How to Sharpen a Garden Hoe

Author: Greg Baka

A sharp hoe will work so much better than a dull one. No matter if you are slicing weeds off at the roots, or chopping into the soil to till it up, having a good sharp edge on your garden hoe will make the job easier.

People are sometimes surprised at the idea of sharpening a hoe, probably because the common gardening hoes sold at big-box stores come dull. Those cheap tools are supplied dull because sharpening adds cost, and to prevent in-store injuries. The digging and weeding hoes from Easy Digging come fairly sharp, and with the info below you can make them even sharper. *TIP: You should also sharpen your shovels and spades.

Click here to see all our available Garden Hoes


Hoe Sharpening Instructions

how to sharpen a garden hoe

Figure 1.

1.   Position the tool with the blade pointed up. It is best to do this on the ground so you can use your leg to keep the hoe handle from moving around.

2.   File only the outside edge of the blade to a sharp angle of about 30 degrees. (see Figure 1) This is best done with the coarse side of the file. *see the note below about using a grinder

3.   Using the mild side of the file, lightly remove any nicks or burrs from the inside edge of the blade. This is done with the file setting fairly flat against the blade (parallel to it). It is best to not file another angle on this inside surface of the blade because that limits how sharp you can get the blade. If your hoe already has an inside angle, then remembering to only sharpen the outer surface will eventually work you past that inside angle and allow a finer edger.

4.   Finish off the outside edge of the blade with the mild side of the sharpening file to an even, sharp edge. Remember that you do not want a knife type edge, that is too thin and weak for hoeing. You want an edge like a sharp axe.

Guard your hands. Pushing the file towards the sharp edge could cause a cut if you slam your hand against the garden hoe's blade.

* Grinder Note: We do not recommend using a power grinder, like a bench grinder or angle grinder. The reason is that it only takes a few seconds to overheat the blade and cause the edge to lose it hardness. If the edge becomes "soft" you will still be able to sharpen it, but it will dull quickly. If you must use a grinder (because the tool is totally dull), then work VERY SLOWLY. Keep a bucket of water on the floor next to your bench grinder, and dip the blade into it every few moments to cool the blade. Grind lightly so the metal doesn't overheat. Lightly grind for 2 seconds, then dip for 10 seconds, until you have made a good start on the edge. THEN SWITCH OVER TO USING THE FILE.

We do sell a nice sharpening file that is called a "Farmers Own file". It is made for agriculture workers. It has a coarse double-cut surface on one face, and a mild single-cut surface on the other. It is made with a handle as an extended portion of the file. Since the file and handle are completely flat, it is easy to carry it around in your pocket. Click here for more info and pricing on our Sharpening File


Blade Maintenance

  • Clean soil off the blade after each use. A big wire brush works well.
  • Keep the blade sharp. (see above)
  • For winter storage, oil the blade to prevent rust.


Handle Maintenance

  • Clean soil from the handle after each use.
  • Keep the head tightly connected to the handle. (method varies)
  • Yearly, re-oil the handle using a finishing oil finish like Linseed or Tung Oil.