How To Keep Your Tools Sharp – Handyman Guide

Sharpening instruments are among the most important Handyman near me tools in your workshop because they make all your other tools work better.


These come as natural quarried stones, or as specially made abrasive stones designed for different purposes. Sharpening stones should be treated with a light, free flowing oil to float away fine steel particles and prevent them clogging the stone, and to provide a faster, cleaner sharpening action. The stone should be kept clean and moist and given a light coating of oil before use. A new stone should be soaked in oil for a few days before use. Keep in a box with a closed cover and a few drops of fresh clean oil left on the stone. Coarse grained natural stones should be used with plenty of water. Medium and fine rained natural stones require oil because water is not thick enough to keep steel particles out of the pores of the stone.

Choose the right stone for the job.


Screwdriver – use a combination stone (one with coarse and fine faces). Keep the two faces of the blade parallel and carefully shape the bottom of the blade square.

Chisels – woodworking chisels require a fine, long lasting cutting edge, which must be square. Use a combination stone, starting with the coarse side to quickly develop the desired edge bevel then finish with the fine side. Always move chisel back and forwards in a figure eight pattern utilizing all of the stone. This will ensure that you don’t wear a “hollow” into the stone.

Axe – use a special axe stone to give the edges of the axe a bevel, continuing the oval form of the blade. Lay the axe flat on the edge of a bench and move the sharpening stone in a circular motion from end to end of the blade. Turn the axe over frequently while sharpening.

Garden shears – sharpen on a medium stone, stroking the edge bevel from point to heel. Turn over and repeat on the other blade.

Carving knife – use a long butchers style sharpening steel with long strokes, swinging the blade from the hilt of the steel to the tip in curving movements, alternating both sides of the blade.

Kitchen knife – use a circular motion on both edges of the blade. Use a special kitchen sharpener.

Scissors – use a combination stone placed near the edge of a flat surface so one blade hangs clear. Grasp near the middle and place cutting edge on stone at a slight diagonal. Tip blade towards the bevel. Draw the cutting edge against the stone diagonally the length of the stone start with coarse then use fine edge stone.


Files are used for shaping and smoothing metal. When filing, grasp the handle in one hand and the tip in the other. Since the file cuts as it moves forward, lift it slightly on the back stroke to preserve the teeth. File with the whole length of the file. File spades, shovels and hoes using a diagonal motion against the edge bevel until enough metal is removed from the blunt edge so the tool will dig into the earth with minimum effort. Rotary lawn Mower blades can also be filed to remove nicks and restore the original bevel. To file, remove the blade and grip in a vice. Clippers and shears can have the edge restored by stroking the file forward along the blade, going from the heel all the way to the tip.

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