Tuesday, March 20, 2007

A super tool tip

I look forward to the local paper on Tuesdays, as that's when Henry Homeyer's column, Notes From the Garden, appears in the paper. Henry is my neighbor to the west from New Hampshire, so he knows cold-climate gardening, and this week his column covered sharpening gardening tools. Henry writes:
We wanted to restore the sharp bevel on the cutting edge of my by-pass pruners. It is important to sharpen a bevel at the proper angle, the angle set when it was manufactured. To sharpen the bevel evenly, and to follow the proper angle, start by taking a magic marker and coloring the bevel on the cutting edge of the blade. If you are doing the job correctly, your file strokes should remove the magic marker coloring evenly across the full width of the bevel as you work on it. If only a small portion of the blade turns shiny, you need to change the angle of your file slightly.

What a great tip! I've sharpened my pruners before, and always find it tricky to get the angle just right. I never would have thought of using a marker as a guide, but I know greatness when I see it! Thanks, Henry!


Steve said...

Interesting article in today's (3/21/07) WSJ (yes, they DO have a gardening columnist) by Jane Garmey. Subject was gardening in some rather impossible conditions; WW1 trenches, prison camps, ghettos and even in the 110 degree heat of an American base in Iraq. The fellow doing the research, a professor of landscape architechture named Kenneth Helphand, wrote a book about it called "Defiant Gardens" (Trinity Press).

I don't have a link to the story (being too cheap to lay out more money for a second copy of what I'm already paying for) but you can find the book on Amazon, I'd bet.

Renee said...

What a great tip. I've replaced the blade on my Felco when it finally got so dull it wouldn't cut anymore, and I just couldn't sharpen it worth a darn. Wish it were easier to find professional sharpeners for garden tools.