The Golden Rules (well some of them....)
Always remove all of the soil from your digging tools after each use. Usually hosing is all it takes, but use a good stiff brush/scraper to remove caked or dried mud.
Never put your tools away wet. Allow them to dry completely before storing. Once each garden season, rub linseed oil into your wooden handles to help preserve them.
After each use wipe the metal parts of knives, secateurs, shears, and loppers with an oily rag. A good tip is to keep an old tin (open) with an oily rag inside soaked in 3 in 1 mineral oil. Use a mineral oil that is inflammable & without solvents, and just to be extra safe make sure you keep this away from any sources of ignition. Store the oily rag tin and the tools in the same place. If you keep them in different places, the chances are you will forget to wipe them each time. Keeping the oily rag and the tools in the same place reminds you to do this every time you return from the garden to store the tools. This is a simple idea, but very effective!
Sharpen your cutting tools regularly as well as the blades of shovels and spades during the gardening season. A suitable sharpening stone should be used for sharpening cutting tools.A file should be used to remove nicks and smooth the edge of your shovels and trowels.Treat all metal surfaces with an oily rag once you have finished sharpening. There are many tips on sites such as YouTube which will give you all the help and advice you need. Failing that , take your tools once a year to a professional knife & tool sharpener, if you are lucky enough still to have one in your local area.
Thoroughly clean any tools which have been used for chemical applications. Fertilisers and other chemicals will rapidly corrode any metal parts. as can the acids contained in some plant saps. Remove sap build ups using either sap removal liquid or even baby wipes. Remember to oil the metal afterwards though.
Both Carbon Steel & Stainless Steel are both great materials for Garden Tools. As a general rule Carbon Steel is better used in cutting tools, i.e Secateurs & Knives, where the user requires a constant sharp edge. This is because the carbon steel blades are easier to sharpen yourself and stay sharp longer. The sacrifice is that it takes a little more care to look after than stainless steel. But as long as the care guides are followed, it is a fantastic material which we thoroughly recommend. In other words keep them clean, sharp and well oiled!
The aim of this guide is no definitive , it is just a little advice to help you look after your tools. In doing so, your new purchase should become a helpful companion in the the garden for many years to come.
We take great pride in bringing you good quality Garden Hand Tools and Accessories and are happy to discuss any questions you might have regarding your purchase.
Please send any questions to our resident tool geek; firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you and Happy Gardening….
The Great British Garden Company