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How do you care for your power tools?


wayneburgess

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Each time a complete a project I blow all the dirt and dust off them and out of them as much as I possibly can with my air compressor. I wipe them down with a damp cloth to get any grease, residue, or additional dirt off. If any rust spots form I take it off with a wire brush and hit them with a little 3 in 1 oil. Now, as I've said before, I don't make a living with them so I understand that not everyone can do this level of maintenance. My father in law makes fun of me for cleaning my tools but I just can't help it. I keep them as clean as I possibly can. The rubber over mold is especially aggravating because if you don't wipe it down it starts to look grey. Do other people do this shit or am I just overly obsessive about this?

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My experience in the trades is on large scale union jobs like power plant and bridge rebuilds. Most often the company would furnish power tools while the workers were required to furnish hand tools. You'd have to go "check out" your power tools from a tool room and take them back when you were done. I had a job in the tool room for awhile. Best job I ever had. Got paid $28 an hour to fiddle with tools. The last job I had before I started railroading was rebuilding a boiler unit at a power plant for Babcock & Wilcox which is a giant nationwide contractor.

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I perform regular maintenance on my tools, beyond keeping the exterior clean, I take apart most of my regularly used tools every six months or so and with my less commonly used tools yearly, to clean and grease them. I can't believe how many professionals don't do this. This has allowed me to keep my well built tools, running for ages, and I often catch problems before they can become tool killing problems. I always check the bearings, switches, and gearcases. Blowing out switches and cleaning the old grease out of the gearcase before relubricating. I am a big fan of Stihls high performance gear lubricant, (0781 120 1118) as it is meant to hold up under high speed and heat. For any tools that have spline drive, I use Hondas moly paste (08734-0001) on the splines. I feel Krytox is overkill for a power tool ($$$ lol) although it is a superior lube.

The rubber over mold is especially aggravating because if you don't wipe it down it starts to look grey. Do other people do this shit or am I just overly obsessive about this?

Yes, I try to keep my tools clean as possible. I wish I could get all my tools without rubber overmolds. It is almost always the first thing to wear out and make a tool ugly and uncomfortable to use. If your working around anything greasy it tend to hold the grease rather than let it be able to be wiped off easily. I also hate when the edges start peeling up, and how if you remove the rubber your left with a tool that is almost useless.

At least they feel good on the showroom floor...

Over here in the U.K we don't use air tools on site.

No pneumatic nailers??

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Geez man, I always blow the dust out of my power tools, I oil the parts that require it, and I handle them as gently as I can, but it you take them apart and all that, what excuse will you ever have to buy new ones? I understand the economics aspect, but I'm always looking for a good reason to be tool shopping. Hand tools on the other hand, I want them to live 10 years longer than my grandchildren. Seems that power tool technology changes often enough that I want to upgrade every now and then, where as hand tool advancements are usually very minor and few and far between. I know that sounds crazy, but maybe I am a little crazy.

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but it you take them apart and all that, what excuse will you ever have to buy new ones? I understand the economics aspect, but I'm always looking for a good reason to be tool shopping. Seems that power tool technology changes often enough that I want to upgrade every now and then, where as hand tool advancements are usually very minor and few and far between. I know that sounds crazy, but maybe I am a little crazy.

What have they improved with your most basic power tools in the last 50 years?

1. drill

2. circular saw

3. jigsaw

4. reciprocating saw

I'll run just about any one of my 30 plus year old tools against todays crop and most of the times I'll come out ahead. Take a tool like my 30 year old Black & Decker Sawcat and compare it to any modern saw. The only thing it is missing are things of dubious value like lasers and lights, and it still has the fastest blade brake I’ve ever seen. The Sawzall and jig saw suffer a little in lacking any orbital action and quick blade releases, but you put a good blade on them and your still good to go. And another oddity, I can still go to my local Home Depot and get 9.6 volt batteries for my old Makita cordless tools, and those batteries tend to last 5-7 years verses todays tool batteries lasting less than 5 years. There is NO reason you should not be handing down power tools to your grandchildren, other than the fact that the manufacturers no longer stock replacement parts. Back in the day, tools were made to last a lifetime, not like today, when the manufacturers make their tools just good enough to last a few years, so you don't jump the brands ship, to buy again, so they can reap ever more profits.

