How to Take Care of Small And Precise Tools?
Whether you’re someone who spends their free time working on DIY projects or someone who keeps a set of tools around in the event of an emergency, a good set of tools is a significant investment. Higher quality tool sets can quickly burn through your money, so you’ll want to make sure you can get the most out of what you have.
Properly maintaining your tools is essential if you want to save time and money on all your projects and repairs. You won’t have to keep replacing tools that become useless from improper use and negligence, and you’ll also learn to love the things you spent precious cash on properly.
In today’s article, we’ll be covering how to take care of the tools in your workshop correctly. However, keep in mind that various tools may require specific handling and care. So instead, we will cover general handling and care tips that can be applied to pretty much all small tools you may have.
The first step to caring for your tools is ensuring you have adequate storage for each tool. This means taking the space you have to work with and adapting it based on your toolkit. The two avenues that people most commonly take based on what they have available involves using pegboards, storage boxes of some kind, drawers and shelves, or some combination of all three.
Pegboards give you that classic workshop vibe, especially when you have a nice workbench to go with it. They make for an excellent way to store and organize your tools in one of the most efficient ways. You get to use up empty wall space to keep things arranged to your specific needs, with everything being within reach at all times.
When you don’t have the wall space to give up, problems arise, although you could solve this issue with a rolling or hinged pegboard or possibly a portable pegboard system.
Using a form of toolbox or crate will often take up a bit more space but offers other advantages, namely in stackability and portability. Toolboxes themselves aren’t always suited towards long-term storage.
Instead, you should use them to store your most used tools, as there will be a lot of bringing them out and putting them back, so it’s more a point of convenience. For storing the rest of your tools, you could get a much larger crate or chest system to keep your smaller devices together, though a pegboard is better for bulk storage.
Rust is your main concern, and it’s why we look towards proper storage methods. Using pegboards and toolboxes will undoubtedly help, but there are some things to keep in mind so you can effectively keep your tools rust-free.
With moisture being the main contributor, you’ll want to ensure your storage space is dry. This can be a bit tricky given the most common storage spaces – the garage, shed, basement, or other “not-main” rooms within the building – are prone to having a humidity issue as they often don’t have any form of air conditioning. If you use a form of storage that leaves your tools exposed – such as a pegboard or shelving unit – you might want to consider investing in a dehumidifier.
Be sure to keep your tools as elevated as possible. Moisture tends to accumulate in corners and on the floor, especially when concrete is the material in question. Because of how porous it can be, moisture can more easily creep through concrete. Pegboards work wonderfully in this case as you can keep your tools hanging up higher without them resting on a surface where moisture might accumulate.
If you have a particularly humid workshop prone to moisture collection, you can try going the extra bit and getting some silica gel packs. Commonly used in packaging for the same reason as what you’ll be using, these packs are perfect for absorbing any moisture in the air and keeping rust at bay.
Toss a few packets into your toolkit or storage boxes, and you’ll add another layer of protection. For drawers and shelves, you can also invest in rust inhibitors to fulfill the same purpose or even anti-rust liners.
For the case of power tools, you’ll have to be a bit more careful as moisture will cause a bit more damage than rust. Thankfully the hard plastic shell casing they come in will often be sufficient storage and protection.
Finally, we’ll cover how you can keep your tools clean. This section will cover some general tips, rather than specific cleaning methods, as different tools will have other requirements.
For hand tools, it’s best to give them a good wipe down with a rag before and after using them. You can use soap and water to get rid of grime for more stubborn dirt so long as you remember to dry them properly afterward. You can spritz them with a light coating of WD-40 and give them a light wipe so that there is a thin film to keep the rust away. Wooden handles can be cleaned with a rag and linseed oil.
Power tools are trickier to clean but are well worth it if you can make them last. Start by making sure they are entirely unplugged and then remove any dust with an air compressor. You can then give the surface a more thorough cleaning with a clean rag before lubricating any moving parts. Be sure to always refer to the manual for specific cleaning instructions, but you should be good with machine oil for the most part.
Before you even use your tools, be sure to check them for any wear and tear. It’s inevitable, but you can ensure your tools last longer if you catch them in time. Be sure to check any wooden handles for cracks or splinters. Splinters can be sanded down to smoothness, but cracks can cause a severe issue and could break further when you’re using the tool. A cracked handle means it’s time for a replacement handle.
Mushroom heads on all striking tools are common given enough time and warping and are easy enough to spot if you look. Be sure to keep your tools sharpened so that you minimize the chance of them shattering on use. A good habit to develop is to sharpen your tools every six months.
Power tools are trickier to take care of and can be dangerous if there’s a serious problem you aren’t qualified to fix. If the housing is cracked, it’s best not to risk using it as it could spell disaster. If it takes a few tries to start up, then stop and take the time to clean and lubricate it. If it’s broken and you aren’t confident in your repair skills, take it to a professional to get it repaired.
Finally, be sure to look out for any corrosion and rust on metal. If the rusting isn’t too bad, you can remove it yourself using various rust-cleaning products like Evapo-Rust, Scotch Brite, or WD-40 and some elbow grease. If the rusting is more serious, then you may need to replace it.
Your tools should always be inspected and cared for so you can use them when they are at their best. Take the time to go through them all every once in a while and maintain them as needed, giving them a clean, making sure they are appropriately stored, and ensuring that they aren’t becoming damaged through negligence or improper use.