Sharpening Tools :: How to Safely Sharpen Your Tools
There is no magic formula for having sharp, always ready tools. No matter the brand or warranty, a set of tools only has value if they are ready to use when you need them, and that requires maintenance and a little elbow grease. Behind even the handiest of people, there’s a great set of tools, ensuring that any project, no matter the scale, is that much simpler to tackle. Don’t wait to discover worn tools before starting a project or, worse, have them break down during use.
Whether it’s a trusty shovel or beloved gardening shears, a good sharpening will extend a tool’s life and save you money in the long run. By reducing effort and displaying consistent behavior, sharp tools are exponentially safer than their dull counterparts. Here are some simple tips that will bring your old tools back from the dead and keep new ones out of the grave.
Even the most dutiful person sometimes become lax when considering safety. But when sharpening tools, safety is essential.
- Having a good pair of goggles is a must. Goggles protect your eyes and face from any flying chunks of dirt and metal.
- Never wear neckties or loose shirts while sharpening, and keep long hair tied or confined to a ball cap. Hair and loose clothing could get caught during sharpening, causing serious injuries
- Wear gloves made out of thick, flexible fabric (i.e., leather). This prevents cuts on the hands.
Cleanliness is Just as Essential
The first step in sharpening your edged tool is to make sure that the blades are clean. Dirt on a blade can contain metal and moisture, which causes rust. Soap and water can be used to loosen most dirt, while a wire brush will remove rust. After cleaning and sharpening, make sure the blade is properly oiled to maintain sharpness and condition.
Watch the Angles
By design, the sharpening tools process removes the metal from a tool. With certain tools, a sharper blade isn’t always a better blade. Tools that have blades but aren’t designed to cut, like shovels or gardening hoes, are an example of this. If a blade is too blunt, then it won’t smoothly penetrate an object; and if too sharp, the blade will become weak, lasting only a few uses. This is why maintaining the blade angle, also known as a bevel, is crucial.
Tools to Sharpen Tools
While the tools that may need a good sharpening could be varied, the tools used to sharpen are not. Most likely some of these items you already own. But if you don’t, they can be purchased for a reasonable price at your local hardware store.
- Files: A metal file is mandatory for any tool owner. Files typically don’t come with an attached handle, so for better handling and control, purchase a handle as well.
- Vice or Clamp: Having a vice or a C-clamp is imperative to maintaining the bevel of your blade. These devices hold the tool in place, ensuring proper sharpening and removing the risk of a tool slipping and injuring someone.
- Grinding Wheel: Used for removing nicks or restoring a worn blade, a wheel should only be used for removing large amounts of metal. However be careful of flying sparks and over grinding, a grinding wheel can temper a blade to the point of uselessness.
Maintaining sharp, clean tools can be simple and easy. With a little extra effort, you can make sure you get the most out your tools. Remember, a sharp tool is a safe tool.
Shirley Moore is a freelance writer and a general contractor from Los Angeles, California. With over 10 years of professional experience in the industry, she has worked with many prestigious contracting businesses, including Contractors License Resource Group. She enjoys publishing work across news outlets around the world.