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How to Renew Your Garden Tool Handles

Updated: Jun. 19, 2019

How to restore your garden tools

FH10SEP_RENGHA_01-2Family Handyman
Restore your garden tool handles to like new condition. Following this tip will make your tools look great and last forever.

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Tool Handle Restoration

Ken’s garden tool collection.

Your garden tools can look as good as these!

Photo 1: Sand the handles smooth

A random orbital sander makes short work of the sanding job. Keep it moving so you don’t create a flat spot.

Photo 2: Rub on boiled linseed oil

Dip a rag into a container of boiled linseed oil and wipe it onto the sanded tool handle. Let the oil soak in for a few minutes. Then wipe off the excess with a dry rag.

Here’s a tip sent in by Ken Werner, one of our field editors: “Each spring I sand our gardening tool handles with 120-grit sandpaper and then rub a coat of boiled linseed oil on them. The handles stay smooth throughout the gardening season. Then I do it again before putting the tools away in the fall.” The tools look terrific, and the smooth oiled surface resists cracking and is much easier on the hands. If you’re more like Oscar than Felix and your tool handles have never been sanded, they’re probably as rough and worn as ours were. In that case, use a random orbital sander (Photo 1). You’ll still have to hand-sand the spots you can’t reach with the sander, but it’ll save you a lot of effort.

Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • Orbital sander

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here’s a list.

  • Boiled linseed oil
  • Gloves
  • Rags
  • Sandpaper
  • Small container