Garden Tool Maintenance

Garden Tool Maintenance

Garden tool sharpening of pruners and loppers

How to Sharpen Garden Tools – Video Library

Some Videos on Using Diamond Hone Paddles to Sharpen All Types of Tools

Here is a video library of all the different tools you can sharpen with our Garden Tool Sharpening Kit. You can also find a wide variety of articles for each specific type of tool on our blog.

Sharpening New Mower Blades
Sharpening Garden Snips or Scissors
Sharpening Your Hand Pruners

You can read more in these resources:

Q&A: Sharpening Garden Tools

Best Sharpening Tool for Garden Pruners, Clippers and Loppers

Buy Our Garden Tool Sharpener Kit

Garden tool sharpening of pruners and loppers

How to Sharpen Pruners, Loppers and Shears

A Guide for Gardening Tools and Blade Sharpening

Sharpening Garden Tools

In my first post on Sharpening Scissors, I showed you a quick and easy way to sharpen your garden scissors with my favorite sharpening tool: the diamond hone sharpening paddle. This guide will give you some insight and techniques to keep your garden tools (pruners, loppers and shears) sharp and in tip top shape for the garden. Sharpening pruners and loppers can be difficult due to the curved blade if you don’t have the right tools and technique. I guess you are asking: Aren’t they sharp enough? Most gardeners will not maintain their tools, and just go on using dull, ineffective blades. But clean cuts are imperative to keeping your plants healthy, and a sharp set of tools makes garden that much more fun, and reduces the time to prune and cut.

Steps for Sharpening Pruners and Other Curved Blade Tools

Clean your blades. We have to get to the steel before we can sharpen. Cleaning the gunk off the blades can help tool function immediately, and the sap dirt and grime can harden over time and make your tools almost useless. You can clean your pruners with dish soap, warm water and a brush or scrubbing sponge. For dried sap on the blades, scrubbing bubbles will help break down the sticky stuff.

Remove rust. You can remove rust by soaking the blades in white vinegar overnight. For stubborn, rusted blades you can also use a wire brush to remove the oxidized metal.

Removing rust from garden tools
Rusty, sappy tools prevent clean cuts.

File down large nicks. The sharpening process requires a move from coarse to fine. If you have diamond stone paddles, it makes the process simple. Grab your coarse paddle and run it over the blades at an angle equal to the existing bevel. Focus on any damage areas to smooth out the blade curve. The coarse paddle will remove the top layer of metal and get you to the good shiny stuff. Make sure and get both sides of the blade, but on the flat part, keep your hone flat and just do a few passes.

Sharpening time. Call me strange, but I love this part. Take your medium grit hone and run it over your blade. After a few passes, you will start to feel the metal get smoother, and your blade will begin to sharpen. After quite a few passes of the sharpener, switch to your fine diamond paddle. This will really put a shine to the blade and start to really put that cutting edge in shape. As you sharpen one side of the blade, it will build up a burr on the backside. Make sure and do a few strokes to remove this.

A bit of oil. When sharpening your garden tools, its a great opportunity to lubricate the joints for smooth operation. I use regular sewing machine oil, and just put a few drops on the pruner or lopper nut. Also take a rag and put a drop or two of oil on, and run it over your sharpening work. This will protect the blade from rust and keep the sap from sticking.

Conclusion – Sharpen Those Shears Now

And that’s it, simple and effective. Now go enjoy your work! We carry the diamond stone paddles for sharpening in our store, and you can find them here:

Garden Tool Sharpening Kit

Want to see our buying guide for garden hand pruners? Click below:

Best Garden Shears – How to Find the Best Pruners for You

sharpening garden tools

How to Sharpen Garden Tools: Q & A

Key Sharpening Tips for Pruners, Loppers, Scissors and Snips

How do you really sharpen garden tools and what type of sharpening stone or file can you use? Garden tools take abuse out in the garden and landscape. They bend, flex, and can be required to cut all kinds of things. It is not uncommon for them to quickly become dull and lack the cutting capability we require on our bushes, plants and grass. So how can we sharpen our garden tools and keep our time in the garden efficient and happy? Here is a quick overview of many common questions when it comes to the subject.

Why do my garden tools need to be sharpened?

Why do my garden tools need to be sharpened?

Having sharp garden tools provides a number of benefits:
  • Easier to cut, snip and trim
  • Less damage to the plant or tree with a clean cut
  • Clean cuts heal more quickly
  • Less stress on the garden tool or machine
  • Less power required to cut
  • More efficient use of time
Essentially, it keeps both you and your plants and trees happy.

What is the best tool for sharpening my garden tools?

What is the best tool for sharpening my garden tools?