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" What have they improved with your most basic power tools in the last 50 years?

1. drill

2. circular saw

3. jigsaw

4. reciprocating saw "

I was really thinking more in the line of cordless tools when I posted this. Cordless tools weren't really a viable option for pro users just a few years ago. Even if the batteries last in terms of service life, they lacked the power and run time to replace electric tools in most cases. Now it is entirely possible for a pro to completely cut the cord for all but a few tools, maybe not always the best idea, but possible. 700+ in/lbs of torque and 2,000+ rpm in a cordless drill? unthinkable a few years ago. The advances in run time and the fact that a battery could sufficiently power a sawzall, circular saw, or a miter saw for any amount of time no matter how short is a fairly new concept. I can take an SDS hammer and make all but the very best 10 or 15 year old hammer drills look like children's toys. Innovations in most tools, especially electric tools are small, but they are innovations none the less. How much more versatile is a sawzall with orbital settings? a drill or screwdriver that eliminates the need for a flashlight? or the convenience of a jig saw with tool-less blade changes? The answer is really dependent upon the value it offers to the individual user. When your on top of a ladder or in a crawl space a little innovation can go a long way. The basic functionality of most tools will never change, but that doesn't mean the innovation is without use. Hell, look at the thousands of man hours saved collectively by the keyless drill chuck alone. If we do not support innovation there will be no innovation. With jig saws they've gravitated toward lower centers of gravity, placing more weight over the blade, and tighter nose to blade specs that have really improved the overall experience of using one. A car performs the same basic function it did 100 years ago, it gets you from point A to point B. However, if your still using your Model T to do it, it's going to take a hell of a lot longer, be a lot less comfortable, and a lot less enjoyable. I agree, things are not made to the quality standards they once were and there's nobody any more pissed off about it than me, but what do you do when there isn't a viable alternative? It's all up to the individual, if you wan't to stick to a 25 year old jig saw then God bless you, You enjoy tooled blade changes then I commend you, Me? well, I just want a good enough reason to upgrade every 10 years or so.

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Man taking them apart? I know what would happen to me. I would put them back together and have parts left over. Or I would put them back together and when I pulled the trigger, I would hear screws loose and stuff rattling inside. You are dedicated, that's awesome. I would like to say I blow them out and wipe them clean, but by the time I get done on a job, I am tired and just want to go home. When I get a new tool, I will do it the first couple of times. I do have to say it does pay to keep them clean. I have had tool break before their time and I know if I was cleaning them, they would have lasted a lot longer.

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Cordless tools weren't really a viable option for pro users just a few years ago. Even if the batteries last in terms of service life, they lacked the power and run time to replace electric tools in most cases. Now it is entirely possible for a pro to completely cut the cord for all but a few tools, maybe not always the best idea, but possible. 700+ in/lbs of torque and 2,000+ rpm in a cordless drill? unthinkable a few years ago. The advances in run time and the fact that a battery I can could sufficiently power a sawzall, circular saw, or a miter saw for any amount of time no matter how short is a fairly new concept

How about this for a concept, Instead of the manufacturers offering completely new tools they offer us a way to retrofit our old tools with upgrades? People modify things all the time, look what the hot rod guys do to old cars. I have seen a model Ts quarter in the 12s that had a comparable ride quality to a modern car.

A lot features you mention have been around for ages. I believe the voltage race has been a marketing strategy, put on by the manufacturers to string people along into buying bigger and "better" tools. I remember back in about 1978 or so seeing a prototype 24v cordless drill that could run on either an attached battery or a battery pack that you could wear on you belt. . I remember the guy showing it off saying that people where not ready for such a tool and that it would not be marketed at the time because it was to heavy and people wanted nice light drills like the 7.2 internal battery drills that were being marketed at the time. So it was not a case of not being able to make them, it was a case of the manufacturers not thinking we wanted them. I will concede on the different battery chemistries, but does this really warrant new tools, A few manufacturers have actually made their batteries backward compatible.

