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Tools Of The Trade: Caring For And Storing Your Garden Tools

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

From home improvement projects to outdoor ventures and garden project getting the job done means having the right tools around. But, it also means having tools that are functioning properly, and that means taking (proper) care of them.

1. The Cutting Edge: Cutting tools (such as shears, lopes, pruning saws, pruners, etc) are often subject to sticky residue build up. Clean with a rag dipped in paint thinner to remove sap and pitch form the blades. Follow up by sharpening blades with a file or wet stone and protect from rust by spraying or wiping with WD-40.

2. Helping Hands: Hand tools such as trowels, cultivators, etc should be washed with soapy water to free of dirt, and scrubbed with a stiff bristled brush or steel wool to dislodge crusty chunks. Examine handles of your tools and re-glue any that have come loose. To protect from drying and splitting wipe wooden handles with a rag moistened with linseed oil, removing excess oil with a clean cloth. Tools with painted handles can be refurbished by touching up or coated with brightly colored that that easy to see in the garden.

3. What a “Drain”: Hoses and sprinklers, prone to splitting and cracking, are best protected by draining all hoses before coiling and storing on a flat surface. Also drain and turn off outside taps to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting.

4. Big Deals: Larger tools such as shovels, rakes, hoes, edgers, etc should be washed with soapy water, removing crusted soil with a wire brush or some steel wool. Make sure to sharpen the blades of digging tools and wipe down metal parts with WD-40 to prevent rusting. Rub with wooden handles with linseed oil to remove excess oil that’s often responsible for making handles sticky to the touch.

5. Safe Keeping: Once you have taken proper precautions for preserving your tools experts suggest storing them in a dry place away from the harsh elements such as rain, wind, and snow. Tools such as spades, rakes, and hoes should be hung on the walls of your garage or garden shed, and should be kept both easily accessible, but generally out of the way. Store hand tools in a basket or bucket where they’ll be kept contained and keep gloves, soil, fertilizer, etc in an accessible, yet out-of-the-way cabinet or shelf.

Long Island Home & Lifestyle Articles > Tools Of The Trade: Caring For And Storing Your Garden Tools

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