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Pro Tips: Why to Sharpen your Gardening Tools

For a well-manicured yard and garden, you need to take care of the garden well -and for that, you need tools that are in good condition.

Gardening can be a delightful hobby  – providing us with hours of relaxation and a sense of accomplishment. People like to keep them surrounded by nature for tranquility. After all, being around plants and greenery can calm your mind and help you take in fresh oxygen.

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However, for some, gardening can be a bit stressful even though they love plants. The pressure to keep up with the Joneses and the difficulty level of some tasks can be overwhelming. For both of these groups, maintaining gardening tools is necessary for fast and effective gardening hacks. With a well-maintained tool, our work can be done more effortlessly and faster.

You just need to get the right tool for the right gardening task. Sharpen the tools from time to time for better cuts and results, and you are good to go.

Sharp tools are even beneficial for your plant’s health. Preening and trimming plants is necessary for plant health as it encourages new growth and removes dead ends.  If you don’t cut your plants properly, they can quickly start to rot and suffer from poor health.

Why Sharpen your Gardening Tools?

Sharpening your tools isn’t as hard as it may sound. It is something you can work on even indoors. Sharpening tools is essential because it helps you cut the plants properly, which allows the plant to seal up faster than if you cut it with a blunt blade. If you cut the plants with a dull blade, the plant is more open to diseases and more prone to growing fungi on it, affecting plant health, and eventually, the gardener loses out on great blooms.

One of the biggest pros of sharpening your tools is that it makes your work easier. Pruners can be used effortlessly, as it will smoothly cut through a branch without the need for excessive force and effort.

Shovels, like any other gardening tool, needs to be sharpened as well, for great results. For sharpening a shovel or a spade, you need a bastard-cut mill file. A medium-toothed file would work great on these. Remember to maintain the angle and make the edge sharper.

How to Sharpen Gardening Tools

One thing to acknowledge is that sharpening tools require some physical labor.

1. Shovels

For instance, when you are sharpening a shovel, you need to rub the file against the edge with your stronger hand and hold the shovel in place with the other. Remember to keep the file at the same angle as the bevel. 

For a shovel with a round bottom, you need to sharpen all around the curve but not its sides.. You need to start sharpening from the center to the sides of the shovel.

2. Spades

For a rectangular spade, you need to sharpen the edge keeping a steady straight pattern, moving the file side to side.

3. Pruners and Loppers

When it comes to pruners and loppers, they require a smaller file for sharpening. The choice of sharpening medium depends on the gardener himself. Some prefer using whetstone with sharpening oil; however, gardeners should use a diamond file for better results and easier sharpening. It is a metal file with diamond particles embedded in it.

However, the choice is up to you. Some even prefer using a sharpening stick and a small metal bar with a honing edge at one end of it.

Bypass pruners are popular in the gardening community. Bypass pruners have two blades side by side like scissors. For bypass pruners, you only need to sharpen the wider side.

Make sure to wear thick and sturdy gloves while working on the pruners. Open the pruners as wide as possible and hold on to the tool with one hand to keep it open. On the other hand, swipe and rub the file along the pruner’s beveled edge, moving it from the inside to the tool’s outer parts.

4. Mower Blade

To sharpen a mower blade, place the blade in a vice, start from the inside, and swipe the file outward. Follow the blades cutting edge. Remember to smooth out rough spots.

The blades shouldn’t be too sharp. It should be as sharp as the butter knife as super sharp blades can dull away quickly. The blades should be balanced, to check that hang it on a nail, if one side is lopped than the other, sharpen till it is balanced out.

5. Machete

For machetes, you need to clamp it to the vice and run the file against its blade away from your body, down towards the length of the blade. You need to sharpen one side first, then do the other one to bring it a balance.

Avoid sharpening within a few inches of the blade. This way, you can keep the blade stronger. It is also safer that way – in case you slip, you won’t cut yourself.

Measures to Take After Sharpening

Rubbing the file against the blade also helps in removing any metal burrs left behind. Also, make sure to handle the pruners with care so that you don’t hurt yourself.

Disinfect your tools after sharpening them with 70% alcohol or dipping them in a 10% bleach solution. Dry them well. The tool joints should be lubricated by lightweight oil, the ones you use at your house. Make sure you rub the whole tool with the same oil to avoid rusting in the future.

These are the necessary steps you can take to sharpen your gardening tools.

Sharpen your Tools for Better Gardening

Even though there are many ways to sharpen your tools, the basics are pretty easy to keep in mind.

With practice, the whole sharpening process becomes easier. It might seem like a challenge at first, but you will get there soon. Follow the tips we mentioned above, and before you know it, you will become a pro at maintaining your gardening tools.

Have fun gardening!

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