By Ted Maro
The work day begins with you walking into the garage, past the snow blower, lawn mower, bikes, golf clubs, and landscape tools. The snow blower had a tune-up last fall, the mower has been cleaned up and blade sharpened, the bikes have been cleaned and polished, and the golf clubs have been spit shined. The landscape tools are hanging up or in the corner with dried soil on them and dirty or damaged with broken handles. Now is a great time to pull maintenance on them.
First thing to do is inspect the blades on the shovels. Check the fastener on the collar area and general blade condition. If the fastener is in bad shape, drill out and replace with a new bolt, flat washer, and nut. Next, inspect the handles and make sure there are no cracks. Check the area where the handle goes into the collar on top of the blade. Cracks in the handle by the collar are quite common. How many times have you used a shovel as a pry bar? Shovels with any of these conditions can cause injuries. The damaged handles can be removed and replacement handles can be purchased and installed. The old handle can be re-used as a stake in a garden area or used as a plant support. They have plenty of handy uses.
Cleaning soil off the blades can be done with a putty knife and a stiff wire brush. Follow that by using course steel wool. The edge can be filed with a metal file or sharpened on a grinder. Finish it by spraying a light coating of WD-40 on the entire blade and collar. This will inhibit rust from forming on the blade and collar. This process can be done on your round point, square nose, spade, and specialty shovels.
A similar process can be done on the other landscape tools including garden forks and rakes, hoes, and picks. The handles and tines should be inspected on the forks and rakes. The cracked handles can be removed and replacement handles can be purchased and installed. Next, clean the soil off the tines and finish the cleaning process by spraying on the WD-40. Follow the same process with the hoes and picks by inspecting the handles and blades. Again, cracked handles can be removed and replaced. Next, clean the blades up, sharpen, and spray on WD-40. Remember, keep the old handles for other uses, re-use and recycle is always a good idea.
You probably have hundreds of dollars invested in your landscape tools so it pays to take care of them and they will continue to be in good condition and last for many years to come. Plus, clean and shiny tools will look great hanging on the garage wall! You will definitely be prepared for the upcoming landscape season. Warm weather, here we come!