Tool Cleaning and Maintenance

Taking a few moments after gardening to clean your tools will help them to last a lifetime in pristine shape.  Here are a few tips:

Handles:  All Radius tools use polypropylene-based thermoplastics on their grips.  These non-latex rubber substitutes are easy to clean.  You can use water and any hand soap or dishwashing liquid.  Rinse and dry them after washing.  Radius hand tools can safely be cleaned in the dishwasher.  Caked on dirt detracts from the feel of the grips and can grind away at the surface, very slowly changing the feel of the grip.  The real enemy of all thermoplastics, though, is prolonged exposure to sunlight.  Keep your tools in your toolshed or garage when they are not in use.  Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight and high temperatures can can cause thermoplastics to deteriorate over time.

Blades:  Radius tools are made from several different types of metal: die-cast aluminum, carbon steel, and stainless steel.  Each has its own characteristics.  ALL tool blades should be cleaned after each use and lightly oiled.  You can use and silicone oil or products like 3-In-One Oil, bar oil, engine oil, or any other petroleum-based oil.  Do not use vegetable oil.

Sharpening Radius Tools:  Radius hand tools are made from die-cast aluminum.  This material does not sharpen easily, but if you really want to sharpen them you can use a rotary grinding tool with a sanding wheel.  Radius Pro-Lite tools have carbon steel blades.  These are easy to sharpen with a rotary grinding tool or a simple metal file.  They will also hold their edges extremely well.  Radius PRO tools are made from stainless steel, which is very challenging to sharpen.  If you wish to sharpen a PRO tool you will need a rotary grinding tool with a diamond grinding bit.  Stainless steel, while very rust resistant, is softer than carbon steel, so it can gum up standard grinding tools.  For all Radius tools, sharpen from the side that is already beveled.  Follow the angle as closely as possible for best results.