Winterizing Garden Tools: Good article, timely subject

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Winterizing Garden Tools

By paulgrow
October 19, 2011

All of the leaves have been raked and added to the compost; frost has put all of the plants to sleep for the winter. The outdoor furniture has been covered or moved into the garage. We still have one final task to accomplish before completing our outdoor work for the season. We need to winterize those tools, both power and manual, to ensure they will be ready to go in the spring

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Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
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SongofJoy
Oct 19, 2011 5:10 AM CST
Good to have you here writing, paulgrow.

The turkey baster idea is very good. Now why didn't I think of that? Thumbs up
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: Anna
North Texas (Zone 8a)
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canadanna
Oct 19, 2011 7:10 AM CST
Good article. Does it matter what kind of oil you use with the sand? Is it ok to use veg oil instead of motor oil?
Name: Renée
Northern KY
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KyWoods
Oct 19, 2011 8:24 AM CST
Thanks for the tips, Paul! This is much better than waiting until spring to do all this, when you're itching to get out there and dig.
Name: Paul
Allen Park, MI (Zone 6a)
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paulgrow
Oct 19, 2011 10:11 AM CST
Thanks all, Yes any type of oil will work, a friend uses vegetable oil from the dollar store.
Gardening is cheaper than therapy and you get tomatoes. ~Author Unknown
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
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RickCorey
Oct 19, 2011 11:59 AM CST
Or mineral oil. It never goes rancid.

I agree that it's valuable to sharpen spades, mattocks, hoes and weeders with a file, especially if you use a grinder or belt sander first. Hoes and other weeders work better and easier with a sharp edge.

Don't use a cross-cut or double-cut file - they leave a ragged nicked surface that wears, rusts and chips faster. Use a single-cut file. If you have a round or half-round file, you can leave a smoother edge in the inside curve of a shovel blade. If you only have a flat file, you might prefer to sharpen the outside edge of a curved blade.

You should only push with a file, not pull or use a back-and-forth sawing motion. File teeth are directional, and pulling backwards can bend them, decreasing the file's effectiveness (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File_(tool)).

Probably the smoothest edge is left by "draw-filing". This is pushing the file lengthwise along the edge of the tool, as if using a plane rather than a saw. (This is also the easiest way to slice your knuckles.)

If you only have a coarse file or double-cut file, finish up with sandpaper to take some of the burrs and nicks out. Don't cut your fingers on the rough edge!

You can get a sharper edge if you sharpen only from one side, rather than sharpening from both sides the way knives are sharpened. However, for a spade, don't expect anything sharper than 45 degrees to survive contact with stones and gravel!


[Last edited by RickCorey - Oct 29, 2013 11:45 AM (+)]
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Name: Renée
Northern KY
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KyWoods
Oct 20, 2011 10:11 AM CST
Well, duh, I never even thought about sharpening shovels. Thumbs up Thanks for that idea!
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Oct 20, 2011 6:41 PM CST
It can help a lot - until you hit a rock or gravel. The you learn the hardness of your steel, and whether you should use a less acute angle next time you sharpen.

But in organic soils, a sharp shovel may not even need to be stepped on.
Just puuuush.

Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
Oct 29, 2013 9:17 AM CST
I'm lucky to even gather my tools up at this time of year -- I don't really have an end-of-season, just a slow-down. Thanks for the inspiration, though, I always have good intentions to do the cleaning/sharpening thing. Perhaps this will be the year...
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Oct 29, 2013 11:46 AM CST
An angle grinder is a fast way to remove metal, if the tool hasn't ever been sharpened, and you need to cut a bevel before you can smooth an edge.

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