TLC for Power Tools
Clean, lubricate, and adjust them regularly. You'll get years of faithful service in return.
Keep the Juice Flowing
Just like a car, your woodworking equipment will work better and last longer with regular maintenance. How often do you need to stop building projects and start cleaning your machinery? That depends on how much you use a given tool.
If you're a hobbyist who works in the shop now and then, set aside one Saturday every year for checking and cleaning tools. If you're running a tablesaw all day, every day, you should clean it every couple of weeks.
Here, we've laid out the essential maintenance steps for some common workshop equipment.
- Cords. Check for frayed spots; check plugs for burned prongs. If you find any flaws, replace the cord and plug.
- Brushes. These actually are solid blocks of carbon. Some are accessible beneath two screw-on covers on the motor housing; others require removal of the housing. Replace the brushes if you find rainbow colors on a spring, a collapsed spring-like the one being held above, or a broken copper lead inside a spring. Also replace any brush that's worn down near or past the limit mark on its side or shows signs of burning or chipping.
- Arcing. Peer through the vent slots while the motor is running. You should see small sparks at each brush. But if sparks trail around the motor, have the tool checked at a repair shop.
- Grounding. Touch a continuity tester from the grounding prong on the plug to any metal on the tool. A reading shows that the tool is safely grounded.