100 Days of Useful Homesteading Skills: Day 34 – Know How to Care for Your Tools

rope-wood-vintage-antique-retro-old-595542-pxhere.comThe handle on my favorite hammer just broke off and I’m heartbroken. I’ve never loved a tool more than I loved that thing, but it honestly needed a new handle about 5 years ago. I had cobbled it together so many times with screws, putty, and nails. It surprised me that the handle didn’t just come out where I’d cobbled it together, it just broke clean off under the head itself. The new handle won’t feel nearly as comfortable in my hand as the old one did.

Tools require care. They are prone to rust and may require sharpening from time to time. Most also have wooden handles that can split or break when left out in the weather. Chances are you already have several in poor shape.

There are many things you can do to improve the quality of your tools if you have already let them go a bit.

  • Get some rust remover and a metal wire brush to remove the rust.
  • You can choose to respray the metal with an anti-rust spray paint made for metal.
  • Get out your grinder, a sharpening stone, or a file and sharpen the edges of tools that need sharpening.
  • Check the wood handles for cracks and damage.
  • Purchase new handles for the tools that have missing or damaged handles.
  • Sand all the handles.
  • Seal the handles with oil, beeswax, or other natural product. Alternatively, use a polyurethane to seal (this will eventually peel off if left in the weather).
  • Wrap handles where your hand is likely to make contact with a stretchy foam or other material that will protect your hands.
  • Pick a spot to store the tools regularly and make a habit of returning them when work is done.

We have several storage areas for tools on our property. One is near our animal shelters. Another is in our storage shed. The last is near our garden in a garden shed. This decreases the chances that someone will take a tool to some spot on the property and leave it there for convenience’s sake.

What is your favorite farm tool and what do you do to take care of it?

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