As of 2022, over 900,000 people work in construction and maintenance fields. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it’s a popular and well-paying role that involves plenty of physical labour and construction. And with any construction, there’s always a need for tools. Whether you work as a carpenter, contractor, or other trade, you probably have a toolbox and workshop at home or work. Keeping it in tip-top shape is essential for keeping your tools in good condition and getting the most usage out of your workshop. Here are five maintenance tips to keep your tools in good working order.
Here’s a super obvious, common sense idea: your tools must stay clean to remain in good condition. Depending on their age, location, and how they’re stored, tools can rust or break. According to Popular Mechanics, you can get rust off of tools fairly easily. Moisture accumulation causes rust, so storing tools properly can help. But cleaning them is a must. To restore damaged tools, you might need to replace handles. Popular Mechanics also recommends submerging your rusty/corroded tools in white vinegar. Vinegar starts breaking them down, allowing you to clean them. In some cases, you’ll definitely need to do some scrubbing to remove rust. The best way to avoid such problems is to clean your tools after each use and do whatever you can to reduce wear on them over time.
Sometimes, the tools seem as if they multiply all on their own. One day, you might only have a few screwdrivers and a wrench set in your toolbox. But then the next day, you might find you’ve got a few new power tools and some hardware cluttering your workshop. It happens. You definitely need storage for your tools. The best storage methods for tools involve the organization and plenty of space. Come up with an organizational system that allows you to keep tools tidy and retrieve them quickly when you need them. Don’t leave your tools lying around. Instead, pick up some toolboxes, containers, and shelving to keep them more orderly. Store them when not in use to avoid moisture buildup, rust, and potential damage.
Oiling and Tightening
Nothing is worse than using a wrench to tighten something only to have it unceremoniously slip from your grasp as you work. Lubrication increases tool life. It also makes them work better. A torque wrench that won’t turn is utterly useless. An unlubricated chainsaw is dangerous. Oiling, lubricating, tightening, and sharpening tools should be part of your weekly maintenance routine. According to This Old House, you should put together a specific toolbox that contains your maintenance parts (or build one for that purpose). Create a schedule for performing maintenance and inspections. Inspect tools regularly to get the most out of them. And follow proper safety precautions when you’re performing bands on your tools. The last thing you want is an injury really an errant tool that happens to be powered up while you work on it.
Sometimes tools wear out or break. At that point, replacing parts becomes necessary. Screwdriver bits wear out. Sockets corrode. Hammer and axe handles break or splinter. Sometimes, tools break down. Saw blades wear out. Think of replacing parts as an inevitably of most tools. Some well-made mechanics tools last much longer, though. It’s better to invest in higher quality tools from the start so repairing them doesn’t end up costing a lot of money long-term. Keep extra parts on hand and replace them as needed. The best thing to do is invest in a good set of mechanics tools to ensure you won’t need excessive repairs later on.
DIY Tool Maintenance
If you have the spirit of DIY running through your veins, then tool maintenance should be a breeze. Start by creating a maintenance schedule. Add the most important tasks to the beginning of the month and space them out based on how often you use certain tools. Sharpen your blades and chains. Clean your drill bits. Avoid over-torquing screws. Keep your Allan wrenches, ratchet bits, and crescent trenches together in their sets. Don’t forget to keep some spare parts around just in case. Open that wallet, clear out the cobwebs, and invest in quality tools. That will make a big difference long-term. Remember that maintenance and organization matter, and keeping your tools in tip-top shape will mean they’ll always be there for you when you need them most.