As Britons stay home under the Government’s lockdown guidelines, many are putting their time and energy into tidying up their garden. With a wealth of options out there, adding plants, chopping branches and even starting a herb garden has never been easier.
Growing plants, having an outdoor space and spending time in the fresh air have benefits both physical and mental.
Now, Britons are taking to Google to try and get the best out of their garden and tools without leaving home.
According to data from SEMrush, Google searches for ‘how to sharpen garden shears’ have soared by 528 percent in the last two months.
Olga Andrienko, Head of Global Marketing at SEMrush said: “Public concerns about going to the shops, combined with increased free time spent at home and an unusual spell of sunny weather are combining to encourage people to make the most of their gardens while also limiting their social exposure.
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“In this period of high stress and blitz spirit across the nation, these stats show that many are increasingly turning to tending their back gardens and seeking to become more self-sufficient.
“As an additional bonus, gardening advocates frequently talk about the mental health benefits of growing your own plants and vegetables.”
How to sharpen garden shears
Garden shears are an essential tool when tending to the garden, and can come in a range of varieties.
Whether long-handled shears, shorter grass garden cutters or long-bladed hedge shears – after use blades can wear down and become less effective.
These shears have two bevelled edges, top and bottom, which both need to be sharpened every so often.
A basic mill file or sharpening stone can return shears back to their sharp selves, with not much effort.
First, bear in mind shears – among most tools – can also rust over time, or develop thick layers of dirt.
Before you start to sharpen your shears, it is essential to remove rust and dirt before you start sharpening.
In order to remove grime and rust, you can use high-grit sandpaper.
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To do this, sand the blades down to a nice shine before you begin sharpening.
Before beginning to sharpen your shears, first, make sure you have the correct safety gear to make sharpening the blades safer.
For example, it is a good idea to protect your hands and eyes from the pruning shears while you clean and sharpen them.
A pair of protective gloves will prevent any nicks, scratches or slices that may occur, and wearing safety glasses will prevent any rust or shards metal damaging your eyes.
Once protected and your shears are cleaned, secure the tool in a bench vice if possible, and open the blade as wide as you can so the bevelled edge of the cutting blade is facing upwards.
Blogger Richard from growerexperts explains how best to sharpen your shears: “Position your body behind the handles side of the shears so as you push the hand file forwards you are going from the hinge to the tips the shears.
“Hold the hand file firmly at the angle of the blade edge and then push the file forwards – without going side to side- you will need to maintain this angle as you sharpen the blade edge until you are satisfied it is sharp.
“Using a single, smooth stroke, draw the sharpening tool along the contour of the blade, from the base to the tip, moving away from your body.
“You should apply a moderate level of pressure. After a couple of stokes with the file, check the edge. It should be uniformly shiny.
“If it’s not, then you may not be holding the file at the right angle; correct the angle as needed and begin again.
“Only sharpen the cutting blade itself, working the file or stone in the same direction as the bevel.
“While larger shears are easy to sharpen using this method, smaller blades may need to be worked in a circular motion.”
Sharpening can take around 20 to 30 passes of the file or stone, so will be completed in just a few minutes.
Next, you will need to remove the burr – a small fold of metal on the opposite side of the blade from the one you are sharpening.
Richard explains: “If a burr is not formed during the sharpening process then you haven’t fully sharpened the edge of the blade – which means that your blade will not be as sharp as it could be.
“So once you’ve finished sharpening the blades of your pruning tools, you’ll also want to remove any burrs that have accrued on the reverse sides of the blades.
“This is done by turning the shears over and using a few strokes of the file or sharpening stone to remove the burrs.
“Be careful not to use too much pressure or you will simply create a new burr on the original edge!”
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