Sharpening Garden Tools: 2017 Guide How To Do It Properly

  • January 26, 2017
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this shovel needs sharpening

If you need to prune your garden, you’ll get your pruning shears. If you want to cut your hedges back, and control overgrowth, you’ll get your hedge cutters.

Whatever you need to do in your garden, you’ll have a tool to help you.

If the tool is blunt or dull, it makes the job more difficult.

Using blunt tools is more damaging for the plants, as they recover better from a good clean cut. Blunt or dull tools don’t cut cleanly. It’s more physically demanding, and your muscles will feel the pain in the aftermath.

Good quality garden tools are an expensive, but worthwhile investment. If they dull, then you need to know how to sharpen them properly.

How to sharpen pruning shears

Using dull cutting tools like pruners, loppers, and shears is not only more physically exhausting, and unsightly in the cut, it makes it easier for disease to get into your plants.

These tools are all sharpened in the same way. You can use a whetstone, sharpening stone or a mill bastard file for this. The blade needs to be kept still, so if you have one, hold the tool in a vice.

You only sharpen the curved blade, that does the actual cutting, and only in the direction of the bevel of the blade. It shouldn’t take too long to have the blade sharp, around three to five passes and once it is sharpened, you should seal the blade with tool lubricant.

Here is a video of how to do it:​

(Related post: How to clean rusty garden tools)

How to sharpen digging tools

Tools like spades, shovels and hoes are used in the ground for digging and cultivating. They get covered with dirt and should be regularly cleaned and oiled.

These tools are so much easier to use when they are sharp. To sharpen these tools, first take medium grit sandpaper, and sand off a layer of rust. If there’s a lot of rust, it might be easier to use a drill with a sanding attachment.

Then take a wire brush and brush the tool head. Wear safety goggles for this. Then file the edges of the blade. Filing will make the color of the blade brighter.

Once you’ve filed the edge, seal the blade with oil. Putting the tool in the vice makes this easier, as the tool is kept completely still. You should sand and treat the wooden handle of the tool regularly too.

(Related posts: LIst of best hand tools for your garden, Best Garden Hand Tools from Japan)

Check video below for more ideas:

Summary

Sharpening garden tools keeps them in great working order.

Using sharpened tools is less physically demanding, and is better for your plants.

Some garden centers or hardware stores offer a tool sharpening service, and this might be a good idea for bigger tools. For smaller, common garden tools, you can do it yourself at home.

As long as you remember to wear safety goggles when you use a wire brush, and to always file in one direction, and away from your body, then you can make sure your tools are always as sharp as possible.

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