Before you go into hibernation spend a few minutes taking care of your tools. These three tips will keep them in great shape to give you another year’s worth of work.
- Find an old pot or bucket large enough to hold all of your metal blade tools. Fill it with sand and mix lubricating oil (such as WD-40 or vegetable oil) in with the sand until the mixture is moist. Grab your tools and use a putty knife or some steel wool to remove large clumps of caked mud from the blades.
- Put your tools into the sandy mix. All your metal tools can go in here – spades, shovels, trowels, pitchforks. Place the pot or bucket, with all the tools in it, in a cool, dry place for the winter and let the mix do its thing. To keep the wooden handles from splitting and drying out during the winter rub them with linseed oil before putting them away.
- When spring has sprung remove the tools from the mixture and wipe the blades with a piece of burlap or coarse cloth.
If you don’t want to overwinter your tools you can put them in the mixture over the course of the Fall and then polish with the burlap and hang for storage. The mixture is helpful, particularly for rust-prone tools. After use, rinse with water and dry. Then put the tools in the mixture. The sand will scour the surface and the oil will retard rust.