A common process of neglect when it comes to tools is the failure to maintain them. You should clean, inspect, care for, and store your tools properly to ensure that they are able to have a long, useful life. You should have a maintenance routine to ensure that you’re giving your tools the love they need. Proper tool care also allows you to save money by preventing you having to replace them frequently.
First we’ll cover hand tool maintenance. Hand tools include wrenches, hammers, pliers, screwdrivers, levels, and wire cutters. These are mostly stored in harsh locations and environments such as garages and sheds. You can invest in a good tool box or job site box. Depending on the amount of tools you have, we have a wide variety of tool boxes to fit your needs.
Clean and Inspect Your Hand Tools
The first step of hand tool maintenance is to wipe it down every time you use them. This prevents dust, grease, debris, and dirt from building up and breaking down your tools. During this time, you can also inspect them for any flaws or damage. Common issues with hand tools are split, broken, or cracked handles. These present a hazard to your hands, especially if you don’t use safety gloves. If you notice damages, you should refrain from using the tool and invest in a new one.
Care for All the Parts of Your Hand Tools
Another step of maintenance for hand tools, especially those with movable parts, is to lubricate it with an oil like WD-40. You’ll want to make sure that you’re only spraying the metal parts with this oil, not the handles. Do not use it in excess, and wipe it off if you do. Preventing corrosion and rust is a must do to maintain your tools.If your tools have already rusted, you can remove the rust with a number of different sprays and a steel wool or wire brush. Make sure to wash them after in order to remove excess spray.
For wooden handled tools, make sure to have an emery cloth or something similar to smooth them if they start getting rough.
Sharpening your bladed tools is important and should be done at least once per season. There are several ways to sharpen blades, such as files and sharpening stones. Depending on the type of stone and the type of blade, there are different sharpening levels. For example, a digging tool should be filed to a 45-degree bevel allowing optimal digging ability.
Store Your Hand Tools Properly
The final step of maintenance for hand tools is to have proper storage. Depending on the quantity of tools, location of storage, and the frequency of tool use, you can use a combination of tool boxes, shelves, or containers. The main focus for your storage system is to be moisture resistant, preventing the tools from rusting.
A common storage system would be to have your most commonly used tools in a small, easily accessible tool box, a storage system for the less used tools, and a workbench/desk to inspect, clean, and maintain your tools. Lawn tools and garden tools should be hung off of the ground in order to prevent moisture from pooling around them.