Hand Tool Care Hand Tool Safety
Most people don’t think about the need to care for and maintain hand tools, but there are things you can do to make them work better and last longer.
Tools with wooden handles
Keep tools dry
Hammers, axes, hatchets and other striking tools with wooden handles should be kept as dry as possible. They should never be stored with the head on a floor. Condensation can soak into the wood fibers and expand the wood fibers against the sides of the metal holes, crushing the fibers. When the fibers dry, the handle will be loose, which is a particularly bad thing with striking tools that are used with high velocity for high impact. A loose head can become separated from it’s handle at high speed, and cause physical injury to the user, or to property.
Keep tools sharp
Striking tools with sharp edges should be kept sharp. You might think that a sharp tool is more dangerous than a dull one, but the opposite is true. A dull tool requires more strength and energy to have the same effect. This extra energy expenditure causes fatigue and frustration, and leads to more accidents, plus, it slows the speed of work. Sharpening these tools is best done with a file in a vice. The file is bust used with long even pushing strokes going in one direction, and only against the blade with the cutting stroke. The reason for this is that pulling the file against the work on the non cutting stroke will dull the file.
Cutting tools like handsaws should be checked for handle tightness. Sharpening a handsaw can be a little difficult if you are not familiar with the process. It requires setting the teeth, a process of bending the teeth to the proper outward angle, filling all the teeth to the same level across the top, reshaping any teeth that no longer have a sharp tip as a result of such filing, and then sharpening the teeth to the original angle.
Some saws now available in this country are made after the Japanese style, which means that they cut on the pull stroke, and have no “set” on the teeth, which means that there is a more narrow “curf “, that is, the width of the cut made by the blade.
Metal tools like mechanics tools, pliers, and screwdrivers should be kept rust free, and a light coat of oil is great for this. Just be sure to wipe them dry when in use.
Garden tools should be checked for handle tightness, and the same rules as striking tools apply. Keep them clean, and a coating of linseed oil will help to protect them from moisture and rust.
Storing hand tools
An important part of tool care is having a well organized proper place to store them. If you have a lot of hand tools, it would probably be wise to use some of them to build a place to store your tools. Garage storage can be a problem unless you have a specific area sectioned off just for tools,but, no matter where you store them, tools should be kept out of the weather for safety and longevity.
Do you have suggestions for caring for hand tools? We would love to hear from you! Leave your suggestions in the comment area.