Garden tools have to stay sharp in order to work well. A dull blade will cause damage to plants and grass because of tearing that occurs, not to mention the extra effort you have to put into using it will make landscaping and gardening much less enjoyable.
Garden tools should cut plants cleanly with little force applied. If you start pushing harder, the dull edge could slip out and hurt you.
Don’t push your garden tools too far before sharpening them. It’s always a good idea to give them a quick sharpening each time you use them so that you never have any problems.
There are a few different ways you can go about sharpening your garden tools. The type of sharpener you use is going to depend on the size and type of garden tool you need to sharpen.
All of these methods take a reasonably short amount of time.
The only reason why it would take forever is if the blade is extremely dull or if you’re using something small like a mill file to sharpen a very large blade, like on a machine used to cut down large trees or to dig up tree trunks.
How to Sharpen Garden Tools
There are five main types of garden tool sharpeners that gardeners typically use.
You will find that a mill file can be used for sharpening almost anything, but there are alternative tools you can use for a faster and simpler sharpening process. You can find all of these sharpening tools at any hardware store as well as online.
Check out the links at the bottom of the article for pictures, information, and prices for the best garden tool sharpeners.
- Mill file
- Angle grinder
- Bench grinder
- Sharpening stone
- Diamond sharpening stone
A mill file is a long metal file used for a lot of grinding and handicraft purposes. One of its uses is to act as a sharpener for garden tools.
If you are sharpening a rather small tool, like shears or a trowel, using a file shouldn’t take any longer than a grinder.
However, large or exceedingly dull blades take a little more time. Mill files can sometimes do a better job at sharpening because they give you more control over the sharpening process, and you are less likely to damage the blade.
To use a mill file, you need to use both hands.
Place your writing hand on the handle of the file and your less dominant hand slightly pressed on the top of the file itself, towards the tip. This gives you more control over the filing motion.
Once you finish filing, put lubricant on the garden tool to prevent rust.
Use a mill file for sharpening small garden tools or lawnmower blades.
An angle grinder is a handheld grinder that has a round, textured disc that you can use for grinding or sharpening objects, including garden tools such as a shovel, garden hoe, axe, or lawn mower blade. When sharpening gardening tools, make sure you have the disc labeled “Grinding disc. For metal,” otherwise it won’t sharpen the blade properly.
How to Use an Angle Grinder to Sharpen a Shovel
- Put on protective eye goggles and take the necessary safety precautions.
- Use a vice or a heavy object to secure the shovel for sharpening.
- Turn the angle grinder onto the slow speed setting.
- Turn on the grinder. Move it in a sweeping motion across the edge of the shovel blade to sharpen it. Keep it at a 30-degree angle for the best results.
A bench grinder works for sharpening the same types of gardening tools that an angle grinder will sharpen, but with less convenience. A bench grinder sits on a flat surface; it’s not held in your hand like an angle grinder, so there is less mobility and control.
You can still get a good blade edge by using a bench grinder if you use it correctly. It isn’t typical to use a bench grinder for sharpening unless your garden tool is very dull. You can also use it to get nicks out of the surface of the blade.
How to Sharpen a Lawnmower Blade With a Bench Grinder
Using a bench grinder is simple. Put the mower blade against the grinder, matching the angle of the existing bevel.
Move the blade so that the entire length of it gets sharpened evenly. Continue grinding until the blade sharpness is satisfactory.
A dull mower blade can damage your lawn because it tears and pulls at the ends of the grass. For regular maintenance, sharpen your mower blade with a mill file but use the bench grinder again if a rock puts a large scratch or nick in the blade.
Sharpening stones are small and compact. Sometimes, it’s much easier to hold a sharpening stone than a file or a grinder.
It’s also more convenient to carry around. You can use on to sharpen knives, scissors, hedge shears, and chisels.
It generally won’t work as well for larger blades, but there are also sharpening stones that have diamonds in them that you can use. Diamond sharpening stones are a lot stronger and last a long time without wearing down.
Best Garden Tool Sharpeners to Buy
Best mill file: Corona Mill Bastard Cut File with Handle
Best angle grinder: Black + Decker Angle Grinder Tool
Best bench grinder: Dewalt DW756 6-inch Bench Grinder
Best sharpening stone: Whetstone 5000/10000 Grit Sharpening Stone
Best diamond sharpening stone: Sharpal 156N Diamond Whetstone Knife Sharpener