Jobs for December

Clean, sharp tools last longer and work more effectively, but it can be tricky to keep them in tip-top condition when they’re being used every day. So take the opportunity during the quieter months to give your tools an annual service.

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1. Brush off dried soil with a stiff brush, then wipe handles and metal with a damp cloth to give them a thorough clean. Remove any rust with wire wool. Allow to dry thoroughly.

2. Sharpen the cutting edge of hoes, spades and lawn edging tools with a flat engineer’s file. Carefully wipe sharpened metal blades with either vegetable oil or WD-40.

3. Take apart secateurs and sharpen using a whet stone lubricated with oil. If the blades can’t be removed use a sharpening stone designed for pen knives.

4. Wipe wooden spade shafts and handles with a cloth soaked in linseed oil. This will make the wood look less dry.

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