Well, it depends. If you are sharpening mower blades, you will go nuts using a diamond sharpening paddle. And a large file is not going to help at all when sharpening garden snips or scissors. Here is an overview of all the tools you can utilize to sharpen a variety of garden tools: Garden Tool Sharpeners

How do I sharpen garden shears?

How do I sharpen garden shears?

Sharpening garden shears is just like sharpening a pair of scissors. You can sharpen them without disassembling, but usually if you can remove the central locking nut, it makes it easier. Most shears will have a layer of say and goop that will need to be removed. You then run a file or diamond pad across the blade at about a 10 degree angle until you see raw steel. Carefully and lightly touch the edge after a few passes and you should feel a sharp edge.

How do I sharpen my garden pruners?

How do I sharpen my garden pruners?

Sharpening garden pruners is easy with the use of diamond stone sharpening paddles. These paddles are efficient and small enough to get into the blade space of pruners as you sharpen. Run the paddles along the curved blade to reveal shiny metal, and make a few passes. Pruners typically have a blade side and a solid edge. Make sure the edge is clean with no knicks as you sharpen.

How do I sharpen shovels, spades and hoes?

How do I sharpen shovels, spades and hoes?

Typically, larger garden tools become quite dull with a layer of rust. Use a file to hone down the edge to raw metal and put a rough edge onto the tool. Once you have raw metal, you can then use a diamond stone paddle to put a sharp edge on the implement.

How often do I need to sharpen my garden tools?

How often do I need to sharpen my garden tools?

It all depends, a casual gardener will only need to sharpen tools once a season. An avid gardener may need to keep an edge, and sharpen their tools once a month or week. The best advice here is to keep them clean and in good shape and they will only require periodic maintenance and sharpening.

What is the best sharpening tool for my garden tools?

What is the best sharpening tool for my garden tools?

A nice diamond paddle set is perfect for both sharpening dull tools, and doing light sharpening maintenance on your pruners, loppers, clippers and scissors. Light, efficient and easy to caryy in a garden apron or tool box, they will provide years of sharpening service.

How do I sharpen scissors?

How do I sharpen scissors?

Sharpening garden scissors is easy and quick. We use diamond hone paddles, and they are small light and easy to maneuver on even small scissors.

How do you sharpen lawn mower blades?

How do you sharpen lawn mower blades?

Sharpening mower blades is not difficult. I don’t like to sharpen them with electric tools like a rotary tool or grinder. They let you remove too much metal, and you can create divots and hot spots that reduce blade life and can be dangerous. I use a diamond paddle hone set.
  • First, clean the grass gunk off your blades with a sponge or stell wool and dish soap
  • Next, take your course diamond paddle, and run it wover the blade edge until you can see bare metal. Do this on both sides, keeping the backside flat.
  • Then go to your medium and fine paddles until you have a nice fine blade tip. Be careful to use a clamp or vice, and wear leather gloves to keep from slicing your hands.
If you dont have a paddle set, we offer an inexpensive set that can be quite useful: Diamond Whetstone Paddle Sharpener Set for Garden Tools.

We sell a nice little garden tool sharpener set in our store, as well as a woodworking tool sharpener.

sharpening scissors

How to Sharpen Scissors

Sharpening Scissors the Right Way

“How to Sharpen Scissors” Video at End of Post

We all have them. We all tolerate them. That old pair of scissors that are so dull they bend the paper and need sharpening. In the garden, dull garden scissors or snips can leave wounds that can risk the health of your prize plants. If you knew how easy it was to sharpen them, you’d kick yourself. So let’s take a quick peek and the steps to sharpen scissors, and get them a sharp cutting edge. Fortunately, this technique can be used over and over to sharpen not only all your scissors, but you can sharpen garden snips, secateurs, loppers, and all your other dual blade tools with nearly the same sharpening technique.

What You’ll need:

  • Diamond Sharpening Stones (I like Diamond Paddles)
  • Water or Honing Oil
  • A rag
  • Paper for sharpened cut testing
  • A screwdriver (If your scissors have a screw)
  • A permanent marker (optional)

So, there are a ton of options for actual scissor sharpening when it comes to tools. But I like simple, and diamond stone sharpening paddles are my favorite. They come in a set of 3 usually, coarse, medium and fine, and can be used not only to sharpen your scissors, but other tools in your garden shed or shop. And they are relatively cheap and take up minimal space. You can also throw them in your pocket, or garden apron, for access out in the wild.

You can use these diamond stone scissor sharpeners dry or wet, and the debate is out on which is better, but i like to use just a little water on the stone, and it seems to help sharpen and keep the stone clean as steel comes off the blade.

Scissor Sharpening Steps: The “How to Sharpen Scissors” Checklist

Prep and Disassemble Your Scissors to Put on an Edge

If your scissors have a screw, taking them apart during the sharpening processes can be quite helpful, and you can get access to the full blade. If not you will have to open them fully to get the blades.

