How to properly care for your tools

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The DIYer’s toolbox

Whether you’re hiring your tools or buying your own set, it’s only good sense to look after them as best you can. This will help them last longer, function at peak performance, and it can often help keep you safe, as well.

Proper care often depends on the tool itself, so be sure to take note of any tool-specific instructions when you pick it up or purchase. For many, however, much of the care you should take can be said for countless tools!

Dry and dehumidified

It’s fairly obvious that most tools won’t respond well to moisture, so thoroughly dry everything from your hammers to your drill saws if they get any water on them.

The less obvious one is the real humidity that often occurs around Australia. If you’re locking your tools away in a hot shed, these areas can become very warm and very humid, so keep them in a toolbox or other container – or if possible, store them in their original casing. Wood is surprisingly good at soaking up moisture and protecting tools from humidity, too. You can even add silica gels to your toolbox for extra protection, as they can act as mini dehumidifiers by soaking up excess moisture.

Lightly oiling your metal tools may also help prevent rust.

Clean as a whistle

Aside from water, there are plenty of other substances that can damage tools if left after you’ve completed a job.

Dust and grease are the most common and are quite good at building up and clogging machine parts, so be sure to wipe down tools after use to ensure they’ll work just as well the next time you pick them up.

Cord care

Power tools with cords add an extra dimension of care to the scene. Simply throwing the tool (or placing it, even) back in a jumbled box is not going to do you or the tool any favours the next time you want to use it.

Also, try to avoid wrapping the cord around the tool for storage. While it looks tidy, the shape of tools and harsh angles can damage the wiring. Instead, coil them up and use a hook or fastener to hold the cord in place until your next use.

Don’t forget to be wary of cords during use, as it’s easy to trip over plugged in tools or stand on cords, which can harm the wiring (not to mention make you fall over too).

Don’t ignore signs of wear

If you’re hiring your tools, you shouldn’t come across any wear and tear, but if you do, or if the tools are your own, don’t ignore it. With hiring, you should be able to quickly swap out the tool for one that is in proper working order, and if you own the piece of equipment, you can take it to your local hardware store to ask about repairs.

Imperfections such as dull blades, cracked cords, wobbly handholds and a number of other issues can take your tool from useful and reliable to unpredictable and unsafe.