Good quality tools can be an investment for life!
Therefore, the right choice in which one you will invest is of great importance.
In my previous blogs, you could already read which are the 9 essential power tools to start with woodworking and my top 10 recommended hand tools.
However, it doesn’t stop by investing in the right tools, you will also need to maintain your tools properly.
Taking good care of your tools means you can save money by making tools last longer and not having to reinvest in new tools.
Maintaining them regularly will not only extend the life of the tool but make any repair or project in your home easier, safer and more successful.
Regardless of the type of tool, be it hand tools, power tools, or air tools, it is very important to take care of your tools to get the right benefit from them.
Read this article with 10 simple tips to save money by making your tools last longer.
There is also a FREE maintenance checklist available to help you with your tool maintenance. Be sure you don’t miss that!
If you want to see more money-saving tips, check out my article, 7 ways to save money as a woodworker.
- What categories of tools can we find in a woodworking workshop?
- 10 Simple tips to make your tools last longer and save money
- Tip 1 | Quality tools last longer
- Tip 2 | Store tools in their place
- Tip 3 | Keep your tools dry
- Tip 4 | Keep your tools clean
- Tip 5 | Keep your tools rust free
- Tip 6 | Keep your tools sharp
- Tip 7 | Lubricate moving parts
- Tip 8 | Inspect & restore
- Tip 9 | Rub tools with oil
- Tip 10 | Keep batteries in shape
- Short summary
What categories of tools can we find in a woodworking workshop?
To make your tools last longer, it is a good idea to divide them into different groups.
This allows you to determine specific maintenance methods for this type of tool.
We can divide tools in a woodworking workshop into 3 groups:
Hand tools such as hammers, chisels, screwdrivers, and so on.
Power tools that we can subdivide into corded or cordless tools.
Air tools such as a nail gun with a compressor.
Hand tools can be both hammer and chisels, but also, for example, those small screw bits.
Although hand tools are generally cheaper to purchase, it is still a good idea to take care of them for longer life and more comfortable working.
This is why:
Use hand tools for which they are designed. Do not force them to do other actions that can damage them or, worse, break them.
Although many hand tools are protected by the chrome-plated vanadium steel, keep them well maintained after that job.
I will go into this in more detail later in this blog. So read on.
Power tools are in some cases a more powerful solution than hand tools such as a cordless screwdriver that replaces the screwdriver.
Other power tools are useful when it comes to working quickly and accurately.
In terms of maintenance, you can give power tools the same concerns as a hand tool, but with power tools, there is an electric motor and in case of cordless tools a battery that requires extra attention.
When purchasing, always consider whether you are going for a manual, air, or electric version of the tool.
Powertools best maintain their performance when used regularly. If you are sure that you will only use the tool a few times a year, you may want to switch to hand or air tools.
Using my cordless drill while building my adjustable miter sled
Pneumatics are tools that are driven by compressed air.
In the woodworking workshop, compressed air is often used for attaching parts with the nailgun.
But compressed air is also handy to blow off a workpiece or to use some other pneumatic tools.
Some extra care will be needed to make your pneumatic tool last longer.
Regularly check whether the air pressure gauge works properly. As a result, you always have the guarantee that the tool will be offered the optimum air pressure for which it was designed.
This way you can work smoothly and profitably and they will last longer.
The air compressor’s main problem is moisture. When air is compressed, the air warms up and the moisture present in the air condenses.
Drain your compressor regularly to avoid rust.
This moist air will travel to your tools via the air hose.
Therefore, to avoid rust in the tools, add a few drops of oil to the air fitting of the tool before and after using it.
If you consider buying a nail gun, be sure to watch my blog How to choose the right nail gun for your projects. A complete nail gun guide.
I have used my nail gun for almost every project since I bought it, so I can highly recommend buying one.
10 Simple tips to make your tools last longer and save money
Tip 1 | Quality tools last longer
Never buy the cheapest ones on the rack! Buying a quality tool makes this a long-term investment.
A quality tool can be more expensive to purchase, but you will quickly earn it back by having to purchase it only once or not having to carry out expensive repair costs in the future.
So, see it as an investment and not as a cost item.
Quality tools last longer.
Tip: Checked important properties such as the material used, the weight and strength of the steel, or the quality of the handle when you purchase a tool.
Tip 2 | Store tools in their place
I think it speaks for itself when I say that the life of your tools will extend significantly by not leaving them on the floor.
Removing the tool from the floor and storing it prevents them from bumping into each other or being damaged by other tools or yourself.
There are different options when you want to store tools depending on the type of tool. Do you remember the division into 3 groups: hand, power, and air tools?
For the storage of hand tools or smaller power tools, the use of a pegboard is a perfect solution. You can see all your tools at a glance and at the same time save space by using that bare wall.
Original cases included with the purchase of a power- or air tool are the best way to keep it. Hard plastic cases can make tools last longer by holding them against extreme conditions.
Toolboxes for portability.
If you don’t have enough space for the pegboard, and you don’t have the original container of the tool, you will have to find another solution.
A container, tool bag, toolbox, or drawers in your workbench can be a good alternative to keep your tools last longer.
This keeps your tools organized, and an extra advantage is that they are easy to transport.
You can use any combination of all of these to protect your tools and keep them in top condition.
Tip 3 | Keep your tools dry
Moisture and water can cause a problem and damage your tools. Even if you think they are stored dry, you will be surprised to find out how much moisture is in your workshop.
