All About Power Tool Maintenance
Machinery and power tools are a big investment, and maintaining your tools overtime is essential if you want to get the most from your purchase.
• Stick to the basics: Motor overhauls should be left to a professional. However, there are some operations that the nonprofessional can handle.
• Perform regular tune-ups: You can keep a power tool ticking by maintaining some basic components.
• Restoring vintage iron: With a little TLC, WWII-era machinery is still some of the best running around.
Stick to the basics
Tending to many of the maladies that keep a power tool from optimum performance is work best left to a professional. However, there are a few basic repairs that a woodworker can perform with a little knowledge and some basic equipment. The power cord and plug are the first components to check on a faulty tool. Make sure that the cord is free of cuts or abrasions. You can also check the switch to see that it is properly connected to allow current to flow to the motor. Some power tools, including routers, have a pair of brushes that might need to be repaired or replaced as they wear down over time.
Perform regular tune-ups
If you own large machinery like a cabinet-style tablesaw or bandsaw, preventive maintenance is the best way to prolong the life of the tool. Flattening tool surfaces and tabletops, cleaning off resin and sawdust buildup, keeping parts lubricated, maintaining the operation of wheels and bearings, and checking electrical components for damage should all be performed on a regular schedule.
Restoring vintage iron
When you see a 60-year-old bandsaw for the first time, you understand why so many woodworkers employ vintage machinery in their shops. The cast-iron frames of old machines are built like tanks, and they have a limited number of moving parts (none of which are plastic) that can typically be restored by a handy shop smith.