Toolshed Tips

Soon most of you will put down the last scoop of mulch, pull up the last straggly annual, and clip back the last perennial before the full assault of winter arrives in your area. While you can’t do much gardening in the winter, you can do some of those off-season chores. Now’s the time to make any repairs to motorized equipment you use. Got a hedge trimmer that makes an embarrassing mess of your bushes? Does your lawn mower make funny crop circles that make the neighbors chuckle? Take them in and get them fixed now during the off-season.

This is also an excellent time to repair,clean, and sharpen your hand tools. While you’re doing this, make note of any that need replacing and put that on your Christmas wish list. :>

1. First, use a brush to clean off any dirt or debris on every surface you can reach. Dirt that is left on a tool often carries with it some moisture, which can foster rust 

2. Use a bastard file (8″ metal file with a handle) to sharpen all cutting surfaces. If you’re not sure how to do this, ask at your local lawn and garden supply house. If you have a power grinder, that will also work fine. Just remember to wear safety glasses.

3. Use a light lubricant on any hinges or moving parts (e.g. where the scissor parts cross). My personal favorite is WD-40 although 3-in-1 oil works too.

4. Wipe all metal surfaces with a light lubricant to prevent rusting. Discard the rag when you are done. Oily rags are often a contributing factor in garage and shed fires.

5. Finally, check the handles for damage, cracks, or splinters. Use a medium grade sandpaper on wooden handles. Finish off with brightly colored duct tape as needed.

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