How to Keep Your Gardening Tools in Tip Top Shape

Keep garden tools in good conditionThe avid gardener invests a lot of money into the equipment they employ. However, the equipment will only remain in good working order if it is properly maintained. Gardening equipment is meant to last throughout many seasons and with the proper care and maintenance, you will not have to replace pieces for quite a long time. Here are some tips to keep your tools looking and working as they should.

Power Tools

There are a lot of tools that can be used for gardening, but to save time, many people choose to opt for power tools. Power tools have a lot of moving parts and many of these parts, especially blades, can be maintained with a simple coating of oil before they are put away for storage. Cords can also be quite an enticing offering to mice and other outdoor creatures, so before use after being stored for a significant amount of time, inspect cords for any breach in the exterior coating. Any damage needs to be fixed by a professional.

Petrol Powered Mowers

A petrol powered mower requires a bit more maintenance than some of your other gardening equipment. It is one of the most used pieces of equipment that you use in your outdoor area and therefore from time to time you will have to clean the underside of the machine. Simply wipe down the blades, rollers, and grass boxes with a stiff brush to remove any buildup and then hose the excess off. Replace any broken blades and have dull ones sharpened either by a professional or do it yourself with the right sharpener of course.

During your routine maintenance checks look at all the cables throughout your mower to make sure that there are no worn cables. Clean out filters at this point too to cut down on any engine issues that arise from clogged filters. If there are any, take the mower to a shop and have a professional replace them. Change the oil regularly and at the end of the mowing season, prepare the mower for winter storage by disconnecting the spark plug lead and run out all the fuel before the mower is stored.

Electric Mowers

These types of mowers need to have the main power cable checked before use and replaced if there are any worn places. Clean the underside of the mower the same way that you would a petrol mower and replace or repair any broken plastic pieces. Sharpen blunt blades and replace chipped ones.

Sharpen Your Tools

Just because a tool is dull does not mean that it should be thrown away. There is much more life to be found within a dull blade if it is sharpened properly. Sharpening rusty tools begins with removing the rust with a wire brush. The next step is applying oil to your sharpening stone. The blade should be ran across the sharpening stone at a slight angle and with the grain of the knife. Use a bit of pressure and a smooth motion to sharpen the knife. All types of blades can be sharpened in this way, but the key to maintaining them is how they are stored within your storage area. The blades need to be suspended from the ground via hooks on the wall. Before placing them on the wall for storage, rub the blade down with lubricating oil to further keep it from rusting.

Handles

The blades of tools are not the only parts that have to be maintained. Many gardening tools come with steel handles that really do not need much maintenance at all, but when wood is the chosen material for the handle, there will be maintenance issues. Wood tends to soak up moisture if it is not properly sealed. Sealants are usually put in place to ensure that it lasts, but even if a handle is not properly sealed a regular coating of oil will help it to keep moisture at bay.

Some tool handles may not soak up moisture, but they are prone to picking up a significant amount of dirt during use. Careless people can often add to the dirty nature of the tool by leaving it out in the weather. Cleaning the tool handle is easily done however with a stiff brush. Once the surface dirt is removed, you can use a damp cloth to clean further into the handle. Dry the handle completely before storage to ensure that the excess moisture does not cause the handle to swell.

Your gardening tools are a very important part of your life. Even if you only use them during certain seasons throughout the year, they need to be properly maintained so they are able to last you for years to come. Properly cared for tools can last for years and some have even been known to last through generations of use.