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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Cleaning Garden Tools, Part 2

Part 2 of the garden tool maintenance was to protect the wood handles.  Most of my garden tools are old enough that the cheap wood finish is long since gone.  So I was dealing with bare wood.  I had thought I needed to paint them with wood sealant, but I have read that boiled linseed oil is a better choice.  No, you don't have to go boiling linseed oil yourself; you can buy it that way at the hardware store.  It will say "boiled" on the can. 

The directions said you could dilute it with up to 50% paint thinner for better penetration, so I did that.  I'll repeat the process using undiluted boiled linseed oil tomorrow after the diluted application dries.

I found that a piece of old cotton undershirt was a good applicator.  And, though I wasn't worried about the linseed oil (its made from flax seed), the paint thinner can be a skin irritant so I wore latex gloves.

Since the gloves were immediately wet and I didn't feel like taking them on and off, I don't have pictures of the actual application.  Fortunately, rubbing a wood pole with a wet cloth is a reasonably obvious process.  ;)

So I'll show a couple of "after" pictures.  Give the linseed oil 24 hours to dry.  The wet rag can self-combust if wadded up and thrown away, so I spread it out outside on a cinder block.  Same with the latex gloves, "just in case".
Note that the wood on some of the tools is much darker than on others.  The more old unfinished wood, the more of the linseed oil was absorbed, so the darker it is.   I assume that if you see the tools of an old gardener and they are deep brown smooth wood, they have been lovingly-maintained.  Mine will never look like that, but I'll try to do this each year from now on.
These ones were all purchased about the same time, so the degree of darkness probably shows which ones I've used the most (wearing off the original finish).  Well, it could also reflect the quality of the original factory finish...

Since the undiluted 2nd application has nothing new involved, just consider that done tomorrow.  Friday, sharpening and oiling...

1 comment:

William said...

My mom loves the smell of linseed oil, something to do with peaceful summer days filled with (oil) paint-by-number kits when she was a kid.