1. Restore & extend
Give new life to tools by sanding down wooden handles until smooth. Soak a cloth in boiled linseed oil and coat handles. Let dry for a few hours, then wipe with a clean cloth. Rags soaked in linseed or other oil must be laid out flat or hung on a line to dry, otherwise they may spontaneously combust. Ensure they’re completely dry (at least a day or two) before throwing out.
2. Stand proud
Long-handled tools, such as rakes and shovels, usually end up stacked against each other in the corner of the shed, gathering dirt and dust. But here’s how to fix that! Cut 40mm PVC pipes into 120mm lengths, using a mitre box to form a 45-degree angle at one end (the longest dimension will be at the back). Drill 5mm holes through back of pipes, then screw to a sheet of timber in two rows (see picture, below). Screw assembly to the studs or plug into a brick wall, allowing for a 200mm space below for sweeping.
3. Store & go
Here’s a nifty idea to keep small items like nails and loose irrigation bits together. Screw lids of old glass jars to the underside of a long shelf. Attach to wall, place all your little pieces in jars and twist onto lids.
4. Keep them sharp
Maintaining the sharpness of your pruners, shovels and shears will make them more effective and safe. Soak a cloth in warm, soapy water and use to remove any residue from the blades. Dry, then run a file or whetstone over the blades. Once sharpened, wipe with a rag and oil the blades.
5. Clean & sand
Don’t forget the small tools – trowels, forks and spades need attention, too. Clean gently with a wire brush. Fill a small trough with dry sand and drench in oil (such as used motor oil). Immerse metal ends in sand-oil mix – this will protect them,
as well as prolonging their life.
6. Lawnmower fixes
The mower is one investment you don’t want to always be replacing. For a long life, service regularly following this checklist:
- Wash and wipe down body.
- Replace the paper air filters, or if you have a foam filter, clean it with hot, soapy water and allow to dry. Saturate filter with engine oil before replacing.
- Check oil and top up if needed. Once a year, drain oil and replace.
- Change spark plugs annually.
- Inspect the blades. If they are badly damaged or blunt, take the mower to the shop to have them professionally replaced.