Rusty Shovel

Master gardener Paul James gives a rusty shovel a metal makeover.

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Master gardener Paul James demonstrates how to provide a metal makeover that will leave this rusty shovel looking as good as new.

Figure A
Figure B
Figure C
Figure D

This shovel has rusted (figure A) because James has a bad habit of leaving it out in the yard, exposed to all the elements. To get rid of the rust, he first scours the shovel with a special wire brush that attaches to a cordless drill (figure B). "I could have also used a stiff handheld wire brush, but this makes the job go a lot quicker," says James.

Next he uses a piece of steel wool to reach the crevices (figure C), beginning with a coarse piece of steel wool and finishing with a finer piece.

To complete the makeover, James uses a multi-purpose oil to give the shovel a protective finish. He applies the oil first to a cloth and then rubs directly onto the shovel (figure D). The oil will help to prevent rust from developing and give it a nice, healthy sheen. Now the shovel is as good as new.

"Take time to take care of your tools, especially metal ones that have a tendency to rust, because rust can ruin a tool in a hurry," says James. "In other words, treat your tools as if they were your friends."

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