The most important thing for any DIY enthusiast to know is how to properly maintain their tools. It can be really expensive in the long run if you’re improperly storing your tools as they’ll need to be replaced.
Keeping your tools well maintained will serve you well and potentially save you a fortune. There are several ways to make sure all of your tools stay in top condition.
One of the most important things you can do is make sure you properly clean your tools after use. It doesn’t take very long and not doing it can lead to a tool being rendered unusable, which means replacing it. Power tools are slightly more complicated to clean than hand tools but neither is particularly difficult.
- Power Tools – Power tools should always be unplugged before being cleaned. Wipe down the tool like you would a hand tool and, if necessary, lubricate the moving parts with whatever oil the manufacturer recommends.
- Hand Tools – Hand tools are generally easier to clean than power tools and usually just need a wipe down with a rag. You should occasionally oil hand tools to make sure that rust doesn’t set in.
- Tool storage – like tools, should also be routinely maintained. Toolboxes should be emptied out and cleaned, and bags should be emptied, wiped out and washed once in a while.
Depending on the space you have available, there are a variety of ways to store your tools. If you have the wall space, you can store the majority of your tools on pegboards. If you’re an avid DIYer, this allows you to have all of your expensive, slick tools on full display.
If pegboards aren’t a viable option, the toolbox is a classic. Toolboxes are more portable and are great for people that need to have their main tools with them at all times. Toolboxes come in a variety of shapes, sizes and materials, although metal toolboxes can be susceptible to rust. Other storage options include bags, drawers and shelves, all of which are great choices depending on your storage circumstances.
Wherever you decide to store your tools, always remember to store your tools in a cool, dry place as moisture will encourage rust. Places like garages can have humidity issues that can really damage your tools over time. If you opt to keep them in a garage, try using a dehumidifier to keep the air dry.
It’s incredibly important to keep your tools well maintained. If a tool is damaged and doesn’t work properly, it can ruin whatever you’re working on and can potentially cause you, the user, harm. There are a number of things to be on the lookout for:
- Sharpen your tools from time to time and make sure there are no fractures or splits. A damaged tool can be a serious health hazard and should not be used.
- Be on the lookout for rust. Rusty tools are prone to breaking and rust should either be removed, or, if it’s not possible to remove the rust, the tool should be replaced. Cheaper tools are generally more susceptible to rusting and therefore require a bit more looking after.
- Broken, cracked or loose handles can be very dangerous and should be fixed before attempting to use the tool. Limited cracking can usually be fixed by sanding the handle down. However, heavy cracking usually means that you’ll need to replace the tool. Loose handles may need to be replaced but can usually be fixed by tightening or with some good glue. If you have a power tool with a cracked body, always have it repaired by a professional before use.
- If you have power tools that don’t appear to be working correctly, assess the issue and have it sorted before use. Sometimes all that’s required is a little oil, sometimes you’ll need to have the tool repaired or replaced. As stated above, always take power tools to a professional to be repaired, do not attempt the work yourself. If there are exposed wires electrical tape can be a temporary fix. Long term, however, it’s best to have it repaired by a pro.
READ: Basics of Woodworking: A Step by Step Process
With these tips, you should have no problems tackling whatever job, big or small, comes up.