Some people collect Hummel figurines. Not me. I collect garden tools. I have been ordering them all winter. It is a devilish pleasure, a passion, if you will. They are organized now after my garage clean up, hanging along the wall standing sentry for spring to arrive.
GARDEN TOOL MAINTENANCE TIPS:
With these fantastical tools comes a responsibility to care for them. Maintaining tools starts with the most important tip of all – clean tools off after every use. Hosing off and removing all soil and plant matter can truly help your tools last longer.
Fiberglass and plastic handles require little more than a quick wash with soap and water. Wood handles, however, should be sanded and oiled regularly, once every year or two works for me. Be sure to sand with a fine paper sander – the idea is not to remove the surface, but to maintain it. Rub the freshly sanded surface with linseed oil. Use as much oil as it takes until it cannot absorb any more, wait a half hour, then wipe clean.
Metal tool cutting edges require sharpening, which can be accomplished by filing. Remove light rust with a wire brush. Heavier rust can be removed with steel wool, followed by a rust-proofing primer, then paint if necessary. WD-40 keeps hinges working well.
Oil prevents rust, and some prefer to store metal tools in a large bucket with coarse sand to which motor or vegetable oil has been added. I think vegetable oil is more sustainable, but it will harden in cold temperatures. You can store tools in the winter in the oily sand or remove and wipe off before storage. Another maintenance choice, which I prefer, is to hang tools (see above photo of garage), oiling only at the end of the season.
Of course, while conditioning and sharpening tools can be done yourself, finding a local professional to sharpen them for you is also a great choice.