How You Can Keep Your Garden Tools in Great Shape for a Lifetime

If you take proper care of your garden tools, you could potentially make them last for a lifetime. Garden tools, especially hand tools, can easily last for decades—so long as you stay on top of preventative maintenance and store them properly when they’re not in use.

With the end of the gardening season fast approaching, now is the best time for you to take care of some simple maintenance tasks that will go a long way toward maintaining their condition. This includes blade sharpening for lawn mowers, clippers, etc., finding proper storage spaces and much more.

Here is a list of some of the steps you can take for preserving the condition of your garden tools:

  • Remove soil: One of the biggest mistakes people make is leaving excess soil on their tools. You should remove it with a stiff bristle brush, scrub the tool with water and then dry it with a towel or air.
  • Rust removal: If you notice rust forming on metal parts, scrape it with a wire brush, sandpaper, rotary wire wheel or emery cloth; then use some steel wool and vinegar to polish and rinse in water.
  • Wood handles: If you’ve got weathered or rough wood handles, you can sand them with 80-grit sandpaper followed by a high-grit sandpaper for a smooth finish.
    Blade sharpening: Blade sharpening for lawn mowers, clippers and other such tools is important for making sure they continue to deliver a clean cut year after year. Use a metal file or bench grinder to create a sharp edge.
  • Coatings: Any metal or wood surface can benefit from a mixture of turpentine and linseed oil. Apply that mixture liberally to wooden handles, letting it penetrate for about 30 minutes before you wipe it dry. You can also apply it to metal parts. Be sure to wipe off the excess on metal, allowing a thin coating to stay behind to protect the metal surface from potential rusting.
    Be sure to dispose of these oily rags properly—hang them outdoors to dry; then put them in a covered metal container with water and a detergent solution before disposing of them according to your local guidelines.
  • Storage: When storing metal tools, make sure the metal does not come into contact with concrete surfaces, which can be sources of moisture. Shovels, for example, should be stored blade up, ideally on special hanging racks on your garage or shed walls. Hang your hedge clippers, or place them on a shelf where they are off the ground or away from concrete walls. Long-term moisture exposure could lead to rust.
  • Remove fuel: For lawn mowers or other seasonal items that use gasoline, you should be sure to use up or remove that fuel before storing it away for the winter, so the fuel does not degrade inside the system over the winter months.

For more information about keeping your garden tools in great condition, contact us at Stewart Lumber & Hardware Co.