BY SHARON RUDE
How do you sharpen your garden tools? Do you have a favorite stone or gadget to keep them sharp for necessary garden tasks? One of my favorite garden tools is a GardenSharp® Garden Tool Sharpener. I purchased it at a Duluth Trading retail store in Duluth, MN for $15.95 in 2016 while on vacation with family and friends. This sharpener, along with other Accusharp tool and knife sharpeners, are available through Amazon and numerous other local retailers including Menards, Ace Hardware and WalMart. The sharpener can be used for pruners, loppers, shovels, hoes, and lawn mower blades. NOTE: as a safety precaution, when sharpening lawn mower blades, remove the blades from the mower first before sharpening them.
This sharpener has a visible carbide insert to place against the blade of the tool you wish to sharpen. It includes a finger safety guard to keep fingers safe from the edge being sharpened. It also includes the ability to reverse the arrangement of the carbide sharpeners from one side to the other, to accommodate various tool shapes and sizes.
Simply place the edge of the tool to be sharpened in the “V” shaped notch of the sharpener. While keeping the garden tool stationary and secure, simply slide the sharpener along the blade’s edge. When sharpening any tools, work in one direction, not a back and forth motion. Only a few passes of the sharpener along the blade’s edge will be sufficient to restore a sharp edge. Light pressure is sufficient since heavy pressure may cause you to lose control and cause possible injury.
Everyday maintenance of garden tools is important to keep them in top working order. Remove soil and dirt from your tools after each use. Remove excess dirt while it’s fresh with a garden trowel or wire brush and clean the tools with water when needed. Keep your loppers, shears, and pruners sharp and ready for the next time you will need them. Oil your cutting tools too. At the end of each use, wipe them down with a dry rag, then give them a spray of oil like WD-40 or a vegetable oil. To prevent rust, fill a five-gallon bucket with sand, followed by a quart of vegetable oil. When you are finished in the garden, plunge your clean shovels and hoes into the sand several times. You can even store your shovels right in the oily sand. Do not leave your garden tools out in the weather elements. Store your tools in a shed or garage to prolong their life. Check your tools at the end of the gardening season to insure they are ready when spring arrives.