Prep Your Landscape Tools

Guest Author

Sharp pruning tools are easier on both you and your plants. If you’re not getting clean, precise cuts, your tools may need to be honed.

Start with a Clean Slate Before sharpening any tools, it’s important to remove the dirt, sand, sap and crud. Be careful as you may be working next to a sharp edge. Keep in mind that if you use steel wool, it will dull the tool.

Big Tools First To sharpen large tools like shovels and hoes, use a file made for that purpose. Look for the side of the tool that had the original sharp edge. Start by pushing the file — pulling the file will dull it — along the former sharp edge. With the first stroke, you should see whether you followed the original angle on the tool. If not, adjust the file. Continue filing until a small burr is produced along the other side of the sharp edge. Turn the tool over and place the file flat against the surface and, using one stroke, push the file across the edge. This should remove the burr and leave a sharp edge.

Pruning Shears and Such Sharpening pruning shears isn’t as simple, but the process is similar. Using a small sharpening stone (I prefer diamond-dust stones), rub the stone so that you’re pushing the stone off the edge of the blade. Push four to five times until you feel the burr on the other side of the blade. Lay the stone flat on the back side and push one time. If the blade is sharpened on both sides, sharpen one side until you feel the burr on the other side, then sharpen the other side to remove the burr. Coat the newly sharpened blade with WD-40 before you put it away.

By Tom Harris, Guest Author

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