How To Restore Wooden Garden Tool Handles

Last Updated on June 16th, 2023

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It is common knowledge that wooden handles age and are exposed to the elements, and they begin to fade and become prone to splintering if not taken care of.

Therefore, the first step to restoring any garden tool handle will be to sand the wood until the surface is smooth and all leftover finish is removed.

This will open the wood to accept the oil or sealant; applying the first coat will be followed by a light sanding to remove any raised splinters and additional coats until completely sealed. This should be done about once every two years if stored properly after each use.

Persons foot pressing a shovel into the ground - How To Restore Wooden Garden Tool Handles?

Is Linseed Oil Good for Wooden Handles?

One of the most beneficial things a gardener can do is to apply linseed oil to the yard tool’s wooden handles. Here are just a few of the benefits of having your wooden items treated with linseed oil:

  • Being an all-natural product, this oil will preserve and protect while giving consistent waterproofing without toxins or poisonous chemical additives. Good news for animal owners and plant growers alike.
  • The coverage provided is stretchable and elastically inclined, making for a durable barrier between the wood and the working area elements.
  • Extremely easy to apply, the choice is up to the owner on whether to heat treat the wooden handles or to simply apply room temp oil with a simple rag.


How Do You Clean it?

Wooden handles will have dirt and other grime from simple use in the garden and elsewhere. An excellent first step would be to raise the handle off in the water, using a simple sponge and soap to get any dirt free from the surface of the wood.

After that, if it is needed, use more potent cleaning agents to remove any stubborn stains or trouble areas. This step will ensure the integrity of the refinishing will be top-level and hopefully provide one to two years’ worth of protection.


How Long Does it Take to Do it?

This will depend on the tools and materials used to rework the surface of the wooden handle, and the simple tools will take a person a few days to complete the process.

In addition, Linseed oil takes time to dry, after the first application it will be advisable to let it dry for a few hours or even a total of 24 hours if time permits.

Overall, a person restoring their wooden tool handles should expect to make this project a multi-day affair and take their time to ensure the best possible quality seal. Doing so can only help the durability of the tools being treated.


Are there Any Techniques you Need to Know?

There will be many different opinions and arguing points on the proper way to restore wooden handles. The first steps will need to include stripping the old finish and sanding the wood until the surface is smooth and splinter-free.

The application of sealant or oil comes down to preference, and there are some woodworkers that will stand using heated linseed oil, while others say that simple room-temperature applications will be just as practical.

There is going to be proof of quality refinishing in using both techniques, which only speaks to the quality of linseed oil’s effectiveness as a wood-preserving sealant.


Common Mistakes you Need to Avoid

People make many mistakes every day, and the most common one is leaving tools out in the elements. It is so easy just to set the rake up against the tree when done or to place the hoe up against the fence after working in the gardens for a while.

The best practice, especially concerning the longevity and durability of the wooden handle, would be to put away tools after each user in a storage place dry and safe from the elements.


Final Thoughts on How to Restore Wooden Garden Tool Handles

There are more wooden tool handles than there are people on this planet, which can only mean there is an abundance of those needing resurfacing and some TLC.

The truth is that most wooden handles can last for decades if adequately tended to; this means being put away after each use and annual maintenance such as resealing with linseed oil after a good sanding.

These sorts of practices will ensure that later generations that follow you will be able to use the same tools you did and, with a bit of luck, remember you each time they reach for the wooden handle.

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