Home Toolbuy News Maintenance of Power Tools in Fall and Winter

Maintenance of Power Tools in Fall and Winter

Dec 24,2008

Taking care of your tools is importantin winter. This is true for all equipment whether woodworking or metal working tools, like angle grinders, welders, etc. Clean them and they will work better and last longer. He said that the hardest thing on tools is fine dust, which can truly get everywhere. It gets into every moving part, clogging and wearing them. The motors are cooled via fans and vents and they need to be cleaned out regularly. This will reduce wear and possibly prevent major and expensive repairs over time.

As an example, I went to use my thickness planer and it was dead. Thinking the electrics were shot I brought it in for servicing. You can imagine my embarrassment when my service technician calmly popped out the carbon brushes and sawdust literally poured out. He blew the planer clean with a compressor, put the brushes back in and gave it back all without saying a word. If your power tool has carbon brushes and suddenly will not start, pull out the brushes and clean out the dust. If you have a plunge router, which doesn't want to plunge any more or will not plunge to it's full capacity, chances are the plunge shafts and springs are full of sawdust.

All motorized tools. Clean out the sawdust & debris from the motor and all moving parts regularly. Once clean, put some light oil on cranks, shafts, open gears, etc. Check the owner's manual for each tool for any special maintenance needed. Some tools need lubrication at specific points to stay in good working order.

Tools with carbon brushes. After cleaning, take out the brushes and inspect them. They all have indicator lines or notches to show when they have reached the end of their useful life. If you let them go to far the metal or plastic holder will start to rub against the armature and ruin it. This can be very expensive, some times 2/3 the original cost of the tool to replace. Brushes are relatively cheap so replace them when they need it.

Here are some key pieces to have on hand:

Snow Blower- Of course, if you live in the Deep South, this isn't a necessary tool. However, if you live anywhere where it snows, a snow blower is a great investment. If you've ever hand-shoveled a driveway, you know it's true. Power tools like a snow blower help you save time and muscle ache. There's also a safety issue here. If you let the difficulty of clearing the driveway deter you, it can lead to injuries. Slipping on ice from packed down snow is not fun. If you can simply blow it away, you're less likely to avoid the task. That´s better for you and your neighbors.

Chain Saw- This is essential for two fall/winter time chores. You can use it to cut much needed firewood without throwing out your back with an axe. Another very important use is for trimming back trees, especially if they are near power lines. A heavy snow or ice storm can break a limb, fall on the lines and cut the power. That's the last thing you need on a cold night in winter.

Cordless Drill- Of all the power tools, this is a great one to have around no matter what time of the year it is. But, for fall, you can use it to tighten or adjust the brackets on your gutters after you've cleaned them out. It also makes short work of storm door installation.

Power Washer- Fall is a great time to clean the windows and your siding. Investing in a power washer cuts time and makes sure you get all the dirt. Another cleaning in the spring is a good idea too. Once the windows are clean, you make sure they are sealed tight.

Generator- Ok, so this is not really a power tool, but it will keep them running (unless they're cordless) when the power is out. During the winter, an outage can be devastating. Freezing temperatures outside and no heat inside can be a nightmare. If you have a generator to turn to, you keep your power, stay warm and can also perform your repairs.

Before you set out to use your power tools, make sure you read the manuals for precautions and use. You don't want to cut off the wrong limb. Seriously, power tools can be dangerous so knowing how to use them is of utmost importance. It will also keep you from ruining whatever project you are working on. Once you drill a hole, it's there whether you want it to be or not. Take care of your tools too. Clean and put them away after every use to ensure they have a long life span.


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