Hoes, shovels and other common garden tools often have wooden handles that
can deteriorate over time. Storing tools in a protected location can slow
that process, but normal use will still expose the tools to the elements.
The end of the season is a good time to clean up and protect the handles so
they will last for many years. Weathering can raise the grain of wood,
resulting in splinters. A light sanding can smooth the handle. Follow that
with a light application of wood preservative, linseed oil or polyurethane
to protect the wood. Wipe off any excess after a few minutes as oil-based
products can attract dirt. Cleaning any dirt off metal parts and coating
with a light application of oil can prevent rust. Good tools are expensive.
A few minutes of care after the season is over can help preserve them for
many years to come.
By: Ward Upham