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Winter is Coming

Oct 18 2013

Now that the gardening season is coming to and end, there are some things you can do to make next years season a little more enjoyable. Before putting all those favorite tools to rest for the winter months, take time to clean all the dirt and grime off them. Look over the cutting or working edges and have the ones needing attention touched up. Lastly but just as important is to put a light layer of oil on the surface. This can be either a light weight oil or spray a little cooking oil on them. This will not only help keep the rust down, but will also make them easier to use next season.

If the working edge of the tools look rough or nicked up, don't replace them just yet. Have them sharpened. Many of these tools do not need to have a razor sharp edge, rather a clean square edge to perform at their best. Cleaning up the working edge will prevent the tools from becoming weak, as the edge will be more solid, helping to eliminate the bending of the shovel tip, or blade of your hoe. This is something that is often over looked and the cause of frustration when digging. The working blade should be a clean square line with a slight bevel.

Trimming tools are also something that tend to be overlooked. Cleaning the sap off them will help the blade slice through the smaller limbs and twigs much easier giving a nice clean cut that is less harmful to the plants. Again us a little oil on the metal parts to help keep them free moving, and hold off the rust. The blade should be free of nicks as well, with a nice clean cutting edge. These tools will have a much sharper edge to them to help slice into the stems rather than tearing them. If they seem to be hard to use bring them in and get them sharpened. Many times they only need a slight touch up and an adjustment to bring them back to useable condition.

With lawn mowers it is best to follow the manufacturers recommendations as the proper long term storage. The blade can be removed and sharpened if needed. The cutting edge should be free of deep nicks and dings, and be about as sharp as a butter knife. Although many people sharpen these themselves with a file, keep in mind that they also need to be balanced to not only cut properly, but to help hold down the wear on the shaft of the motor. An unbalanced blade will cause vibration in the mower and can bend the shaft causing expensive repairs or even premature replacement of the mower.

For those of you who enjoy doing a little ice skating, now is the time to check your skates. If you were a little wobbly last year, and blamed it on old age setting in, you might just need to have your skates sharpened. Hold a skate with the blade up and lay a flat edge across the blade. Hold this up to a light source and look down the edge of the blade. You should see light under the middle portion of the flat edge. If you don't, you will need to get these sharpened as well.

Once you have all your tools and skates sharpened, you can enjoy the winter months getting exercise on those skates, knowing that as soon as mother nature will allow it, you will be ready to make your yard one of the best looking in your neighborhood. 

Have a safe and enjoyable winter, and stay warm.

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