The long days of work and play in the warm sun are drawing to a close. Before we hang up our tools for the season, it’s time to care for them with the same loving attention given to gardens and woodland passion projects. Tools are an extension of our hands; they receive the brunt of the wear and tear we invoke. Just like our bodies they deserve a little restorative care every now and then. Leaving dried soil and plant material on the steel ends and wooden handles can cause rust and splitting over time. Caring for tools will help them maintain their quality for years to come.
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Here are three simple steps to care for and help maintain your Barebones wood handled tools.
1/ Scrape off dried dirt with a steel brush.
It’s important to clean off dirt and plant material after every use. There are millions of microorganisms and bacteria that live in the soil in addition to moisture. Leaving soil on the tool will cause the steel to rust and the wood to dry out or break down quickly. Avoid brushing bladed tools in order to preserve sharpness. Instead, opt for wiping the blade clean with a rag.
2/ Sterilize the steel ends with a damp rag and alcohol.
Clean tools in between use if they are used in different soil environments to reduce transporting soil-borne diseases from one location to another. Before storing tools for the off-season, sterilize them with alcohol to kill the bacteria. This will also prevent the steel from rusting overtime.
3/ Moisturize wooden handles with oil and protect with wood wax.
Moisturize dry wooden handles with wood oil or wood wax. A quick coating is all that is needed. Buff out the handle after coating to seal and protect the wood.
After cleaning and waxing tools, they are ready to be retired for the off-season. Thank these precious tools for helping us do what we love to do then kick up your heels and pat yourselves on the back for another season well lived.
Brianne Dela Cruz is a master gardener, wild forager, campfire foodie, and acclaimed writer and photographer. From her home in Salt Lake City, she teaches online gardening and foraging courses for modern folks and budding naturalists as well as hosts seasonal community gatherings. Brianne's blog and online school, Gather & Grow, is a community of folks exploring the intersection between nature and personal growth by discovering ways to slow down and nourish themselves with nature.