For today’s lesson, we will venture to the Knight in Shining Armor’s workshop, where he loves to hang out when he’s in between dragon slayings.
The Knight says that rusty tools are bad. If not taken care of, they’ll just keep rusting. Rust is more than just nasty looking red stuff. It actually eats away at the metal itself. So he de-rustifies his tools, sharpens them, and then paints them to keep them from rusting again. The following tutorial uses a hoe, but most garden tools can be taken care of in the same way.
A nice sharp hoe is a good thing to have, especially if you are a kid that has been told to hoe five acres of beans. The Damsel shudders to think how daunting that task would be and suddenly understands why fighting dragons seems like no big deal to her Knight.
First, you must remove the rust from the surface of the tool. A kitchen scrub pad will work, or steel wool. Make it wet, and add a little dish soap.
Scrub the metal until the red rusty evilness is gone, and you’re down to bare metal. Rinse.
Next, if you’re the Knight, you sharpen the hoe on your bench grinder, because you have pretty much every power tool known to mankind and you might as well use them. Plus it makes pretty sparkles.
If you don’t have a bench grinder, you do it the old school way, which is to stroke a metal file at an angle across the edge of the hoe. Create a sloping knife edge along the front side of the hoe’s edge, then turn it and file it on the back side too, just a bit.
Here’s how that edge might look after you finish sharpening it:
Now git yourself some nice rust-inhibiting spray paint…choose a color that scares weeds…
and masking tape.
Mask off the hoe where the wood meets the tool’s business end.
Spray the metal in nice, even strokes. When it’s dry, remove the masking tape, and you’re done! The Knight in Shining Armor would like to mention that hoeing weeds is all about cutting the weeds’ tops from their roots, and you don’t have to cultivate the ground. You can if it makes you feel happy, but that’s sort of a different task. Take it from the boy who hoed 5 acres of beans and lived to tell about it.