Check your tools’ handles for any splinters, breaks and cracks. Smooth weathered, rough wooden handles with a medium-grit emery cloth. Emery cloth doesn’t tear as easily as sandpaper. The handles should be smooth enough to slide your hand along. If the wood is very rough, first sand across the grain in a “shoe-shine” fashion. Then finish by sanding with the grain.
Wipe a dry handle down with a heavy coat of linseed oil at the end of the season to rejuvenate and protect the wood over the winter months.
Sometimes repairing a handle isn’t a safe option. In these cases, it may be worthwhile to replace the handle of a favorite, high quality tool. Don’t attempt to glue or tape a broken wooden handle. You should always replace it. Use a ball-peen hammer or a block of wood with a nail hammer to knock the tool head out of the ferule on the handle.
Never strike a metal tool with a nail hammer. It may chip off dangerous metal projectiles. Always wear eye protection when using a hammer to make a repair.