7 savvy tips for making your tools last a lifetime

October 9, 2015

Homeowners shy away from doing their own household repairs because they either don't know what tool they need or they don't want to buy it. Trust the right tool to save you money.

7 savvy tips for making your tools last a lifetime

Spring for a decent set of screwdrivers

Some things are great to keep around generation after generation. Slotted screwdrivers aren't one of them.

  • After prolonged use, screwdrivers tend to wear down. Their blades grow thin and rounded where they should be sharp.
  • Pretty soon, you're stripping screws and ruining woodwork with slips and gaffs.

Save paint longer

Too often, homeowners leave leftover paint in its original can.

  • Labels fall off, cans rust, air leaks in and the paint goes bad.
  • Instead, store paint in glass jars. Not only can you instantly tell the colour of the paint inside, but jars are more airtight than cans.

Clean paintbrushes better—and less often

How many times have you gotten lazy and thrown away a perfectly good paintbrush because you didn't want to face the mess of cleaning it?

  • If you're painting with oil and will be again the next day, you don't have to clean it. Just remove the excess paint from your brushes and rollers and then wrap them tightly in aluminum foil or plastic wrap. This will keep them from drying out.
  • Many of today's water-based paints contain resins similar to those used in oil-based paints to improve adhesion, gloss and durability.
  • After cleaning and rinsing the brush or roller in water, try a second rinse in paint thinner or turpentine to completely clean it. Afterwards, wash with clean, soapy water to remove the thinner.

Find studs for less

Instead of some expensive stud-finding gadget that may or may not work, turn your electric razor on and run it along the wall.

  • You'll hear a change in the vibration as you cross a stud with it.

Duct tape is not perfect

Although the manufacturers of duct tape would like you to believe this silvery cloth tape can fix any problem, the truth behind the hype is that it's not all it's cut out to be.

  • Oh, it's fine in a pinch, but duct tape is almost always a temporary solution.
  • Even the pros who work on heating and air-conditioning systems will tell you it's not the best way to attach ducts. It deteriorates and turns to powder over time. That's on metal, the surface best suited for duct tape.
  • When used on glass and plastic, duct tape can peel away within months, especially when exposed to sunlight.

Clean your belt sander

Belts always seem to gum up prematurely, before the sanding surface is worn down.

  • Replacement belts can cost four or five bucks each.
  • Instead of tossing them when they gum up, try this trick: secure the sander upside down (clamp it or have someone hold it) and press the rubber sole of your shoe to the belt. It will come clean, allowing you to use it much longer.

Keep your tools from getting rusty

Moisture in the air invites rust, and if the moist air gets into your toolbox or tool drawer, it corrodes the tools.

  • One good way to keep the air in your toolbox dry is to drop in some packets of silica gel, sold at hardware stores and craft shops.

A good set of tools can last a lifetime or longer, if taken care of properly. Not only will this save you a ton of cash in the long-run, but your tools will be more effective when you are working. It's a win-win!

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