Garden Tool Repair

Check your garden tools each fall for things to fix, then repair them over the winter. You’ll be ready for spring! This Fix-It Guide on garden tool repair tells how a garden tool works, what often goes wrong, how to identify a garden tool problem, and what parts and tools you will need to fix it. It then gives simple step-by-step instructions for how to replace a garden tool handle, how to fix a leaky garden hose, how to sharpen a garden tool, how to remove rust from a garden tool, and how to tighten a loose wooden handle-grip on a garden tool. Garden tools that are beyond repair or too inexpensive to repair can be recycled. Garden tool repair covers pick axe repair, pitchfork repair, shovel repair, trowel repair, hoe repair, and much more.

How Does a Garden Tool Work?

Garden tools are all those implements that make it easier to grow flowers, vegetables, trees, and lawns. Garden tools include shovels, hoes, hoses, shears, and clippers. They help us dig and refill holes, eliminate weeds, water roses and radishes, prune trees and shrubs, trim grass, and much more.

What Can Go Wrong with a Garden Tool?

Handles break on shovels, hoes, and other tools. Hoses leak. Cutting and digging edges become dull. Tools get rusty. Handle grips become loose.

How Can I Identify a Garden Tool Problem?

  • If a garden tool’s handle breaks, you can replace it (see below).
  • If an otherwise good garden hose springs a leak, you can stop that leak (see below).
  • If a cutting or digging edge of a garden tool becomes dull, you can sharpen it (see below).
  • If a garden tool is rusty, you can renew it (see below).
  • If the wooden handle-grips of a tool are loose, you can tighten them (see below).

Fix-It Tip

To prevent rust, clean your garden tools thoroughly after every use and coat them lightly with lightweight oil such as WD-40 or mineral oil.

What Do I Need for Garden Tool Repair?

Replacement parts are available from local hardware stores, home improvement centers, and garden centers. The tools you will need to fix your garden tools include these:

  • Bench vise
  • Electric drill
  • Hammer
  • Wood file
  • Galvanized wood screws
  • Sharp knife
  • Penetrating oil or kerosene
  • Steel wool, emery paper, or a wire brush
  • Epoxy adhesive
  • Mallet

What Are the Steps to Garden Tool Repair?


Don’t try to repair a broken tool handle because a repaired handle will be weak. Replace the handle instead.

 Garden Tool Repair

Insert the new handle into the hasp.

Replace a garden tool handle:

  1. Clamp the tool blade in a bench vise.
  2. Remove the handle from the hasp using a drill, hammer, or other tools as needed.
  3. Insert the new handle into the hasp.
  4. Tighten the handle in the hasp using fasteners.

Fix-It Tip

To make finding the right hose parts easier, take the bad piece of hose to the hardware store with you to find the correct hose couplings. Most repair fittings work with either rubber or vinyl hoses, but some work only with one type.

 Garden Tool Repair

Use a screw and screwdriver to firmly attach the handle to the tool head.

Fix a leaky garden hose:

  1. Cut through the hose on either side of the bad section using a sharp knife.
  2. Attach male and female hose couplings to the cut ends, following the directions that come with the couplings. If the new hose fittings don’t slide in easily, try softening the ends of the hose in hot water or lubricating them with soap or cooking oil.

Sharpen a garden tool:

  1. If possible, remove the cutting edge from the handle.
  2. Place the tool head in a bench vice or otherwise secure it against movement.
  3. Use a file to sharpen the edge, following the original bevel. Remove any burrs or rough spots.

Remove rust from a garden tool:

  1. Place the tool in a bench vise with the blade pointing down.
  2. Coat the blade with kerosene or penetrating oil.
  3. Brush downward, using steel wool, emery paper, or a wire brush.
  4. Wipe away the rust residue with a soft brush or cloth.
  5. Wash the blade in warm, soapy water and allow it to dry thoroughly.
  6. Sharpen the blade (see above).

Tighten a loose wooden handle-grip on a garden tool:

  1. Remove the handle from the tool head (see above).
  2. Remove excess or uneven wood from the end of the handle so that it will smoothly fit back into the tool head.
  3. Spread epoxy adhesive in the tool hasp (where the handle fits).
  4. Insert the wood handle and apply pressure or use a mallet to ensure a tight fit.