Sunday, March 25, 2012

Get a Grip

Everybody's eager to get cleaned up
I recently read this "high and mighty" blog about keeping ones tools in good condition--it got me thinking.  And while prettying up the garden paths yesterday, I picked up my "loop hoe." I recoiled instantly.  Ick!  Aack!  The handle was prickly with tiny, furry slivers.  Gloves allowed me to finish my job, but "tend the tool handles" went right up to the top of the Things I get to do today--as in NEXT.

Slivery and nasty to touch,
Much like finger nails on a blackboard

This is a two-person job, it turns out. One person holds the hoe (shovel, rake and pitchfork all got in line right away as well) and rotates it slowly. The other person guides the belt sander back and forth. All the old gray comes right off!  But the loop hoe is still furry and nasty to touch.

A light sanding with finer grit paper is the obvious solution. What does a sanding block for a tool handle look like?

Use a 4" long piece of 3/8" thick foam pipe insulation.  Fold the sandpaper in half and secure it with double-sided tape.  Stuff it into the foam and sand away.  It takes a little practice finding the right grip, but you'll get it.
Lined up by age.  Oldest at the top--Shovel, then rake, pitchfork.
Loop hoe at the bottom--the newest tool.

A generous coating of waterproof wood protector, half an hour in the sun, and another light sanding and they are done.

An interesting observation from this task:  The shovel is perhaps 70 years old.  The handle was gray and silky smooth to touch before this work.  The loop hoe is less than 10 years old, and its handle is barely acceptable to the hand even now.


  1. What a clever idea. I usually just take the sand paper and wrap it around the handle and sand her down. I love this idea. Thanks handy Andy.

    1. You are SO welcome. I've done the wrap, too, but for some reason thought "invent a round sanding block" this time.