Four Ways To Make Your Garden Tools Last Longer
When it comes to our gardening tools, a little bit of TLC can go a long way.
There are a fair few benefits which come with the habit of cleaning after use, storing tools correctly and carrying out a seasonal deep clean. Not only will you prolong the life of your tools, but keeping them clean can prevent the spread of plant diseases, too.
1. ROUTINE CLEAN
- Grab a hard, bristle brush and knock off any dried dirt.
- To keep pruning blades effective, remove any dried sap. A scourer with some WD-40 will do the job nicely.
- If the dirt is stubborn, run it under a hose or wash off with warm water and continue to brush away.
- The tool will then need a thorough dry down with an old towel. If left to dry, the wood in the handle will swell and the metal will rust.
2. SUITABLE STORAGE
You might have already guessed, but the worst place to leave your tools is on the ground - and that goes for outside and inside a shed or garage, where the floor can still be damp.
Ultimately, wherever they’re stored needs to be dry. Small tools can be kept in a box or trug. However, for larger tools, we’d recommend trying the bucket approach. A combination of sand and a little bit of motor oil in a large bucket is good for keeping rust at bay, blades sharp and it provides a steady base for your larger tools to stand up in. You want the sand to be moist from the oil - not wet - so make sure you have a steady hand when pouring this in!
If you find this idea a bit daunting, then you can always simply hang your tools on hooks and off damp surfaces for sufficient rust protection.
You’ll need to get hold of a whetstone to complete this job. Apply some WD-40 to the blade before you begin the sharpening process. Run the stone along the length of the blade three to five times to smooth out any burrs. Remember, you need to move the stone, not the blade.
4. SEASONAL DEEP CLEAN
If you don’t have time or energy to clean tools regularly throughout the season, then a once-a-year spruce up is still a good idea.
First off, follow the steps under Routine Clean, above. Then, with just a few drops of lubricating oil, blades and pivot joints can be restored to their former glory. Rub the oil into the surface and let it soak before wiping it away with an old towel and repeating once more. You can also use a thin layer on long-handled tools to prevent rust. Finally, cast an eye over your wooden handles for any splinters and sand them off if needs be.
In With the New
If you feel any of your garden tools really are beyond saving, there may be an alternative to throwing it in the bin. Charity projects such as ‘The Tool Shed’ or ‘Workaid’ can repurpose them. The Tool Shed sends tools to prisoners learning wood and ironwork skills and Workaid sends the tools to young African people to help them out of poverty.
As for a top notch tool investment, find some of our cherry picked favourites below:
For a strong and controlled cut, look no further. With a stainless steel lower blade and a soft, ergonomically shaped handle, these classic secateurs are fantastic for delivering steady and precise pruning.
Gentle on the wrist and with a handy anti-slip grip, these secateurs are brilliant for delivering a clean cut.
This RHS endorsed high-quality lopper is ideal for cutting through larger stems with ease, saving you the effort and time that comes with standard secateurs.
Thanks to the ergonomic rubber grip handles and the precision sharp blades, this lopper provides a comfortable experience and a clean cut.
Made from hot-forged carbon steel, this high-quality, heavy-duty three pronged Canterbury fork head from the traditional British gardening manufacturer Chillington, is ideal for working the soil, breaking hard ground and general garden work.
It comes with a 1.2 metre handle made from eucalyptus wood, chosen for its inherent strength, durability, water resistance and shock absorption.
Experienced any struggles or success when restoring your tools? Any tips to add? Let us know in the comments below!
If you liked this article, you might enjoy reading ‘Is the Traditional Method of Digging over Our Soil Now Outdated?’