Along with regular maintenance and servicing, caring for your tools at home is key to caring for your garden, especially as the weather starts to heat up, and our gardens awake after a long period of dormancy. As the demands of your garden start to change, so too will the use of some of your favourite tools. Here are some insider tips straight from the experts at STIHL to help you get the most of your tools this season.
TIP 1. CARE FOR YOUR TRIMMING LINE
Storage is key to the longevity of your trimming line. If you’ve left your spool sitting in the shed or in direct sunlight over the winter months, there’s a good chance that it’s quite brittle. Using brittle line will cause it to snap easily, and feeding the line more often than required will put undue stress on your machine. If in doubt, replace it. A trick to keeping your line like new right through winter is to store it in fresh water and out away from direct sunlight. This will ensure it maintains its flexibility and will last much longer. We also recommend putting new line in fresh water for 24 hours before you use it. Doing so will increase its flexibility and lifespan.
Cleaning the blades on your hedge trimmer is a great way to keep them sharp. Sap and residue from regular trimming can build up on your blades, making them harder to turn/oscillate which can promote them to go blunt and tired. If you’ve been a little slack at keeping your blades clean, then it’s time to take your hedge trimmer to your local STIHL Dealer to be sharpened by a professional.
Through the warmer months, use an approved cleaner – like STIHL resin solvent – after each use to keep your trimmer blades in top condition. Simply spray the length of your blades and run for a few seconds after use to make sure they’re fully coated. This will ensure any residue is broken down and won’t cause any issues for you next time you go to use it.
TIP 4. GIVE YOUR CHAINSAW SOME TLC
While spring is the time to shine for most tools in your shed, your chainsaw might take a back seat as the weather starts to heat up and the need for a roaring fire reduces. If you’re going away or simply don’t plan on using your chainsaw for a while, there are a few things you should do beforehand. If your chainsaw is petrol powered, emptying the fuel tank should be at the top of your checklist. Old or stale fuel will cause issues later on, so it’s best not to run the risk and get rid of it – unless you’re using STIHL MotoMix, in which case, will be safe to leave for up to two years.
For battery powered chainsaws, be sure to remove your battery and store it in a cool, dry place away from the tool. This will not only extend the life of your battery, but it will also avoid an accident if your little ones get their hands on it. Leaving your battery at 40-60% charge is best for the life of the cells.
Be sure to give it a good clean, too. Removing as much sawdust as possible from all areas of your machine each time you use it will make the cleaning process at the end of winter much easier.
TIP 5. SERVICE YOUR TOOLS
As a rule of thumb, the best time to get your tools serviced is when you’ll be using them the least! If you didn’t get around to doing it during winter, then now’s the time to do it before the demands of your garden start to ramp up and you begin using your tools every weekend. The last thing you want is to plan a weekend of work and not have your tools performing at their best. Regular servicing is key to ensuring your tool is with you for many years to come, so don’t hesitate.