Garden tools used for cutting work best when regularly sharpened. Over time, regular use will dull yard tools and even put nicks in the cutting edge. A bastard file can sharpen a yard tool in 5 minutes, improving the tool’s effectiveness and reducing the amount of effort required to use it. Read more to learn how to sharpen yard tools with a bastard file.
Why sharpen your yard tools?
Last week I was using a shovel and cutter mattock to remove a tree stump by digging around severing any surface roots I encountered. About 5 minutes into the task I noticed that my shovel was NOT very good at cutting through even half-inch roots. Growing up, I’d used a similar shovel to cut through roots closer to 2 inches in diameter. So what was different? Looking at each of my yard tools I noticed that they all had one thing in common: the working edge had become rounded over and was no longer sharp.
Why a Bastard File?
I regularly use grinding wheels, sharpening stones, knife sharpeners, and even leather strops to keep my knives in working order. However, I rarely think about the cutting edge of the yard tools I rely on: shovels, hoes, mattocks, rakes, pitchforks, etc. To sharpen these larger tools, a bastard file is very effective. A bastard file falls between a coarse file and a fine file; it provides a finer, more-polished edge than a coarse file, but removes more material and hones an edge more quickly than a fine file. By keeping the angle of the file constant and in-line with the edge being sharpened, I was able to sharpen my cutter mattock in under 10 minutes while shooting this video:
How to Sharpen Tools with a Bastard File
Having a bastard file on-hand provides a means to quickly remove nicks and sharpen my working edges while on the jobsite and even during water breaks! Just remember to keep the file’s cutting edges unclogged by using a file cleaner/brush. Here is a picture of both sides of the cutting edge after sharpening; see how they shine?