Tools – About Buying, Using, and Maintaining Your Tools
My tool drawer 12 years ago contained the following: a
hammer, needle-nosed pliers, and a Philips screwdriver.
That’s it. If I needed a flat screwdriver, I used a butter
knife. If I needed to measure something, I used a ruler.
If I needed to drive a screw, I asked my neighbor to do it
This was a state soon altered when I married a journeyman
electrician and we moved onto 4 acres in the mountains and
started building a house – with our own hands. If I knew
then, how much I didn’t know then, I never would have
believed we could do it.
But, we did build the house. And then we constructed a
greenhouse with garden shed. Next, we raised a free-
standing wood shed. Our ultimate achievement was when we
finished constructing our timber framed barn.
As we added buildings to our compound, we added tools to
our collection. For starters, my husband gave me a tool
belt equipped with a good hammer, speed square, measuring
tape, and utility knife for a birthday present soon after
we began building the house.
I loved having my own set of tools with me at all times.
With these, and my newly developed chop-saw skills, I was
set for a while.
As I acquired more confidence with the power tools, I
could take on more aspects of the house-building. Soon, I
needed my own screw-gun, and a circular saw that was easy
for me to manage, (unlike our 1970s Skil saw that had a
tricky switch and weighed about as much as I do).
For my next present, I got the five-piece DeWalt power-
tool kit. It is pure pleasure to work with good tools.
With the DeWalt kit, I had a light weight, battery powered
circular saw; a super powerful cordless drill; a saws-all
(reciprocating saw), and high powered flashlight, all in
As we added tools to our collection and I learned to use
them, I realized some general principles about buying,
using, and maintaining equipment.
About buying tools, the central principle is this: it
never pays to cheap-out on tools.
Even for the ones we rarely use, like the bow saw, it’s
better just to spend the extra money in the first place.
Otherwise, you’re eventually going to have to go out and
replace the cheap tool that breaks the second time you use
it, or that performs poorly and wastes your time and
This advice holds true for everything from paintbrushes to
table-saws. Make the extra investment. It’s worth it
because it will save you time and headache.
About using tools, the central principle is this: get the
right tool for the job, and then work within the operating
capacity of that tool.
For example, my light-weight battery powered circular saw
could cut a green 4 x 6 if I had a super-charged battery
and I forced it. But that’s not what the little saw is
meant to do, and I could damage it, mangle the wood, injure
myself, or have some other problem from using the tool for
something it wasn’t designed to do. Using the right tool
properly contributes to your efficiency and overall
pleasure in the process.
About maintaining tools. Well, consider this. Once
you’ve made the investment and you’ve gotten into the habit
of using the tool properly for the job it’s meant to do, if
you also put a little attention on maintenance, then most
good tools will last a life-time.
Keep it simple and do-able. For most tools, all you have
to do is keep them dry, blow the saw dust out of them
before you put them away, and keep them in a safe place.
For battery powered tools, keep the batteries fully
charged for a long life and better performance. Keep blades
sharp on saws so the motor doesn’t have to work as hard.
Generally, take care of your investment. If you just do a
little maintenance as you use each tool, you’re all set.
john hagee august 30 2016
#Tools #Buying #Maintaining #Tools