How to clean your tools
With the tool lying on a firm surface, use a wire brush to remove large material from the blade or head, paying attention to the grooves and joins, especially where the head meets the handle.
Using a trade-quality coarse steel wool, clean the handle by lightly sanding it down. This will remove old varnish and smooth over any splinters in the timber.
Fill a deep builder’s bucket with clean, dry, fine sand, then drive the head of the tool into the sand repeatedly. This will work like fine sandpaper over the surfaces of the blade and remove muck and rust. Brush off any sand.
Use a steel file to remove any burrs from the blade edge and to lightly sharpen it. Don’t use an angle grinder, as this will heat the tool blade and affect the temper of the metal, making it more prone to bending, chipping or breaking.
Spray the blade using a rust protectant, then use a cloth to ensure it is spread evenly over the metal surface.
Use the cloth to remove any excess.
Treat the handle using a linseed oil preparation, then use a clean, lint-free cotton cloth to ensure it is spread evenly and no excess is left, as this can result in sticky spots on the handle.
TIP: We used aerosol linseed oil formulated for timber treatment. You can also use a mix of one part oil and one part turps.
Take care when using cloths that have been soaked with linseed oil, as they can spontaneously catch fire, even hours after use.
To avoid this risk, rinse the cloth in soapy water or lay it flat on a non-combustible surface and allow to dry before disposal.
Don’t leave cloths that have been soaked in linseed oil lying around balled or crumpled up, as this encourages ignition.