Pros: Simple, convenient, easy-to-use for routine upkeep
Cons: Easy to misplace (but it survives washing machines)
To prune or not to prune, that is the question, or the pruners the thing, or off with his twig. Gardeners tend to get silly about their hand pruner, especially a good bypass pruner. The moment gardeners hit their landscapes they can be compared to successful detectives, rarely caught without their pruners or holsters. Roses need to be cut back, deadheading is a never-ending task, and dead branches need to be removed. These are all necessary tasks for keeping healthy, productive gardens.
But, we tend to be foolish about tool maintenance. A few dedicated tool tenders clean their tools after every use. Most of these gardeners grow lots of roses and theyve learned the hard way the value of cleaning their pruners. While many excellent gardeners are almost married to their pruners, they (I suspect like some marriages) neglect their quality pruners. When was the last time you actually cleaned your bypass pruner? When was the last time you disassembled, lubricated, and sharpened your pruner? Did you do this at the start of the season?
Probably not, because your pruner was new at the start of the season.
Many very good gardeners might clean their pruners, but unless the edge become too dull they probably just keep using it until the end of the season. In the past if I really needed to sharpen the edges, Id ask my significant other. My doing this always meant entering his domainthe shopand that required getting permission and presenting the password phrase. (The magic phrase is I promise to put it back.) For those of you nodding your head in agreement, there is a tool for you. I would just avoid the issue.
The fine people at Corona are leaders in the field of landscaping tools, including pruners. While they love selling you multiple pruners every year, they also want to see their pruners receiving good care and lasting a long, long time. An average to professional quality pruner should last many years with proper maintenance.
About the Sharpening Tool
The Corona Sharpening Tool is a very simple little device that can be carried in a pocket, slipped into the pruners holster, or stuck in your gardening bucket. Its barely 5 long and contained in a soft red vinyl non-slip grip cover with a removable cap. The tool has a 3/4" carbide file appropriate for all blades.
Instructions are provided on the back of the packaging, but also on the Corona web site. (http://www.coronaclipper.com/) They offer a downloadable PDF that basically repeats the package directions. Both resources offer written and visual instructions on using this simple tool. Neither the packaging, nor the web site, provides you all of the important steps in routine maintenance of your pruner. These two sets of instructions only explain how to use the tool.
Use this sharpening tool for all of your pruning tools.
Maintain the same factory bevel or angle of the cutting edge when sharpening
File the bevel edge from the pivot toward the tip four or five times and check the edge
File the flat side of the blade once, with the file against the blade to remove burrs caused by sharpening
Sharpening the curved edges on bypass pruners can be more difficult and caution needs to be used, but the non-slip grip handle is a safety feature.
However, for best results I recommend:
1. Selecting the method of sharpening appropriate for your specific pruner. Requirements vary depending upon the type of pruner (anvil or bypass). There are many resources for this information.
2. Cleaning your pruner with soapy water.
3. Sharpening the beveled edges.
4. Completing this routine maintenance process with a lubricant.
5. Packing your pruner away for the end of the season after disassembling it for a thorough cleaning (and sharpening with a whetstone).
6. Tucking it away with your other cleaned garden tools to let it enjoy visions of dancing pruners.
Problems? I can name only one. I keep forgetting to thread a cord through the hole in the end. A cord would allow me to carry this around my neck and not in my pocket. Like many women, Im unaccustomed to carrying items in my pockets. At the end of a long and tiring gardening day, we all feel a tad forgetful. This sharpener has survived two free rides in the laundry amusement park and with a close call a third time.
This valuable, inexpensive Corona Sharpening Tool accompanies me on all of my pruning and deadheading trips. If my blade isnt overly dirty, but seems dull Ill pull out my sharpener for a few quick passes. My tool maintenance habits are improving. My pruner and sharpener will not only make it to the end of the season but theyll be ready for action in the early spring.
This easy-to-use sharpening tool is simple and convenient and has encouraged some better tool maintenance habits. My pruners are no longer just a one season fling, we can now look forward to a longer, more rewarding relationship.