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Mattock maintenance and care

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Can a mattock head be tightened by soaking it?

Mattock being soaked in a bucket of water to tighten the hold of the handle on the head If the head of your mattock becomes loose while using it and the mattock has a wooden handle, placing the head of the tool under water for about half an hour should allow the shaft to swell, making the head tight once again.

This is only a temporary fix, as the head will become loose again once the handle dries out and will only work with wooden handles.

How to remove splinters from the handle

Mattock handle being sanded down to remove splinters Should you find any splinters on the wooden handle of your mattock, they should be sanded down until the handle is smooth once again. However, if the handle splits then it should be replaced.

Maintaining the edges of the adze and axe

grinding burrs from a mattock with a hand held grinder Both ends of a mattock should be maintained to keep a reasonably sharp edge; this can be done with either a grinder or a hand file.
Mattock head with burrs and dents that need removing The adze blade and axe of a mattock should be kept clear of burrs and any severe dents/chips ground or filed out.
Filing a mattock axe using a hand file The adze however should not be kept as sharp as the axe cutting edge.
Wonkee donkee says: "Remember if you use a grinder to remove burrs or dents on your mattock head it is important that the head is kept cool by regularly placing it in water. If the steel is over heated whilst grinding the metal can become soft."

When is a mattock beyond repair?

Mattock adze bent beyond repair Mattocks are pretty sturdy tools that do not wear out under normal use and only need replacing when they are damaged beyond repair.

Should you bend either end of the head like this, then the head of your mattock should be replaced.

If the handle becomes cracked, split or broken then it should be replaced with a new one.

How long should a mattock last?

Mattock gravestone, RIP one mattock If looked after and properly maintained, a mattock should last for many years. Should a fibreglass handle ever become damaged, then it should be replaced. Small splinters or chips on wooden handles may be sanded smooth, but larger ones will require the handle to be replaced.

Keeping the head of the mattock free from rust and sharp will enable you to get many years of service from it.

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