Clean and sharpen your se­ca­teurs

These trusty cut­ting tools are a gar­dener’s best friend – as long as you keep them sharp. Rachel Brown, gar­dener for the Na­tional Trust, shows how it’s done

Garden Answers (UK) - - Contents -

These trusty tools are a gar­dener’s best friend – but only if they’re sharp

1 UNSCREW THE SE­CA­TEURS Use a screw­driver to loosen the se­ca­teurs, then unscrew the bolt on the op­po­site side so they can be sep­a­rated into con­stituent parts: han­dles, cogs and blades.

2 LAY THE PARTS OUT IN OR­DER Keep the parts in se­quence, run­ning left to right, show­ing how they fit back to­gether to re­mind you which bits go where. Try not to lose the spring, which can roll away. 3 WET THE SHARP­EN­ING STONE Dampen the whet­stone by soak­ing it in wa­ter for a few min­utes. The wa­ter com­bines with par­ti­cles re­leased from the stone to form an abra­sive sur­face. 4 GIVE THE BLADE AN INI­TIAL WIPE Wipe any grit or de­bris off the blade be­fore sharp­en­ing. A just-damp piece of pa­per towel or cloth should eas­ily re­move sap or soil from the blade. 5 SHARPEN THE CUT­TING EDGE Place the stone on a non-slip base and sweep the blade slowly along the stone at an an­gle of ap­prox 15-20 de­grees to smooth away any rough­ness. 6 WIPE PARTS WITH DIS­IN­FEC­TANT Use a di­lute dis­in­fec­tant spray and a dry cloth or pa­per towel to wipe over the se­ca­teurs. To re­move rust, use a scour­ing pad or wire wool. Care­fully wipe dry. 7 OIL THE MOV­ING PARTS Re­assem­ble the se­ca­teurs so you can give all the joints a squirt of lu­bri­cat­ing oil. This eases the scis­sor ac­tion and coats the blade against rust. 8 WIPE OFF EX­CESS OIL Blot the se­ca­teurs dry to re­move any drib­bles of lu­bri­cant. Ap­ply the se­ca­teur lock and store them some­where dry and safe.

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