Sharpening the scissor blades is a two step process, and it’s important to do both sides of each scissor blade during sharpening.

How to sharpen scissor blades and sharpener for scossors
Sharpen the backside of the scissors flat until you see the metal.

Take the permanent marker and run it along the front blade of the scissor. This will give you a reference and make sure you have sharpened the entire blade of the scissors. You can use the ink as a guide to show areas of the blade that have been left unsharpened.

Sharpen the Blades

I start with the back of the scissor blade, or the flat side. The goal here is to remove any burs (very fine), get rid of any rust that has accumulated, and make the edge totally flat. Put the scissors on the edge of a table or bench and run the stone over the scissor blade in a flat, sweeping motion. If should just need a few swipes with the fine paddle, but if there is rust or divots you may need to use the coarse paddle to remove more material. Once you have shiny metal on the blades edge, clean up with your towel and flip to the other side.

Sharpening scissors by hand
Sharpen the scissors until a clear edge is shown.

Now, let’s talk about how scissors work. They actually shear whatever you are cutting between the contact point, so the angle is very abrupt at the tup of the blade. As we sharpen the scissor blade edge, it will only be about 10 degrees off perpendicular to the bevel side. This seems counter intuitive, and most folks try and sharpen at the bevel angle. You can put the scissor blade in a vise, or hold it securely in your hand, and run the paddle from inside out across the blades edge. A few passes should put a shiny edge on your blades.

to sharpen blades of scissors special tool
Angle your diamond paddle at about 10-20 degrees for a fine scissor edge

Test Your Sharpening Work

Try and cut the paper. A fine blade should cut with out effort, and you should be able to “push” the open blade across the paper, cutting with ease. If you can’t, rinse and repeat.

Sharpening Scissors Video Guide

How to Sharpen Scissors

If you are like me, a quick video is my best learning tool. See our “Sharpening Scissors” video for a simple, short guide to teach you how to sharpen just about anything with diamond sharpening paddles.

Ready to Hone your Scissors?

So that’s it, plain and simple. If you are like me, you will go on a sharpening binge and sharpen all the scissors in your house garage and even your neighbor’s. Check out our video library that show sharpening techniques for scissors, pruners, mower blades and more.

Buy Our Scissor and Tool Sharpeners

Tool Sharpening Video Guides

Garden tool maintenance

Care and Maintenance of Garden Tools

Cleaning, Sharpening and Protecting Your Gardening Tools

Ok, we are all guilty of leaving a tool or two dirty or dull. Who wants to do maintenance of garden tools when there are plants to tend? The fact is that gardening tools need love and care, just like flowers and vegetables, and if you neglect them, they will either break, or make your gardening experience less than optimal. So how often do you need to maintain those garden tools? Well, at least at the start and end of the season, but if you are like us on the farm, with heavy garden tool use, you should do it weekly or at least twice per month. So what is required? See below, and note, for convenience, at the end of the post are picture links to the Amazon products I used.

Clean Your Garden Tools

A brisk cleaning of your garden tools can be done after every outing. Leaving dirt caked on the tool and handle invites rust and decay. You can wash them with a hose and remove all dirt, but you can also wash them with a brush and some mild detergent. Dry them with a towel and let them sit in the shade to dry.

Removing Rust from Garden Tools

Rust is the devil when it comes to garden tools, and unfortunately, they live in the perfect environment for this killer: heat, water and dirt. The best way to keep rust at bay is proper storage and a daily cleaning. If rust prevails, get out some steel wool and start scrubbing. The rust should come off with a few strokes. You can also apply some light oil or WD40 to loosen the rust. Be sure and wipe your tools clean when done.

Taking Care of Garden Tool Handles

The garden is harsh on steel, but even more harsh on wood handled tools. If you are like us, you love your wood handles, and probably don’t tend to them as often as you should. If you have neglected your handles over time, fear not, a little sand paper can take away the greyness of time, and help to restore the beauty of the wood. Wooden handles require an oil like boiled linseed oil for protection. Apply the oil to the handle and let it soak up the love. All wood handles can take an application, even your Hori Hori Garden Tool. WARNING: Read the label on linseed oil rags, and do not leave them out and about when done, they generate great heat as they dry and can combust! Take it from someone who experienced this first hand.

Sharpening Garden Tools

If you have ever dug with a dull shovel, or tried to prune a tree with dull garden scissors, you know it just makes the job harder. Tools can be sharpened with a variety of methods, outlined below:

You don’t need something fancy, a simple sharpener with do, and there are different methods for each tool (standby for focused posts on Sharpening Your Garden Tools).

For convenience, see our diamond sharpening paddles that provide a quick and easy way to sharpen your tools.