Tinker and Fix your tools... a how-to feature in Rutland Living magazine

We're proud Rutlanders. We live here, work here, and in my case actually born here. It's a lovely spot, and without wanting to sound too much like the local tourist board, it really is a great place to be. 

It may be little (it's motto is 'much in little' - 'multum in parvo') but it's got a nice sense of community - which is nicely reflected in the local magazine, Rutland Living. Editor Clare is just lovely, so when she asked if we'd write a feature about keeping your tools sharp, we jumped at the chance. Any chance to talk tools and how to look after them... be it in person or in print.... we'll take it!

How to guide on how to clean and sharpen your secateurs from Tinker and Fix

We know it was well read, as a good number of locals (as I mentioned, it IS a small county!) have referenced it.  But it is hard to capture the sharpening in photographs... so do have a look at our instagram videos where Edd talks you through this 'live' - so why not watch Edd's instagram video  and follow along? Or have a read of our three step process - you can follow the 'how to guide' steps below for maintaining your secateurs... 

  1. Clean your secateurs using Niwaki Crean Mate. This is a scouring block that needs soaking in water for a few minutes before using it. Think of it like a mildly abrasive eraser – you simply rub it all over your secateurs and it will clean up their surface. Ensure you work across all of the cutting area – as most good quality secateurs have a bypass mechanism - where the blade glides past the lower jaw – so you need to clean it all to keep it working well. Remember to keep your fingers away from the edges whilst you rub it over the cutting blades. Just wipe away the reside with a cloth to see the blade coming clean and you’ll soon begin to hear the difference if you test them. If there is any surface rust on the secateur handles you can use the Crean Mate, or if you need something more abrasive you can use some wire wool or a wire brush.
  2. Sharpen secateurs using a whetstone. Invest in a small whetstone which can be easily used on secateurs rather than using a large one designed for kitchen knives. The Niwaki 1000 grit whetstone is an all-purpose one that suits most people (you can get coarser or finer grit should you need to remove more or get a finer polish). Find the angle of the secateur blade by resting the whetstone on top in the same direction. Then simply work the stone using small circular motions using the same consistent angle. Work over the entire blade to just put the edge back on. Remember to turn blade over and lightly run the whetstone over it to remove any burs from the other side.
  3. Protect secateurs – Camelia oil is perfect (and the preferred choice in Japan) because it isn’t acidic. You only need a few drops onto a sponge and you simply wipe it over the secateurs. The sponge will hold the camelia oil so keep this in your maintenance kit. It will act as a surface barrier on the carbon steel, offering some protection when you next use them.

We recommend cleaning and protecting your secateurs as regularly as you can – as this avoids build-up of rust and also reduces the risk of transferring any diseases around your garden via your secateurs. Then, as and when needed, you can sharpen them.

And to make it super easy, we've put together a Tinker and Fix Secateur Maintenance Kit that includes all the kit you need -  Crean Mate, Niwaki Whetstone and Niwaki Camelia Oil - all in an easy to keep together bag, with a cloth too. It makes a great Secateur maintenance kit - for you, or as a gift for the gardener in your life!

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