Basic Repairs for Portable Power Tools
When a tool won't run, look for a faulty cord, switch or worn-out brushes
Synopsis: Robert M. Vaughan, who repairs and restores woodworking machinery for a living, shares some trade secrets in this article. He talks about how to troubleshoot a tool that won’t start by checking the cord for breaks, testing for a bad switch, and examining brushes. Parts are easily replaceable, he says, and he guides you through repairing cords and plugs, preparing raw wire ends, testing cords and switches, and replacing brushes. Then he discusses when it’s worth taking a malfunctioning tool to a professional or replacing it.
A portable power tool is a small universal motor with a wood-shaping instrument on one end and a woodworker on the other. Mechanical details among drills, routers or belt sanders may vary. But the basic electrical components, such as cords, switches and brushes, are similar, no matter what the machine.
When a power tool won’t start, it’s a good bet that…