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How to Sharpen Your Tools at Home

You probably use several tools in and around the home that require sharpening from time to time. For example, maybe you have an axe that you use to chop firewood, or a lawnmower for keeping the grass short and tidy. Even something as simple as a spade can benefit from being sharpened.

Although it might be obvious that an axe needs to be sharp, you might not have ever considered sharpening your spade or the blades on your lawnmower. Nevertheless, there are a number of reasons why you should be doing this. Blunt tools require a lot more effort on your part. Moreover, because you need to use more force, the risk of the tool slipping becomes higher. This could result in a nasty accident. You might assume that a sharp tool carries more risk of injury – and they do if used incorrectly – but when the tools are sharp, they are easier to use.

Methods of Sharpening Tools

You can probably take your tools to be professionally sharpened, but if you have a vice and some simple tools, you can do it yourself at home.

If you have a metal hand file you can get started right away, but this method does require some effort. It is best to place the tool or the blade from the tool into a vice to keep it as still as possible as you sharpen. A large, flat or mill file is good for sharpening tools such as axes, spades, and shears. You can use a smaller file for smaller tools such as secateurs. The vice will enable you to get your tool into position at the angle that you want. This will then allow you to get a smooth result. It is best to sharpen away from you in long strokes.

An alternative to a hand file is an angle grinder. The good folk at Devour Tools say that there are special diamond metal blades that can be fitted to an angle grinder, and which are perfect for sharpening tools. Sharpening with an angle grinder is quick and effortless, but extra care must be taken because it can be dangerous if not done correctly. It is always important to make sure you are wearing full protective equipment when using an angle grinder. Be sure to cover your face and wear gloves too. Remember, it is natural for sparks to fly when grinding metal objects such as tools and blades, so always grind in a way that deflects sparks away from your body.

For the smallest garden tools or blades, a whetstone, or sharpening stone as it is also known, is ideal. Depending on the stone you have you will need to use water or oil with it. Some stones need to be soaked in water before use. The stone should be placed on a non-slip, flat surface before you start sharpening to prevent it from slipping. You can then rub the blade of the tool along the stone at an angle and away from you.


When using tools that have blades, it is always best to ensure they are kept sharp as this makes it easier to work with them and requires less force. Sharpening tools at home can be done with a variety of tools, including a whetstone, metal hand file, or an angle grinder.

Both the whetstone and the metal file require more effort than an angle grinder when it comes to sharpening tools, but an angle grinder is quicker and ensures a clean, sharp finish. Whichever method you choose though, it is important to stay safe and wear protective equipment.

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