All Things Gardening forum: how to perserve wooden handles on garden tools

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Name: Damian H
molino FL (Zone 9a)
raising a child with autism what's
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Damian
Aug 18, 2013 12:03 PM CST
I am so tired of my woodin handle tools breaking. Just yesterday my hoe broke I have went threw so many shovels I can't not even keep count LOL should I put some type of sealer on them please if u have any ideas that work please let me know Thank you. I'm all ears!
Damian D
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
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woofie
Aug 18, 2013 12:38 PM CST
I tried some of that liquid plastic coating on the weathered handle of my favorite hand cultivator and it has worked out great. The handle was really cracked and split, but the stuff filled it in and it has held up beautifully for about 3 years now.
http://www.plastidip.com/home_solutions/Plasti_Dip
I dipped mine, but you can apply it with a paint brush, too. One word of warning: once you've opened the can, you need to use it all, because it just won't reseal and the remainder will dry out.

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Name: Trish
Jacksonville, TX (Zone 8a)
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Trish
Aug 18, 2013 7:58 PM CST

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Woofie- I've never heard of that stuff before- thanks!

We try to tallow or wax ours every year. It helps tremendously. Although....we are moving more and more to handles that aren't made of wood for that very reason!
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Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Aug 18, 2013 8:17 PM CST
My father was terrible at caring for his wooden handled tools and often left them hanging up in the tree branches. He like the rough, dry feel of the handles. But he was a house painter and paper-hanger by trade and took excellent care of his wooden ladders. Each summer he would coat the ladders with boiled linseed oil on a good hot August day and let the oil soak in and dry overnight. I recall once asking him why the oil needed to be boiled and he said, "Plain linseed oil would never dry." He purchased these ladders before I was born (I just turned 64, ouch!) and am still using Dad's old ladders.
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
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woofie
Aug 18, 2013 9:04 PM CST
I remember a fellow I was talking to on Cubits some time back gave me a recipe for treating wooden handles. Seems to me it involved paraffin and kerosene and one other ingredient. I never tried it because it sounded a bit exciting (heating kerosene on the stove? Yikes!) Maybe the other ingredient was linseed oil. Have to see if I can track it down.
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Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
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RickCorey
Aug 19, 2013 5:18 PM CST
I use mineral oil if the handle looks very dry. I figure that will soak in and "moisten" the wood deeply plus repel some water.

Then, after the mineral oil has soaked in, I rub the surface with paraffin (because that's the cheapest wax, and leaves a somewhat slippery surface). Then I leave it in the sun, if it's warm out. Otherwise I just re-apply paraffin occasionally and rub it in hard.

I also prefer fiberglass handles over wood: they are lighter and I expect them to outlast me without any care at all.

Some tools, like a straight-handled shovel or hoe, I want to slip so I don't raise extra blisters. Hence, paraffin. In other cases, I want as much "grab" to the wood as possible. Then, I rub beeswax on top of the paraffin.

If I wanted the wax to soak in deeply, I would melt the wax with mineral spirits and some mineral oil first, store it in a tightly sealed can, and then rub it in as a paste.

Instead, I'll sometimes "splurge" on Johnson's Wax - that is already a paste of some hard, slippery waxes and some volatile solvent. Or "bowling alley wax" would be a classy, pricey substitute for paraffin.

(Paraffin can sometimes be found at supermarkets or as a canning/jelly supply. I think that candle-making paraffin is likely to be more expensive.)

And sometimes i just use a commercial "orange wax" goop that has some wax and some oil in a slurry. I tend to use that on knife handles, not shovel handles.

I don't like vegetable oils (usually) or turpentine because i think they can oxidize.

If I wanted to go crazy and spend money, I would put a layer of polyurethane on top, to seal it. But I like the feel of wood better than plastic!

Check out some fancy product$ to protect and $trengthen wood for marine application$: Doctor Rot.

http://www.rotdoctor.com/poly/polymain.html

P.S. Mineral oil also protects metal from rusting.

If you have a metal surface that won't be scratched or rubbed by grit, a light layer of wax will protect it even better (melt it after rubbing, or apply with a solvent). I've heard that woodworkers will apply Johnson's Wax or bowling alley wax to a machine tool to prevent rust.


Name: Damian H
molino FL (Zone 9a)
raising a child with autism what's
Region: Florida Vegetable Grower Keeper of Poultry Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Damian
Aug 19, 2013 9:31 PM CST
Thanks everyone for a lot of GREAT SUGGESTION I can't thank you enough for taking the time to help really says alot about this great bunch of gardeners thank you all Hurray!
Damian D

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