Garden Shed Confidential

You’ve raked, aerated and irrigated your dormant winter lawn but as you trudge into your garden shed, something hits you: a craftsman is only as good as his/her tools. Spring’s just a couple of months around the corner. The time to take care of all that hardware is now…

The Basics

Even rookie green-thumbs have the essential big four: a hoe, a shovel, a fork and a rake. To avoid rust, hose off excess soil, give the tools a good going over with some steel wool, and wipe thoroughly with a rag and some household 3-in-1 oil. Many tools include wooden components. For older handles, use 80-grit sandpaper prior to oiling and wait one hour between applications. Keep this up every six months and you’re wooden handled tools will last a surprisingly long time. Avoid wadding up oily rags or sealing them in a container, as this presents a combustion risk. Allow rags to dry thoroughly between uses and soak in water before disposing.

Hinge Tools 
 Spring and hinge tools such as scissors and secateurs need very particular treatment. Start with some steel wool to get them clean, allow them to completely dry, then apply a household 3-in-1 oil to the hinges. Components that are susceptible to rust require a wipe-down with an oiled cloth.

Irrigation Tools

During the winter months, water can freeze in irrigation tools, causing damage. Detach your hoses from outdoor spigots and drape them over a tall object to allow for proper drainage. Once they’re free of excess moisture, remove the nozzles and store in a warm environment.


Regular maintenance saves time and money in the long run. Dip tools in a diluted bleach solution after use; use turpentine to remove sap; use vinegar to remove rust. And don’t forget to keep your edge! Shears, scissors, knives, hoes and some shovels benefit greatly from the occasional sharpening. Wipe blades with WD-40. When you’re sharpening, a 10” flat mill file at a 20 to 45 degree angle is more than adequate for most tools.

Looking for extra tips and guidance? Contact us today!