Oxygen and water, two of the most plentiful substances on earth, found in the air – in our seas and in our bodies. However, for all their life-giving properties, these components can be an ever-present menace in our homes through the twin dangers of corrosion and rust.
Most susceptible to the weakening and degradation caused by these menaces are our garden tools. Often locked away in storage, and only used on occasion., We can often find a once sharp pair of garden shears dulled or a trusty socket wrench is worn away and weakened with time.
The question of how to prevent rust and inhibit corrosion in these tools is a pressing one, So we’ve compiled a handy guide on garden tool storage and maintenance for longest use.
When deciding the best methods for garden tool storage there are a few major considerations to be kept in mind.
Off The Floor
It is important to store garden tools away from the ground; concrete and wood are often susceptible to moisture from the earth and atmosphere. Reacting with any metal pieces over a prolonged period of time can cause havoc. For smaller storage areas, we recommend investing in a good pegboard. This will benefit your garden tool storage by making tools easily accessible whilst keeping them off the floor. as few points of contact as possible.
Any enclosed space can be an incubator for damp conditions in order to prevent this, you need to take steps to proof your tools and atmosphere against moisture. For example, toolboxes and other hard metallic cases for smaller tools will keep them from the worst effects of the atmosphere, whereas power tools should be kept stored in their original packaging, to seal them off against moisture in the air.
You might also want to invest in temperature and climate controls for your garden tool storage. storage space, to keep the air dry and cool in order to protect against degradation dehumidifiers are perfect for this.
Prevention is the Best Cure
Often times the bulk of the work involved in garden tool storage takes place before they’re locked away. Most experts recommend that before you put away your metallic tools for an extended period of time, you take each individual tool and wipe it down thoroughly with a cloth, to clear away any moist residue.
Let them sit, to air out and dry before spraying each tool individually with a corrosion inhibitor such as WD-40. The lubricant acts as a film protecting sharp blades, and metallic surfaces against humidity whilst preventing future rust.
Upkeep and Maintenance
Garden Tools are stored year-round whilst their uses are usually confined to the seasons. Leaf blowers for the autumn, winter tools for the snow and others for the spring and summer. In order to maintain effectiveness and protect against the dangers of rust and corrosion vigilance is needed.
For example, a handy tip for smaller garden tools is to fill a large earthen pot with clean dirt and then spray this down with WD-40, once you’ve coated the dirt liberally. Drop-in any tools susceptible to corrosion or rust, this will prevent any such build-up and make for easy continued cleaning. All that’s required is that you take the pot out of its storage place every so often and wipe the tools down with a dry cloth. It even works as a handy shovel stand.
Maintaining the integrity of tools used to cut, slash and shear is a big concern, there are few things more frustrating than needing to get rid of a bothersome branch, or needing to dig a hole and then having your tools prove blunt and ineffective.
For larger tools, a mill file is an implement for the job, easily purchased at any hardware store. These can be purchased along with an easy-to-use handle. Secure your tools against a stable surface, find the best angle to cut the blade. And work at it, until the edge starts to gleam anew.
Smaller tools can be sharpened using small diamond stones; these have alternatively coarse and fine edges, the former for sharpening the blade and the latter for shaping the sharpened edge. The process is very much similar. Making sure the smaller instrument is on a surface with good friction, then using the rougher stone at the correct angle to sharpen until a new blade shines through. After which it can be honed using the fine edge of the stone.
For clippers and shears, and any other tool with complex moving parts we recommend lubricating well, using WD-40 to prevent these mechanisms from seizing up or rusting. As a sharp blade is only as good as its handle.
Often subject to splintering and cracking, these implements have to be with cared for to prevent them from breaking with time and wear. The first step is cleaning your tool thoroughly with a wire brush, rubbing away any accumulated dirt or grease there. The next step is sanding down your rough or flaking wooden handles with a medium to high grit sandpaper, protecting you from future splinters.
As with all other garden tools, the main danger here is water damage, moisture easily gets into woodworking it apart from the inside. Once again a healthy application of WD-40 can act as a corrosion inhibitor, shielding the newly sanded wood from atmospheric effects.
Due to being electrical in nature with many small moving parts these tools are often harder to care for. One of the main pieces of maintenance you can carry out for several power tools is replacing the carbon brushes which act as conductors for these small, powerful motors. If your tool is starting to spark and seems to be losing power, it’s a good bet that these brushes are being ground down.
To replace these brushes, firstly find where they’re housed on your machine. This will usually be under two black cap covers on either side of the device. Clean away any accumulated dust around these, and then use a screwdriver to carefully loosen each cap. As these are usually attached with a spring mechanism, it’s recommended that you secure manually before unscrewing. You can then easily pull out each brush, before using a small vacuum to clean inside its empty compartment. Replacement brushes can be easily purchased from the manufacturer of your power tool.
Once again make sure to use WD-40 to lubricate any moving parts, preventing rust and seizure, before storing away.
Understanding how to care for, and store your various garden tools is a skill which serves you well every year. With changing seasons and requirements, you can rest secure in the knowledge that with your new skills and the help of WD-40 you can prevent rust and corrosion from breaking down your tools, before their time.