10 practical garden tool tips

August 26, 2015

Although power tools are useful, most garden tasks rely on basic hand tools such as spades, hoes or a pair of pruning shears. Here are 10 practical tips for maintaining your garden tools.

  1. Tools with green, blue and wooden handles can be hard to find in garden greenery. Make them visible with some red adhesive tape on their handles.
  2. Heavy digging can be hard on your feet. To cushion your foot while you're pushing a spade or fork into heavy soil or tough grass, slip a pad made from a piece of old garden hose split lengthways on the shoulder of the implement so that it's between your foot and the shoulder of the tool. If this pad falls off, stick it in place with epoxy resin adhesive.
  3. To prevent your hands from blistering while you're raking up a big load of leaves, pad the rake handle with a length of slip-on foam pipe insulation used for 2.5 centimetre (1 inch) copper pipe. Fix this handle padding in place with insulating tape if necessary.
  4. Clean sap and dirt off of your pruning shears and handsaw blades immediately after you've finishing using them to preserve them.
  5. To keep your garden cutting tools sharp, sharpen them after every 10 hours of use.
  6. After pruning one plant, and before moving on to the next, wipe your pruning shear's blades with a rag soaked in disinfectant. This helps to avoid spreading diseases between plants.
  7. A grapefruit knife makes a handy weeder. It's lightweight and comfortable to hold, allows you to work close to delicate plants, and its serrated edges will cut straight through gritty soil.
  8. If the wooden handle of a tool snaps off flush with the shaft, making it hard to extract, try using some force. First, remove the rivets, drilling them out if necessary. Then drive a large lumber screw into the broken piece of the handle. Grip the screw head in a vice, hold an offcut of lumber against the shoulder of the tool, and strike it with a heavy hammer.
  9. If the handle of an old rake breaks, remove it, nail the rake head to a wall, and hang tools such as trowels on the outward facing tines.
  10. As the varnish wears away on wooden tool handles, the wood splits and splinters, letting in moisture that will eventually rot the handle away. To seal worn areas on handles, rub them every so often with boiled linseed oil.

Follow these 10 practical garden tool tips to keep them in good working order for longer.

10 practical garden tool tips
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