Saturday, March 28, 2009

Tool Maintenance From the Kitchen

Happy husband and back porch
builder, taking a break.

“Necessity is the mother of invention.” (Victor Hugo 1852) applies to gardening.

I was raised by a father who was VERY particular about tool maintenance. I learned from him but now use kitchen and found products. For non power driven tools:

First: Make repairs. Tighten, sand, and replace parts where needed.

Small hand tools:
1. Put hand tools (without wood parts) through a dishwasher cycle; an easy way to sterilize & clean. Disinfect wood tools by hand cleaning as below #1.
2. Rub off rust on metal parts with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser or #100 steel wool.
3. Sharpen dull blades with a wet stone. Use patience in bringing the blade gently in the same direction, same angle, time after time.
4. Put drops of olive oil on the entire unit. Let it roll into the gears, bolts, rivets, springs, blades, and handles. Massage over all parts, making sure it gets into all internal working components. (This is good for the garden weary skin on your hands.) Let it sit a day on a paper towel. Wipe off excess with a soft rag; leave a coating.
5. Store in a moisture free environment.

Large hand tools:
1. Mix a bucket of disinfectant & water. Soak working parts half an hour, rinse & dry.
2. Rub off rust as above.
3. Sharpen blades as above.
4. Whether the handles are wood, plastic or fiberglass, take a good grade liquid furniture oil and generously rub the surface. Make sure it flows into any rivets or other indentions. Gently rub off excess oil with a soft cloth.
5. Work a coat of olive oil onto the metal parts as above. If an extremely large tool, coat metal parts with WD40.
6. Put new kitty litter in an empty bucket(s). Empty your next batch (or several) of used motor oil into the bucket. Push shovels into the mix and store this way.
7. Hang large tools. Touching cement or soil causes corrosion.

“The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools.” - Confucius. I would say, “The same holds true for gardeners.”

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