, secure them in a vice and use either a wire brush or the brush attachment to your drill to give it a good clean. Sharpen the edge (with perhaps a fine file) and oil the handle as described above.

If your rake has some bent prongs, just straighten them the same way as described for the garden fork above.

A great tip is to get some bricky's sand in a bucket, add vegetable oil and just by inserting the blade of your planting spade into and out of this mix ensures it is kept clean and will get a fine coating of oil each time it's used.




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