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Asking around the team at Yates, it turns out many of us have inherited tools from parents and grandparents. One of our crew is using an old spade he was given by his grandfather that turned out to be over 120 years old! If you’ve inherited an old tool from somebody important to you, it’s especially satisfying to get it back into peak condition and use it. Then one day, it can be your turn to pass it on. Added to that, vintage tools can be gorgeous, high-quality objects in their own right. There’s some truth in the saying “they don’t build ‘em like they used to”.
Here are our how-to guides to maintain and sharpen different types of garden tools: we’ll focus on secateurs and loppers, digging tools and mower blades.
To sharpen secateurs and loppers, follow these steps:
A whetstone (also known as a sharpening stone) is an excellent method to sharpen a wide variety of blades, like secateurs, scissors, knives and chisels.
The real advantage of having a whetstone is being able to sharpen all your kitchen knives. Even if you aren’t the household chef, maintaining sharp knives earns you lots of brownie points! We won’t cover how to sharpen knives in this article, but we wanted to point out a whetstone can be a very versatile tool to have.
Sharpening with a whetstone does require practice and patience, but it makes a really good job. It's crucial to maintain a consistent angle, use appropriate pressure, and periodically test the blade's sharpness to get best results.
Sharpening a spade or shovel can improve its digging performance and makes it noticeably nicer to use. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to sharpen a digging tool (this technique also works well for hoes, mattocks, slashers and axes):
Remember to take your time and work carefully. Always prioritise your safety and use caution when handling sharp tools and/or grinders.
Maintaining the handles on your tools with sandpaper and oil makes them much more comfortable and easier on your hands, while preventing splinters or cracking. Here's how to do it:
By regularly sanding and oiling your tool handles, you can make them last much longer.
Dull mower blades tear and rip the grass – if you look at the ends of mown grass leaves, you’ll notice little strings of fibre on the cut end where it's frayed and damaged. That’s a signal you’re overdue for sharpening your blades! A sharp blade makes a cleaner cut and causes less stress to the grass; helping it recover faster. To sharpen a lawn mower blade, follow these steps:
Now your lawn mower blade will cut cleanly, without tearing or ripping your grass.