Tips to Keep Your Tradie Tools in Good Working Condition
Have you ever tried cutting a wire with an old and rusty scissor? Not easy, right? Without the appropriate and well-conditioned tools to use, the efficiency and quality of your work as a tradie are compromised. This is why it’s essential to always keep your tools in good working condition.
We outline the following tips and tricks to keep your tools in good working condition. See which ones you haven’t done yet then add them to your tool care and maintenance routine.
How you handle your tools affects their durability and service life. Proper usage not only keeps your equipment in good working condition, but it also increases your productivity and prevents workplace injuries that could sideline you temporarily or permanently.
- Use only the appropriate tools for each task. This will avoid tool damage and ensure proper operation. Using a pair of pliers as a hammer or hammering on the pliers handles to cut thicker wires or bolts does only nothing but damage your pliers and slows down your work.
- Always keep industrial machine parts that rub together well-lubricated. Lubricants reduce friction around any moving parts. Equipment that rubs together without lubrication encounter stress and can be damaged easier.
- Stop using a tool when you hear a “funny” noise. No matter how busy you are at work, do not ignore any funny noise that comes out from a piece of equipment you’re using. The noise usually means something’s not right with the equipment and it needs to be checked ASAP.
Each tool usually takes a few seconds to clean, but it can save you a lot of time and money spent on repairs that could have been avoided with regular cleaning.
Different sets of tradie tools require different types of cleaning:
- Wash dirty hand tools with soap and water then dry them well afterwards.
- Simply wipe down the dusty ones with a clean cloth or rag.
- Remove rust and corrosion from metal tools. Rub the surface rust with fine steel wool, Scotch-Brite pad or a wire wheel on a grinding stone. Follow this up with the application of mineral spirits to help remove grime.
- Apply a protective coating on metal tools to keep them getting rusted again. Wipe the tools clean with a rag then apply a light coat of machine oil over the entire metal surface. You can also use here commercially available protective coatings, such as the Corro-Protection Spray and the G15 Corrosion Inhibitor.
- For wooden tools, simply wipe them with a rag dampened with linseed oil, which serves as a protective coating and protects the wooden tools from moisture, mildew and mould.
- You can wash garden tools with soap and water if necessary then dry and oil them up, just like hand tools.
- For faster cleaning, you can also use a bucket of oiled sand. Simply stab or plunge the metal blades of the garden tool into the sand. To make oiled sand, pour 3/4 quart mineral oil or linseed oil into a 5-gallon bucket of sand. The sand should be damp but not moist.
- While motor oil can clean your tools, they can be harmful to your garden soil so it’s best to stick with mineral or linseed oil.
- Unplug the power tool before cleaning.
- Dust-proof each tool using an air compressor.
- Wipe down the tool ’s surface with a clean cloth.
- Lubricate any moving parts with machine oil.
- Read the instruction manual that comes with each power tool and follow any specific cleaning and maintenance requirements.
Toolbox, Bags and Belts
- Empty and wipe your toolbox clean at least once a month.
- For tool bags, pouches, belts and tool holders that are made of leather, empty out all the side pockets then turn them upside down and shake vigorously to remove any dirt and debris from the inside. Remove any dirt from the seams and crevices using a brush with soft bristles. Use a vacuum cleaner on low suction power to clean out the interior. Apply a leather conditioner over each item to prevent flaking and wrinkling.
- For bags and belts that are not made of leather, a quick wash of soap and water should work just fine.
Storing your tradie tools and equipment properly make them easy to find when needed and helps keep them from damage.
- Keep your tools in a dry place. Basements and other enclosed spaces, including vans, can have humidity issues, especially if they are not heated or air-conditioned. If you keep your tools in these places, invest in a dehumidifier to keep the dampness down. You can set the humidity level on some dehumidifiers, turning it only when needed.
- Hang your garden tools. Moisture can easily creep up on concrete floors, so it’s better to keep your garden implements hanging on the walls even while inside your shed.
- Store power tools in their original cases. Store your power tools in their hard plastic cases so they are better-protected from humidity.
- Toss silica gel packs or rust collector in your toolbox and other storage pieces. This will keep moisture at bay. You can also buy rust inhibitors and anti-rust liners for drawers and shelves.
Inspection and Maintenance
Take the time to inspect your tools, not just every time you use them but also on a regular monthly or bimonthly schedule. This will help you spot and repair any defects early. Common tradie tool defects include:
- Loose, chips and splinters on hand tools. A minor crack or splinter on a hand tool’s handle can be repaired by sanding out the damaged area. Use finer grained sandpaper on the area until it's smooth. Finish with a protective coating of linseed oil. If the damage is notably large in size, it’s safe to replace the tool altogether.
- Mushroom heads. A mushroomed head on tools like chisels and other hand tools that should be sharp means that they’ve got malformed through constant use and could shatter on impact. You can solve and prevent this problem by keeping your tools sharpened at least every six months.
- Corrosion and rust. You can remove minor rust and grime on metal tools by rubbing the affected surface with fine steel wool then spritzing mineral spirits. If the damage is considerable, however, the tool may be unsafe to use and replacement is necessary.
- Crack on the housing, frayed insulation and exposed wires of power tools. Since power tools are intricately designed, any defects on them are best inspected and repaired by a professional.
Keeping your tools in good working condition by properly using, cleaning, storing them will save you time and money on costly repairs. However, every tool has its lifespan. No matter how much you take good care of them, they will eventually break down due to everyday wear and tear.
If you need to replace your tools and equipment without touching your savings or investment capital, get an Equipment Loan at Positive Lending Solutions. Call 1300 722 210 fill out the Quick Quote form to talk with one of our equipment finance specialists.