Caring for Your Knives and Yard Tools

Urban Farmer’s Almanac

Knife Sharpening

Caring for Your Knives and Yard Tools

We all know that person who has owned the same yard tools and knives for decades – maybe longer. What’s their secret? It all comes down to maintenance, usage, and sharpening.

Knife Care

Whether you buy an expensive set of knives or not, there are things you can do to improve the longevity of your utility and kitchen cutlery.

Hone Every Week: Most kitchen knife sets come with a textured steel rod. This rod is not designed to sharpen your knives, but it will help keep their edge.

To use the honing rod, hold it vertically with the tip pointed down and firmly placed on a cutting board. Now, hold the knife horizontally at a 20-degree angle against the top of the rod. Next, draw the blade down and across the rod two to three times on each side.

Sharpen Annually: If your knife won’t cut paper easily, it could be time to sharpen your knives. There are plenty of options, including stone and electric sharpeners. We’ll cover more on that in a bit.

Cut Properly: Chopping will dull your knives. Instead, try rocking or sliding your knife as you cut.

Hand Wash: Dishwashers are essential household tools, but they will ruin your knives. Wash them by hand with warm, soapy water and dry them completely before storing.

Store Separately: Don’t throw your knives in with the spatulas or silverware. Instead, use a knife block, magnetic board, or dedicate a drawer to your knives. For utility knives, be sure to separate them from your other tools and gear.

Yard Tool Maintenance

Buying tools for life isn’t impossible. It’s just a matter of properly maintaining those tools each time you use them.

Store Safely: Don’t leave your tools exposed to the elements. Store them carefully in a shed, your garage, or a tool storage unit.

Clean Often: Thoroughly clean your tools after each use. Wipe off handles and get all of the dirt and other debris off the blades to avoid rust and other issues. For added longevity, rub the metal and unpainted wood portions of your tools with linseed oil after cleaning. This will help prevent rust and keep the wood from splintering and cracking. If your tools are stainless steel, there’s no need to add the oil. Use a varnish or matching paint wherever you see excessive wear on stained or painted wood handles.

Sharpen Annually: Whether it’s an axe, shovel, lawnmower blade, or pruning tool, a sharp tool is a useful tool. Most tools require a file for proper sharpening. Handheld and electric sharpeners are also options.

Choose Your Sharpener

Whether you’re sharpening an axe or a knife, there’s a sharpener that’s perfect for the job. Those include stones for the old-school aficionado, files for larger outdoor tools, handheld guided sharpeners for quick and cost-effective sharpening on the go, as well as kits and electric sharpeners.

One of the best for almost any tool is from Lansky. Most kits come with everything you need. Just put your knife into the clamp, assemble the hones, and start sharpening. Or try an electric Work Sharp knife and tool sharpener. These American-made machines take the guesswork out of sharpening your knives and tools with flexible, abrasive belts and precision sharpening guides.

Stay Sharp at Coastal

We have everything you need to keep your pocketknives, kitchen knives, camping knives, arrows, hatchets, shovels, and machetes razor sharp. Need a new set of knives or tools? We can help there too. Just tell us what you’re looking for when you walk in and we’ll show you where to look.

Coastal Tips

  • Avoid scraping the edge of any knife across any surface, including cutting boards. This can dull your knife and cause chips. Instead, use the back of the knife to scrape food into the sink off a cutting board.
  • Choose a wooden or polyethylene cutting board. It will help keep your knives from going dull.
  • Don’t use the dishwasher to clean your knives or other tools. The harsh chemicals will degrade the metal and other portions of the knife.

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