Monday, June 6, 2011

Sharpen Your Shovel

It's been a rainy Spring here in California, but we are NOT DISCOURAGED, faithful farmers! It has only given us time to get ultra-prepared for Summer gardening and get all of our tools sharpened, shiny and in gleaming shape. Yes, I did say sharpened. Does anyone ever think of sharpening their shovel? Well, we had to dig a ditch for some irrigation this weekend, and I can assure you this: The woman with the sharper shovel digs the deeper ditch.

What you will need: A flat bastard. I had to say that. I just had to!! (Did you know that's the name for a flat file?? I learned this from a man I know who has lots of tools). Actually any around-8-inch file will do, with a handle to protect your fingers. You'll also need som WD40 and some sandpaper.

How to sharpen your shovel: Are you excited? Doesn't it make you feel buff and outdoorsy to say "I'm about to sharpen my shovel." Ok, here goes. First, remove any rust with steel wool or a wire brush. Then find a way to clamp your shovel so the business end is in a position for easy filing. With a shovel this means you want the inside of the shovel UP. Then, take your file and place it at a 45 degree angle and make long, wide strokes, trying to cover about half the shovel each time. Only move in one direction. Don't dwell too long in one place. Keep your strokes even and long. Then switch sides. Go to town, brother! When you are done sharpening, turn the shovel over and notice the burr on the back of the shovel blade. This is the evidence of your shovel-sharpening prowess. Sand off the burr with sandpaper. Lastly, oil down that baby with some WD40 and you are ready to dig.

For your hands: While you're at it, and you've got the sandpaper out, sand the handle of your shovel too. It'd be a shame to slice through that butter-soft soil, only to get a nasty splinter.

Happy digging! Get those trees planted and the irrigation pipes in the ground.

With love, Farmer English

1 comment:

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