Key less chucks have been on power drills since the 20s and even well before then on the original cordless drills, the brace. B & D even had a really neat combination keyed and key less chuck offered through the 50s and into the 70s that could be operated with an allen key. A lot of what you were seeing here was our patent system at work. Like what happened when MultiMasters patent on the multi-tool expired. You do have a point on the roto hammers, my old one vibrates a bit more than a modern one, but I have to wonder how many of todays tools will still be working in 30 or 40 years or will have been replaced every three or four years as they wear out.

There were a few vintage tools that were equipped with lights unfortunately the manufacturers chose to put them on their low end tools more as a marketing gimmick rather than something that was actually useful to a professional. Back in the day most pros would have laughed them off as a marketing gimmick, I can remember hearing that pros don't work in the dark, why do we need a saw with a headlight.

As for jigsaws, Have you ever tried an old Porter Cable 548? Many old tools have no comparison to new tools and command prices 4-5 times higher than what they sold for new, and easily twice what they ask for todays tool. like Skil 100 "surfboard" planer, Porter-Cable 126 Porta-Plane, the original Black & Decker Super Sawcat, to name a few.

It really burns me, to know that I'll be buying a new tool every three or four years or often less because the manufacturers won't build a durable tool, and then they pass off these minor modifications off as groundbreaking improvements worthy of another couple hundred dollars of my money. When it would not take that much more effort to build out a tool that would last and to make it easy to modify for future improvements.

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"I will concede on the different battery chemistries, but does this really warrant new tools, A few manufacturers have actually made their batteries backward compatible."

In some cases I would say yes, others no. For example, When Milwaukee changed platforms they incorporated the redlink technology. Whether or not you see it as a benefit all depends. My M18 tools with Red Lithium batteries (all of which are pre-fuel) are equipped with the overload protection and the charger safeguards the battery as it will not begin the charging process until the battery cool to within the optimal temperature range, and so on and so on. It really wasn't used as a big marketing point, it was mentioned in the product description, but it was in no way intended to be a selling point. Now that they've introduced the fuel line they gave it a fancy name and use it as a minor selling point when in reality it isn't new at all. It may do something a little extra, but the functionally is the same. However, even though though it's not an entirely new feature and it alone didn't warrant a new tool line, it's useful though sometimes annoying. Then we have Dewalt standing in the corner like a scorned woman afraid to commit. They put out the 20V Max line and generate all this buzz and then sit on it for a while without releasing any tools beyond their initial releases. They release the Nano base battery to reap the benefits in run time and shelf stability that Li-ion offers but they're somewhat hindered in regards to onboard electronics by the stem battery design. We all know 20V Max is the future, but if the nano base batteries offer the same runtime and other Li-Ion benefits, and they're still producing XRP tools, what the hell is the point of 20V Max at all? The only logical answer is to phase out the stem batteries. What is the only reason to phase out the stem batteries? To create the room required for onboard electronics. The point here is that Dewalt must see the OBE's as being important enough to change lines. The tools are exactly the same in terms of looks and specs, they cost roughly the same, the battery life and performance is the same, we've already established that the 20V is actually 18V anyway, other than OBE's what could possibly be enough of a benefit to have the 20V Max line at all? Now we're staring the brushless era straight in the face and suddenly Dewalt is now in a 3 generation love triangle. You can get 20V Max performance out of the Nano base XRP, you know the brushless tools are on their way, so if you were buying a Dewalt tool today why would you buy a brushed 20V Max tool? If you needed a tool that wasn't offered in a 20V version what kind of jackass would you feel like to drop $300 or more on an XRP tool that's soon to be 3 generations old? Dewalt really isn't in that much different of a situation than everyone else, it just seems worse because of the nano base factor. If I were a Dewalt guy I'd be foaming at the mouth.

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Tools are designed to get dirty, but dust building up in the vital parts over time will shorten the life of the tool. There's a difference between a tool user and a tool enthusiast, We are the latter. If we weren't, we wouldn't spend hours on here talking about them.

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Actually, I have never thought about to do the very careful maintenance to my tools machine, like taking care of a baby, as I don't think a little dust occasionally on it will do great harm.

Kind of like never changing the oil in your car, and just tossing it in the garbage and buying a new one when it breaks down...

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