Garden tools that last: renew and replace wooden handles

Tools with wooden handles can be renewed and repaired — so don't be quick to throw them out if that's the problem. Repairing or replacing the handles should have your tools working like new.

Garden tools that last: renew and replace wooden handles

Renewing wooden handles

  • The best way to preserve the wooden handles on shovels, rakes, wheelbarrows, and other yard tools is to store them in a shed or the garage where they are protected from the elements.
  • But if you have left a tool outdoors and the handle has begun to check and splinter, restore the wood by sanding to remove splinters and roughness.
  • Then brush on several coats of boiled linseed oil, letting each coat soak in before applying the next. Wipe off the excess oil before using the tool.

Replacing broken handles

  • Don't toss a garden tool, such as an ax, hoe, or spade, just because you've broken its wooden handle.
  • Replacement handles are readily available at hardware stores and home centres.
  • To remove the old handle, take out any wedge, pin, or bolt that holds the metal tool head to the handle.
  • Then pull the handle out, working it from side to side.
  • If it doesn't slip free easily, drill several 6 or 10-millimetre (1/4 or 3/8-inch) holes into the top of the old handle to loosen it.
  • Fit the new handle into the tool. If the handle does not fit completely into the tool, use a file or rasp to shave wood from the new handle until it fits.
  • Resecure the handle by driving the wedge back into the slit at the top or by drilling a hole and replacing the pin or bolt.
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