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Digging deeper...HERShovel™ for Women

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Care Instructions

Purchasing high-quality tools is the first step in making your farming or gardening life easier; maintaining them is the second.

To keep HERS™ in top shape & ensure maximum performance, please follow these simple guidelines:


Should you need to request service

Care Instructions

  • Store HERS™ indoors, out of rain & sun. Rain can rust the blade, and exposure to rain & sun can eventually cause wood to deteriorate.
  • To prevent rust:
    • Coat the blade with a light oil – something you can do for all your digging tools, as well as hoes and metal rakes. This can be done in several ways, including spraying with WD-40 or a silicone spray. We prefer these non-toxic alternatives, as recommended by Cornell Cooperative Extension:
      • Rub the blade with an “oil sock.” (Stuff a sock with sand or wrapped cloth. Tie a knot and dip the sock in vegetable oil. Squeeze out the excess oil, and store the sock in a zip-lock plastic bag.)
      • Prepare an “oil dip” by saturating a bucket or tub of sand with vegetable oil. Plunge the blade in the bucket several times after use. Any dirt on the blade will be rubbed off, and the tool will be oiled. An oil dip like this can last indefinitely. Note: Don’t overdo it with the oil! The Louisiana State University AgCenter suggests adding “a little” oil to a bucket filled 2/3 of the way with sand – up to a few quarts, depending on the size of the bucket. “The point is to have a little oil in the sand, not a little sand in the oil. If you can see liquid oil on top of the sand, you have way too much oil.”
      • Demonstration of cleaning the blade with an "oil dip"
    • Use a stiff brush to clean off the worst of the dirt after using HERS™. If you must use water – e.g., to remove caked clay -- dry the blade thoroughly afterwards or plunge into an oil dip (see above).
  • If any rust does form, scrape it off with steel wool or, if necessary, use a fine-grit sandpaper to lightly sand it off. Then follow the tips above to prevent further rusting.
  • Storing HERS™ inside should be enough to protect the ash handle from deterioration. If your tool is exposed to the elements, however, consider this once-a-year treatment:
    • Remove any dirt or debris and lightly sand any rough spots.
    • Rub handle with pure tung oil* to create a waterproof finish & help prevent drying and cracking. To do this, soak a rag in the oil and slowly rub onto the handle, allowing the wood to absorb the oil. Let sit and repeat this procedure several times. Tung oil is slow-drying, so please be patient!
      • Notes:
        • Some products sold as tung (chinawood) oil contain toxic additives, including solvents that make the material flammable & combustible. We recommend using only pure (100%) tung oil, which is non-toxic (FDA-approved for surfaces that come in contact with food, in fact!).
        • Store tung oil in a tightly sealed container in a cool, dry place. If there is a film on the surface or gummy deposits around the edge of the container, discard it and replace with new. The oil will no longer be able to cure properly in this condition, according to the website Woodwork Details.
  • Shovel blades in general can benefit from occasional sharpening to ensure that they cut through the soil as easily as possible. Here are sharpening guidelines courtesy of the Cornell Cooperative Extension, Mother Earth News & The New York Times:
    • Use a high-quality mill file, which is a hand file with square edges & a slight taper that is designed to cut only on the down or push stroke. A file about one inch wide & 10 inches long should work well. Unless you’re a sharpening pro, don’t use a power grinder – you could easily ruin the blade.
    • Sharpen only on one side – the top, or inner edge of the blade, to create a slight bevel, or slope.
    • Sharpening at a steep angle results in a more durable edge, which is what you want from a shovel blade. The New York Times recommends an angle of about 70 degrees to the upper surface of the shovel; Mother Earth News suggests an angle that puts a shine back only about ¼ inch into the blade.
    • To sharpen, push the file away from you and move it diagonally, either from edge(s) to center or vice versa. Raise the file slightly as you bring it back to avoid dulling the teeth of the file; do not try to cut material on the backstroke. File with moderate pressure and at an even rate, letting the tool, not your strength, do the cutting. Try to keep the angle uniform.
    • When finished, you should be able to feel a slight ridge of metal, known as a burr, on the underside of the blade. Removing this is unnecessary, as digging will do it for you.

Note: Even the strongest shovel is not made for extensive prying of solid objects. Please use common sense when using HERS™, and you will be rewarded with years of solid performance!


HERS™ carries a 10-year limited warranty, meaning that if the shovel breaks from normal, non-commercial usage during that time, we will repair or replace it. Should you need to request service under this warranty, please follow these steps:

  1. Call our customer service line at 610 844 5232 to request a return label
  2. After you have received the label, ship the shovel, together with your original receipt or packing slip & a brief description of the circumstances under which the shovel broke, to:
    • Green Heron Tools Returns
    • 6239 Schochary Rd.
    • New Tripoli, PA 18066
  3. Note: If you purchased HERS from another retailer's store, please follow that retailer's return procedures. If you would like to speak with us directly, feel free to call us at 610 844 5232
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