How to Properly Take Care of your Tools
All tools such as power tools, hand tools, garden tools, crafting, car repair and kitchen tools, if properly taken care of will save you time and money in the long run. They will also likely to return you the favor, as proper care and maintenance make any DIY projects safer and easier.
Here are a few steps and tips on how you can take good care of your tools:
Step 1: Cleaning Your Tools
Dust and debris cause damages on the tools when left uncleaned over a long time. To take care of your tools, it is necessary to clean them and make sure they are thoroughly dirt-free after you use them.
Most tools such as garden tools and hand tools are usually easy to clean. You may only need a brush or a piece of rag to wipe off the remaining dirt after using. But if they’re a little too dirty, they may require more steps to clean them thoroughly.
For hand tools, you may use water and soap to wash and rinse them fully. Just make sure to dry them after. You may also spray a small amount of WD-40 on the metal and spread it using a clean rag. For the wooden handles, you may also use cloth with a little linseed oil to wipe them.
Some people clean their garden tools by stabbing them a few times in a bucket of sand and oil mixture. Some use motor oil, but it is still best to use linseed oil. You can also wipe the wooden handles of your garden tools with a linseed oil and rag.
On the other hand, power tools require a more extensive cleaning process. But first, you need to make sure that they are unplugged. An air compressor is usually used to completely dust-off power tools, as dust easily gets stuck even in the narrowest parts of the tools. Before storage, lubricating its rotating or moving parts is also recommended to avoid them from getting stuck. You may check the manual for the oil that it needs, but machine oil is mostly used for this.
Lastly, the most important thing that you want to look for and clean the most is the metal’s main enemy, rust. Rust, if left unchecked and sitting on your tools can cause permanent damage. It is formed when a tool is left wet or placed in a moist room. But it can easily be prevented by applying light oil especially on areas that are rust prone. To clean off the rust, you can use an oil and scrubber and scrub it vigorously.
Step 2: Store Your Tools Properly
Cleaning your tools correctly every after use, or even regularly, will make no sense if you leave them anywhere improperly stored. Most of the time, a simple toolbox is enough for storage. It also can be brought with you anywhere which is an advantage. But if you have tools that require a bigger storage, the best option would be a metal cabinet.
Here are some tips for proper storage of tools:
- Always put back your tools on their designated areas every after use, so you know where to get them whenever you might need them.
- Organize and sort tools of different kinds – garden tools, hand tools, power tools, and others.
- Keep your tools from touching each other when stored.
- Store your tools in a dry area to prevent them from moisture.
- For safety purposes, install a holder for storage of sharp tools such as chisels.
- Avoid storing your tools on areas with direct sunlight.
- Never leave tools on the ground or on working areas to avoid accidents.
- Power tools are best stored in the original hard plastic cases they came with.
Step 3: Maintaining Your Tools and Repairing Them, If Necessary and Applicable
To avoid accidents or injuries when using any tool, there is a need to observe and know how to use and operate them properly especially if a tool has some with specific guidelines. Other tool usage may even require protective gears to ensure safety such as safety goggles, protective gloves, and metal masks.
Take care of your tools by regularly inspecting them before and after using them. Inspection is just as important as the above-mentioned measures to avoid hazardous events. This way, you’ll also be able to monitor and repair damages of the tools and expand their longevity.
When inspecting your tools, the following are necessary to look for:
- Handles that are cracked, loose, or splintered. Damaged wooden handles are very hazardous to use as they can break while you are using them. This may cause you to lose grip of the tool and create even up to serious injuries.
Handles that are slightly splintered can still be repaired by sanding it down. Using the sanding method, you will know that the tool is good to use again when the handle is smooth enough without a feeling of any splinters when you glide your hand along. And then finish it off by wiping a little amount of linseed oil with a clean rag. But heavily splintered and cracked handles require replacement.
- Rust and corrosion. Severely rusted and corroded tools are unsafe to use and need replacement as they can’t be repaired anymore. However, in minor cases, rusts can be removed with a scrubber and oil.
- Hard starting power tools. If a power tool requires more than one try to operate properly or has an observable change in its performance, check it first before using it. Try to clean it again and lubricate the other parts. If it still does not work well, it may require a repair that you can do yourself or with an assistance of a professional.
- Tools with malformed sharp edges. Also called mushroomed heads, this problem is easy to solve by keeping your tools sharp. It is recommended to regularly sharpen your tools every six months or regularly, instead of sharpening them just whenever you observe that it needs it.
- Electrical problems. Exposed wires and frayed insulations are the most common observable electrical problems of tools. Electrical tapes can be used to cover these, but it is best to have the tool repaired before use as this can cause serious damage and injuries.
Tool care and maintenance can be a demanding task. It requires a little more of your time, effort, and most especially, commitment. But these efforts will surely pay off, as well-taken-care tools will save you a lot of time and money, and reward you a helpful aide on your do-it-yourself projects while ensuring your safety.