The quieter winter months are a good time to maintain and care for your garden tools. Not only will your tools last longer and be a pleasure to use if they are well maintained - who wants to start spring gardening by first having to remove dirt and rust, clean, and sharpen tools? All this is part of winter maintenance so that tools are well-prepared for the new gardening season in spring.
Clean your tools
The first step is a clean garden tool. Ideally, you should clean your tools after every use, but now you can take a little more time for cleaning.
Use a sponge, a little soap and warm water to tackle the dirt and clean your tools thoroughly.
You can remove dirt from saws or files with the Saw and File Brush. Resins can be easily removed with a Resin Solvent. Simply spray on - and wipe off. This is a simple way of cleaning, especially saws or saw blades. After cleaning with resin remover, you should apply oil to neutralise the resin solvent.
Barnel has developed the Barnel® »B Clean« Cleaning Spray for Garden Shears specifically for garden shears, which reliably removes resin residues and sticky tree sap. The same applies here: Neutralise with oil after cleaning.
How to treat wooden handles
Wooden handles can be sanded with fine sandpaper. This not only removes stubborn dirt but also maintains and renews the surface. Then oil the handles with linseed oil. Add some oil to a soft cotton cloth and evenly treat the wood. Linseed oil dries slowly, penetrating deeply into the wood and, once hardened, provides eco-friendly wood protection. Caution: After oiling, be sure to place the oil-soaked cloth outdoors to dry completely, as there is a risk of spontaneous combustion.
Check your tools and repair damage
The next step is to check the tools for any damages and repair them. Smaller rust spots in particular can quickly worsen over the winter. Be sure to thoroughly inspect your garden tools! Tools made of stainless steel are usually completely unproblematic. Tools such as saws made of carbon steel, on the other hand, require considerably more attention.
If components, joints, or bolts are so rusted that they have become stuck, they should first be loosened and the rust removed. In this case, Weicon® Rust Loosener and Contact Spray is a reliable helper.
You can remove small rust spots with a Rust Eraser, and larger rust spots can be removed with a Stainless Steel Wire Brush or a Flap Sander. Flap sanding discs can also be used with a drill if you do not have a straight grinder to hand. For this, you should have some practice with sanding.
Sharpen your tools
Winter is also the right time to sharpen your tools so that they are ready for use again in the spring. A sharp tool is always safer than a blunt one – simply because you need to apply less force, allowing for more delicate and precise work with the tool. Depending on the tool category, different systems are available for sharpening.
This Sharpening Set is ideal for garden tools and knives, for example.
Axes and hatchets can be sharpened with the Gränsfors® Sharpening File for Axes or with the Gränsfors® Diamond Sharpening File for Axes. The diamond file features one side with a coarse 230 grit for pre-sharpening and a fine 400 grit side for honing. Both files can be used dry or with water. If you value maintaining precise sharpening angles and want to make it simple, then the KME Sharpening System for Axes is the right choice for you. The system makes sharpening axes particularly easy, even without prior knowledge. The Naniwa® Sharpening Stones is particularly suitable for secateurs. These have one side with a concave and one side with a convex shape.
Lubricate your tools
In the final step, you should thoroughly oil all metal parts. Do not use mineral oils, but vegetable ones such as camellia oil or Sinensis Camellia Oil or the medically pure white oil-based Ballistol. These oils are biodegradable and thus harmless to use. By oiling the surfaces, you protect them from unnecessary corrosion during winter. Water finds it difficult to penetrate through to the metal – the oil layer forms a barrier against the water.