Gardening where the sidewalk ends

Tool Abuse February 17, 2009

Filed under: tools — greenwalks @ 1:37 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Every year, I read the seasonal reminders in gardening columns to sharpen and oil my tools, and what is my response? To leave them out on the porch for yet another season and trust that their sturdiness will outweigh my neglect.

My mother gifted me some really spiffy tools when I was just getting started in the garden. A couple of sturdy Corona trowels (red handles, so harder to lose in the garden),

Corona trowels

some big ol’ loppers, a collapsible pruning saw and, best and fanciest of all, some Felco No. 2 hand pruners.

I should take better care of these special tools, and yet I find myself not doing so. What is wrong with me? Is there a gene for people who properly look after their tools, and I have failed to inherit it?

Felco No. 2's

Poor tools, I feel sorry for them that they had to come and live with me. They are likely to have a hard life, full of usefulness but appreciated only in thought, not in deed. How about you, do you care for your tools in practice or only in your heart?


11 Responses to “Tool Abuse”

  1. Catherine Says:

    I don’t have that gene either. My tools are abused! I have never been good about sharpening them or any other special care. I’m always surprised at how well mine hold up for all I put them through. I was using lopers yesterday and used my body weight to force them to cut. I really should be nicer to them πŸ™‚

  2. Please don’t feel bad–in fact, now that I’ve read your post, I’m feeling much better! I have never taken care of my tools and put them away w/dirt on them all the time! They get left out sometimes, and I’ve been known to replace clippers every year because I’m so bad with them. I guess that’s why I’d never buy a hugely expensive, well-known brand:)

  3. Depends on the tool, really. Some, I believe, kind of like it out there in the elements. Think of wild horses…

    Others need to be cosseted and should be.

    Garden tools = tough, rough, and ready to go.

    woodworking tools = cosseting. (They even have their own special handmade toolbox.)

    That’s my opinion, and I’m sticking to it. πŸ˜‰

  4. annetanne Says:

    Neither did I inherit that gene…

  5. Michelle Says:

    I’ve not got that gene either. In fact, I also lack a gene for putting my clippers, gloves, etc. where I can find them. It’s like reading glasses (oh no, I’m showing my age here), I have multiples of all the above so I can (maybe) find one when I need it.

  6. GardenJunkie Says:

    You mean we’re supposed to clean them, sharpen them, and put them away some place dry and safe?? Somehow I never seem to get around to doing that… Mine invariably end up exactly where I drop them. I see it as a time-saving efficiency – makes it easier to start gardening again the next day πŸ™‚ I’ve even had a pair of pruners emerge from the snow one spring and they were perfectly fine (although a little rusty). The one time I sharpened a shovel, it broke in half the next time I used it (although I don’t think that had anything to do with the sharpening).

  7. Grace Says:

    The only time I care for my tools is when I need to. When they get stiff, WD-40 to the rescue. If they get dull, I’ll sharpen the blade. My tools are all very cheap so I don’t worry about replacing them if need be. I’d rather spend money on plants. Great question and great post, as always.

  8. Megan Says:

    I go to the trouble of buying sharpening stones and oil, but I never use them. Hopeless.

  9. Sue Says:

    When my tools get left out, it’s not on purpose, but they do get left out. They spend the winter either in the garage or a yard tool holder in the car port our daughter got for her dad for Fathers’ Day one year.

    My husband made a wooden box that has sand and oil in it that I’m supposed to dip my tools in after each use, but it only gets done on occasion.

    Some of my watering cans got left out over the winter, instead of in the garage, like we usually do. I hope they still hold water.

  10. Melanthia Says:

    Wait, we’re supposed to clean and sharpen?

  11. My chainsaw usually stays in the toolbox. The main pruning tools for my use in the landscape are the Corona / Felco handpruner secateurs that have lasted from 1985, and a Silky Zubat handsaw. Those are two of the best pruning tools available.

    Rarely is a lopper needed, and the pruning is streamlined due to the quality and sharpness. I use loppers at ground level for suckers. And a mini-lopper from Felco for apple watersprouts in the winter to easy my hands.

    Mine get lubricated and sharpened as needed. That means less strain on the tool too. Maybe why mine last for decades like the hand pruners.

    Linseed oil is awesome for wood handles.

    MDV / Oregon

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s