Garden Tool Tune Ups

Gene and Katie Hamilton

Gene and Katie Hamilton

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Everyone in our neighborhood has been out in their yards – weeding, cutting and planting – because of the mild winter and warm weather we’re experiencing. The first year as homeowners we were eager to tame the garden and I got good advice from a neighbor who said always sharpen your hand tools so they will cut sharper and dig deeper into the soil. It was good advice then and it is today. If you didn’t get around to giving your hand tools a once over at the end of last season do it now before using them. It’s a simple matter of removing any dirt and mud from weeders, pruning tools and shovel blades. Get rid of tough dirt with a wire brush and coat the metal parts with a lubricant like WD-40 especially at the pivot point of the tool. Use a fine metal file on cutters and shovel to sharpen the blades. If wooden handles are rough to the touch sand them with some fine sandpaper and rub on a wipe on oil finish to prevent splinters. These quick fix ups cost nothing and will keep your hand tools working all through the season.

Go to to find the cost of hundreds of home decorating, repair and remodeling projects.


Gene and Katie Hamilton are authors of 20 home improvement books and creators of, a website that compares the DIY and contractor costs of hundreds of repair, decorating and remodeling projects. Their weekly column Do It Yourself or Not is syndicated by Tribune Content Agency.
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