How Do You Keep Tool Edges Keen?

http://www.motherearthnews.com/diy/cleaning-tools.aspx

I think I know why workshops are filled with multiple tools of the same kind. Sure, we need to have a variety of shapes and weights available, but tools frequently aren’t cleaned well after use. So, the next time you grab the tool for a project, it’s dirty or dull and, instead of sharpening or cleaning it, you run out and buy a new one!! My dad had a dozen mudding spatulas!!

The solution to this over-zealous purchasing is to keep your tools clean and sharp — after each use. (I know — what a chore!) You’re right, it is a chore — but in the long run, easier than the alternative of doing it when you really need to use the tool. Cleaning mud from garden shovels and hoes, eliminating the pitch from saw blades, and coating tools with oil to prevent rust are all ways of not only ensuring the tool’s availability for duty but guaranteeing it will last many years longer.

Everyone has their favorite, tried-and-true methods for cleaning goo from metal and protecting tools from the elements. What are some of the techniques for cleaning tools that have worked best for you? Post your advice in the comments section below.