Moisture is not only present in the air, but can also easily penetrate concrete floors. Therefore, do not rest tools directly on the concrete, but hang or place it in a rack.
However, if you have no choice but to store your tools in a humid environment, consider investing in a dehumidifier.
When you buy power tools, the original packaging usually contains silica gel packaging. This is used to keep moisture away. Definitely leave this in the suitcase to protect them.
Tip 4 | Keep your tools clean
After each use, it is wise to clean your tools.
This can be done quickly and easily after finishing the job.
A small investment in time will make them last longer and can save you many annoyances and extra costs in the future.
Cleaning hand tools is simple. Most hand tools can be cleaned by wiping them with a cloth.
If the tool is so dirty that it cannot be cleaned with just a cloth, use soap and water.
Make sure you dry them well afterward and oil them (for more info see tip number 9)
When cleaning power tools, always make sure that the tool is turned off and unplugged before cleaning.
Before cleaning your power tool, always consult the manual that came with the tool.
Keep dust away by blowing away the dirt with an air compressor.
Wipe the surface with a dry cloth and lubricate moving parts with grease (for more info see tip number 7).
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Tip 5 | Keep your tools rust free
Tools that are rarely or not used tend to rust.
To prevent them from rusting, you can treat them by rubbing them with oil, for example.
Do this after finishing a job when you have cleaned the tool and store it away.
Tip: If a tool does get rusty, a solution of 1 tablespoon of salt and just enough vinegar to make a thick paste can be rubbed on the metal in a circular motion to remove the iron oxide.
Repeat until all rust has been removed. Then rinse the tool with clean water.
Tip 6 | Keep your tools sharp
It is best to keep tools such as chisels and saw blades as sharp as possible. Not only will they last longer, but it will also be easier to use.
Tools such as chisels are sharpened from coarse grit to finer grit, with each grinding level getting a little finer.
At each level, the next finest grit is used to remove the marks from the grinding tool before.
Saw blades can be sharpened with a file or grinding disc on the angle grinder.
If you are unsure of sharpening your tools yourself, have this done by a specialized company nearby.
Tip 7 | Lubricate moving parts
If you want them to last longer and always require the best performance from your tools, you should keep lubricating moving parts.
The mechanics of a tool continue to run smoothly and it also reduces the chance of rusting.
Always check out the user manual to see which type of oil or lubricant is recommended.
Tip 8 | Inspect & restore
It is recommended before you start using your tools to quickly perform an inspection and repair where necessary.
In the first place, it ensures your safety but also improves the life of the machine.
Quickly check the following:
Corrosion and Rust: Replace the tool or try to remove the rust yourself.
Cracks, missing, or broken parts: Damage to the tool can cause injury during use.
Can all parts move freely: when difficult to move, clean, and lubricate first. If it still doesn’t work, repair the tool.
Always make sure that the power tool is turned off and unplugged before you perform the check.
Safety Tip: Be sure to read my blog “Workshop safety | What to put in a first aid kit | Free checklist“
Tip 9 | Rub tools with oil
To keep the metal rust-free and clean, you can rub your tools with an oily cloth.
You can use mineral oil or machine oils for this, but beeswax can also be used for this. The oil covers the tool and thus seals it from air and moisture, which causes rust formation.
By treating your material with oil they will be much easier to clean even after the next use.
Tip: Keep an oil-soaked cloth in a central location in your workshop and always use it to clean the tools.
Tip 10 | Keep batteries in shape
Battery-powered tools have become convenient and very popular in the workshop. In order for them to work efficiently and effectively, it is essential that their batteries are maintained to keep them last longer.
Remember at the beginning of this blog that when you barely use a tool a few times a year, you better switch to hand, air or cord tools?
That’s because batteries stop working if you don’t use them often.
Try to use batteries once every two weeks to avoid battery problems.
Do not drain your battery but charge Li-ion batteries when you notice the tool starting to slow down.
I made an awesome battery charging station. Check out that article to find inspiration or build the same charging station as mine thanks to the free plans.
If the battery contacts are dirty, clean them with cotton swabs and alcohol.
Store batteries that you will not use for a while in a dry and cool place.
Do not leave the battery on the charger, but keep it in the factory case.
Do not stock batteries where there is a high risk of overheating, freezing, or getting wet.
To give you a brief overview of all the tips to make your tools last longer, I will list them below for you.
Down below this blog you can download a FREE CHECKLIST where you can keep track of the maintenance of each tool. Don’t miss that and grab it now!
- Buy quality to start
- Store them in their place
- Keep them dry
- Keep them clean
- Keep them rust free
- Keep them sharp
- Lubricate moving parts
- Inspect and restore
- Rub them with oil
- Keep batteries in shape
Building your workshop can be daunting, filled with trial and error. Believe me, I’ve been there too.
But it was “The Ultimate Small Workshop” course, a gem I discovered and now endorse on Christofix.com, that provided insights unparalleled to any other. This expertise empowered me to invest wisely and save substantially.
I really suggest it to all of my fellow DIYers and creators!
I hope this information on how to make your tools last longer was helpful, and that this blog and video inspires you.
Let me know in a comment below.
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I’m looking forward to seeing you soon in another blog or video.
Christophe, founder of Christofix.com
Woodworking | DIY | Home decoration
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