Gardening advice
Sharpening cutting tools : hooks, scythes, hatchets and axes

Sharpening cutting tools : hooks, scythes, hatchets and axes

Why do cutting tools need sharpening  and how to do it?

First of all, when making a purchase, choose tools with a sharp blade, ready for use. Do not compromise on quality. It is true to say that it is almost impossible to give back the right profile of blade to a badly-made axe or scythe unless you are specially trained.

Finally, and although it may seem a paradox, using a tool which cuts badly is more dangerous because it takes twice as much energy and soon becomes tiring. It is preferable therefore to learn to sharpen your tools and to force yourself to do it regularly !

Remember to sharpen your tools after every use

It is a lot easier to sharpen a cutting tool just after every use than to wait until it does not cut at all. In the first case, it will take you little time and effort. Whereas in the second case, the job will be a lot more difficult.

The right gesture for sharpening

Sharpening is always done with a file or a steel from the inside towards the outside and on both sides. Follow the original angle to be most effective.

At the end of the operation, remove the slight burr which forms at the end of the cutting edge with  a straight stroke with the file.

Tip for sharpening

Before starting, colour the part needing sharpening with a black permanent marker and sharpen until all trace of the marker has been removed from the blade.

Do not use a grinding machine for sharpening

We do not advise you to use a grinding machine for sharpening your cutting tools, because there is a risk that it will overheat the metal and therefore remove the hardness obtained during heat treatment. There are very effective sharpeners on the market, specially adapted to cutting tools.

Once sharpened, your cutting tools demand precise use

Using cutting tools requires calm and common sense, positioning yourself in such a way so that if the blade should slip or rebound, it will not hit the user.

If tool is stuck in the wood, above all do not hit the socket with an axe or a hatchet (with a sledge hammer or a maul) because there is a risk of metal splinters and of breaking the tool.

And of course, before and during use of any tool, it is indispensable to wear goggles, gloves, appropriate protective clothing and to ensure that there is enough space and that any other people in the immediate vicinity is equipped with the above mentioned protections.