How to Sharpen Garden Tools | A Well Researched Guide from Expert’s


Sharpen your garden tools is one of the most important things that you can do to make your gardening work more accessible and more enjoyable. Why? Why? Because a sharp knife cuts faster and more accurately than a dull tool! You can use a blunt instrument, and many people do. But a robust tool will make your work easier and more enjoyable. This article will show you how to use a simple sharpening tool to sharpen garden tools like weeding spades and weeding hoes.

How to sharpen garden tools

Before we start, one last thought, If you have ever felt intimidated by the idea of sharpening your tools, don’t worry. I was once a gardener, and I know many other gardeners who were. It’s normal to be nervous if you’ve never tried it before. You won’t cause any permanent damage by sharpening your file. In fact, you don’t have to make a razor-sharp edge of being successful. You can use decent acidity. However, it is worth learning how to sharpen garden tools. This will prepare you for sharpening more complicated tools like axes and pruners.

Check out: How to sharpen loppers

Clean your tool 

Before sharpening, rinse off any grease or dirt from the tool head. Filled files will be clogged by oil, dirt, and sap and cause more work. You can remove fat and fluid by rubbing alcohol. If you have used water to clean your head, be sure to dry it. You can file off light surface rust easily with a wire brush or sandpaper. However, you might want to save your file by removing any thicker rust. You can soak a tool with heavy rust in white vinegar overnight. You can easily remove the rust with a rag.

Choose the correct file

There are many options for sharpening files. There are three common grades: bastard (coarse), smooth cut (OK), and second cut (medium). Sometimes, you may be given both single- and double-cut files. Single-cut files are used to cut teeth in one direction. Double-cut files are those that have the teeth arranged in a single order. Double-cut files are fast and can remove metal quickly. They leave a rough cutting edge which is best for repairing dull or damaged blades.

A single-cut file is the best option in most cases. A single-cut file measuring 8-12 inches long is recommended for sharpening garden tools. It can be used with bastard or second-cut coarseness. Although a bastard file is faster to cut, I prefer the smoother edges of a second file. A double-cut file is a great tool to have in your toolbox if you need to repair devices manually. This will save you time and effort. We offer some nice sharpening files here, but they are also readily available in hardware stores. If the file doesn’t have one, you can purchase a handle.

Protect your tool 

It is a good idea to have the tool sharpened at all costs. A bench vise is a great tool, but you can also use clamps to secure your devices to a solid surface. The ideal height to use the tool is approximately the same height as your elbow when you bend your arm. You’ll be able to use both your hands to hold the tool in place. This will give you greater control and strength. You will need to have the device with one hand and keep the file on the other. It is possible, although it may not be ideal. Long-handled tools can be sharpened by placing the handle end on the ground. You can hold short-handled tools under your knees with the head of the device resting on your opposite thigh. It is essential to reduce unwanted movement as much as possible.

Sharpening stroke 

Keep your knees bent and your feet about shoulder-width apart. If you are a lefty, it might be worth putting your left foot forward. Your results will be better if you’re more balanced and solid. Place the tip of your file on the left edge of the tool’s cutting edge. Look at the angle of the slope on the blade. Tilt your file to match it. You can adjust it later. With slight downward pressure, move the file up and across the cutting edge towards the right.

If you are a lefty, you will push across to the left. Your second hand should rest at the top of the file. This will help maintain your angle while maintaining downward pressure. Keep your elbows and wrists straight and move towards the hips and shoulders. This will produce a consistent result. Keep moving forward and across until the bottom (or heel) of the file.

To prevent accidental slippages, it is a good idea to have a glove on your dominant handed if you are a beginner. Keep in mind that you are striving for a cutting-edge edge. A single stroke might be enough to reach the right edge of the blade if it is very short. To sharpen the entire length of the blade, most tools will require you to make multiple strokes. Your first stroke is the most important. Lift Place the file in a new position.

Take a look at your angle

This is the right time to evaluate your angle. Put aside your file and examine the blade in a good backlight. While a bevel gauge (shown below) is helpful, it is not necessary. The angle provided by the manufacturer is usually acceptable, and you just need to follow it. The shiny new metal should match your original bevel.

For example, if you see new metal at or near the top of your angle but not below the cutting edge, either drop your hand when filing or continue sharpening at this angle until you reach that cutting edge. If you see new metal at your cutting edge but not at the top, you will need to slightly raise your hand when filing. For soil-working tools, a bevel angle of 35 degrees is an ideal angle. The edge is thicker than usual, making it more robust and less likely to chip or roll. Once you have determined your angle, continue filing until you see shiny new metal down to the cutting edge.

Time you need to finish

Continue filing until you feel a burr at the back of the cutting edge. A burr is also known as a wire edge. It’s a small, folded piece of metal that forms on one side of the border that you are filing. It can be felt by moving your fingers along the blade’s back in a “come here” motion. This tells you that you have sharpened the tool to the cutting edge. Place the file flattened against the blade on the opposite end of the blade to remove the burr. Then, use light pressure to pull the file back towards you. The burr will be removed, and the cutting edge will remain smooth. It’s OK to feel some burrs, but it is not essential. Congratulations!

How to sharpen a spade shovel

  • Use steel wool or wire brush to remove rust and dirt from the blade.
  • You will file from the spade’s beveled edge.
  • Use a clamp or C-clamps to hold the spade in position. Keep the beveled side of the spade visible. You can save the spade handle in your lap if you don’t have a vise or another person to hold it in place.
  • Use the bevel angle to guide you as you run a flat-file down or up the spade’s blade. Use the entire length of the file to press the file down on forwarding strokes. The backstroke should be light and gentle. To sharpen the file evenly, orient the file to its teeth at 45 degrees to the edge.
  • A sharp but durable edge can be achieved by sharpening a spade to create a shine. You can feel a burr on your blade by continuing to run the file along the edge of it.
  • To remove any burrs caused by the filing, rub 300-grit sandpaper or another similar sandpaper along the blade’s edge. Burr is an edge that is too thin to resist the pressure of a file. You should feel no burr if you gently rub your hands across the blade in a perpendicular motion to the edge. Continue to sand until there is no more burr. If you don’t have any sandpaper, lightly and gently pass the file across the blade’s face.
  • Apply a thin oil layer to the blade. This prevents the formation of rust.


I hope you find this article about how to sharpen garden tools useful. A sharp tool is safer, easier to use, and more precise than a dull one. (Dull tools can be unpredictable). According to Abe Lincoln, “Give me six hours to cut down the tree, and I’ll spend four sharpening my ax.” After you experience the joy of using a sharp, well-maintained instrument, you won’t go back to dull ones.

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