Winter Tool Maintenance

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A regular schedule of winter tool maintenance will make sure you rid those implements of rust, dirt or dullness that may accumulate over the course of the year. Learn what to do and how to do it in this free video on winter garden care.

Part of the Video Series: Winter Garden Care
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Marci Degman, the aspiring gardener. And today, we're going to talk about winter tool maintenance. Now, we go out in the summer, we use our tools, we're busy, we don't think about them. But, there's got to be a time of year when you bring them in, and give them a good look, and take care of them. And, what I've got here basically is some pruners. And, as you can see, this is my main tool, and carbon steel tends to darken, no matter what, from pitch and resin, and all the things that you do. So, this is going to be pretty natural. But, there is a little rust here on the spring. Now, I can replace all these parts at some point if I have to. But, it still takes quite a few years before you have to do that. So, what I want to do is make sure that I go in each year, and I take care of any rust, any problems that I find with it, any parts that I need to replace. This one is pretty much in good shape. It's sharp, I might take a little oil to that. But otherwise, mainly, I like to bring them inside. Don't leave your tools where they're going to get damp and wet, or even lost. Have a place for your good tools. So, this one goes in the house every winter. What I have is a couple examples that aren't so good. This is a tool that way found outside, so it had already been sitting out in the rain. You can see how badly it's rusted. Now, that doesn't mean it's hopeless. But, you know, rust can continue to eat into metal, so you have to do something to stop that. Now, the first thing I would probably do is pick up some SOS, and try to get some of that rust off. You can see it's pretty bad, so what you do is you get off what you can initially, and then what I'm going to do after that is, I'm going to take some oil. Now, you can use any kind of kitchen oil, this is canola. You can use olive oil, whatever you have on hand is fine. Now, what I'm going to do is, even though I've still got rust to deal with, I'm going to go ahead and rub this, because what it'll do is it'll loosen that rust up. Now, I may have to go over this a number of times to bring it back, because it's pretty bad. So, I'm going to go ahead and oil this, and let it sit maybe overnight. Go back over it with the steel wool. Or, even better, if you have a good wire brush, you can speed the process up. So, I'm going to oil that, and I'm going to just that one sit. Now, I have over here also another one that is pretty old, and it had gotten a little bit of rust on it. But, we've kind of gone in, and put a little bit of an edge on it. So, what you can do is, you can sharpen tools like this. Now, these don't have necessarily parts that I can replace, so I need to take care of it. Now, I have a couple of files. This is a really old, dull file. So, you can see where it's just kind of not that good. So, what you want to do is, you want to find a file that's got a nice kind of a coating. You can feel the roughness. Now, this one's kind of angled, and it works really well for tools, because not only has it got the angle on it, but it's small, and you can get it in your hand, and you can easily sharpen. So, what you're going to want to do on these tools, is first look at the shape. What you want to do on this side, because it's flat, is you just want to follow the flat. You don't ever want to go like this, you don't ever want to work against the blade. You want to just basically lay your file down. This is angled, so I'm going to lay that angle flat. So, there you have it. Sharpen your pruners, oil them, keep them out of the water, take any rust off when you find it, and they'll last for years and years.


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