Maintaining your garden tools

26 May 2009

The past few days have been incredibly busy for me. I had a 12 hours day at the Centre yesterday and go back again today. Hanno is going down to Sydney for a few days to help my sister who had a tree fall on her house during the wild weather a few days ago. I've received a few things in the mail and have not yet responded to the lovely people who sent them but never fear, I'll get to it, hopefully tomorrow. Despite the busyness of my days, I'm still smiling, still enjoying my work and still taking time out for talking to friends and for cuppas. My priorities remain the same even when the workload increases.

Hanno has done today's post and I've included a few photos of his work areas around our home. If truth be told, he would have liked to tidy up these areas before my camera recorded how they look during the course of a normal day but you don't want picture perfect photos - here we specialise in authenticity, so they come to you, from Hanno, in their raw state.

Your garden tools don't have to be the best or most expensive, often you can buy very good quality old tools at garage sales and markets. Buying good quality old tools is a better investment than buying cheap Chinese imports. Keep your tools in good working order by giving them a little time and effort after you've used them and they'll last a lifetime.

  • After using your lawn mower, check the oil level. If it is low and has not been changed for a while, now is the time to do it while the engine is still warm.
  • While checking the oil, look for wear and tear on the cutting blades, if they need replacing, do that straight away.
  • A small amount of dirt and grass buildup is fine because it helps protect the housing but if there is an excess, use your common sense and clean it out.
  • Clean the air filter.
  • Make sure the catcher is empty as it will smell if you store it with clippings still in it.
  • Give the mower a quick wipe over with a clean cloth before you store it away in a protected area.

Edge trimmer
  • When you finish your work, clean the unit with a clean rag. Remove any dirt or plant material.
  • Check the oil level (ours has a four stroke engine) so the trimmer will be ready for work the next time.
  • Store it in a protected area.

Garden rake, shovel, spades etc.
  • Clean dirt off your tools after you finish using them.
  • Don't leave your tools out in the rain or exposed to the sun for too long.
  • If the metal is showing signs of deterioration, clean it well and apply a rust preventative.
  • Every so often, check the wooden handles for splinters and roughness. If the handle starts to split, smooth it over with emery or sand paper and then apply a mix of turpentine and linseed oil. Leave it overnight to sink in and dry, then smooth over again with emery paper and finish off with a light sanding with steel wool.
  • Store your tools in a dry place.


  1. Thank you to Hanno for the great tips! My husband is outside now mowing the lawn and tending to the yard. I will be sure to share this post with him later.

    Laura :)

  2. Mmmm Rhonda I was just thinking how clean Hanno's shed looked and then you burst my bubble and said it wasn't. Well I beg to differ LOL!!

  3. You are so right Rhonda, how can a workshop look 'picture perfect'? can tell Hanno that it looks just as it should..well loved!!
    You gave such good instructions to keep mowers and tools in good condition. Maintaining your garden tools will result in many years of trouble free use!

  4. Hmm, I think this ones for the big fellow, so I will pass this one on. He will be a little envious of your shed Hanno, He can't wait to get his own shed again. Thank you so much for taking the time to write this one Hanno. Maintaining your tools and equipment really does extend the life of them. Hope you both have a great day.

    Blessings Gail

  5. great work area hanno!!!! i have tan pegboard for my tools to hang on and i outline each toolon the peg board with a black marking pen so if i have several tools that i am using at one time i just have to match them up with their outline to put them back in the right place.

  6. Thanks for those tips Hanno! Rhonda, I am pleased to tell you that I have soap curing. The 15 hour period passed this morning but, after feeling it, I've decided to wait until tonight before cutting it. You're right, once you get over the scary part it is quite straightforward.

    My husband enjoyed it very much. He said he would like to have the room you do. He even noticed you hang your smash-and-go (weed wacker, we call it a smash and go because you hit ours on the gound to advance the cutting string while it is running.)the same way, by string. Works great doesn't it?

    Lots of great tips here. Thank you so much for the detail...

    Have a great day.


  8. I've gotta say Rhonda your shed is way cleaner than ours Rhonda!!!

  9. Thanks, Hanno!

    Karyn, I love the "smash-and-go" it cracked me up for some reason!

    We are getting our "chooks" tomorrow! 12 meat kings and 12 brown egg layers (I couldn't find any nice heritage breeds this year, but will try in the future!). It's our first time, and I'm excited. We got our pigs last week (3 sows, and are all enjoying them--especially my 2 year old!), I don't know if I already mentioned that or not.

    Hmm..."simplifying" sure is adding a lot of work, lol. I think it might be the addition of a newborn, as well though!

    Take care
    -Melanie in Canada

  10. Hanno, that is one of the tidiest sheds I've ever seen - no make that the tidiest. No I'm fibbing, I have seen tidier but only on makeover shows where everything is brand spanking new, never been used and they've had a huge team set it up.

    Thank you for the tips I'll make sure that they will go into practice here.

  11. I'd never find anything, far too organized and clean! ;)

  12. I'm sorry hanno but that is a clean shed!!! I'd show you mine for comparison but I'm worried you'll keel over in shock.

    "Nature reserve" springs to mine.

    Thanks for the great tips, especially looking after wooden handled tools. Mine are showing signs of serious wear and need refinishing.

  13. betty r said
    "You are so right Rhonda, how can a workshop look 'picture perfect'?.."

    I'm betting that Hanno would disagree with that, and I know plenty of people who would agree. While they can look used during the day, workshops are usually incredibly clean & tidy at the end of the day. No one who cares about their workshop leaves it without cleaning up/sweeping up at the end of the day.

    Please thank Hanno for taking the time to write this post today, it's useful information.

  14. Tiddy is attractive. Congrats

  15. My DH cares for his tools the same way you do, Hanno! When we first got married, I found it quite comical how he would hose and wipe tools down and then carefully put them away. It works though. =) We've been married 13 years and his tools are still going strong. Many of them belonged to his grandfather.

  16. Thank you Rhonda and Hanno!
    I have been suggesting those little do as you go housekeeping ideas to my husband for years and sometimes end up doing them myself...he focuses on the job at hand ( and does a good job at the task itself) but does not like to spend additional time on the after steps.
    I had an elderly friend who told me to keep a bucket of sand with a little oil mixed in on hand, then after cleaning soil and debris off an item, to push shovels and hoes, blades of shears and the like into the sand after cleaning.This helps to keep the shovels and other things from rusting and there is so little oil in the mix it does not require cleaning off. I just hang them up and they are ready for use next time.
    Hanno's work area is the yellow rain slick on the wall.
    Hope your sister will find little damage to her house. glad you are taking care of yourself during this busy time.
    Have a wonderful week!

  17. All I can say is WOW! I love all the organization and cleanliness. Good Job! Thanks for the tips. If I could get my husband to follow along, it would be great.

  18. Uh oh, this is an area where I really need work. Besides that, although my garden/chicken areas look very neat and tidy for the most part, the area just outside the back door always looks a mess. The kids tend to leave their outdoor toys and miscellany lying around, and I haven't figured out how to properly use the hose reel. something we need to work on. Thanks for yet another informative post!


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