7 ways to maintain your home workshop

A home workshop is a great place to pursue hobbies, such as woodworking, model making, and a repairing posessions. Here are some tips that will help you keep your workshop ready to make everything you own last longer.

7 ways to maintain your home workshop

1. Cushion your hand tools

  • Cut pieces of carpet to fit inside drawers where you store your hand tools — especially sharp-edged tools, such as planes and chisels.
  • This will prevent the tools from getting scratched or nicked.
  • Spray the carpet with oil lube to help prevent rusting.
  • Keep a piece of carpet or carpet liner on your workbench for resting your cutting tools as well.

2. Maintain your ladders

  • Ladders are among the simplest of tools, but unless kept in top shape, they can be among the most dangerous.
  • Protect wooden ladders with a clear varnish, shellac, linseed oil or other wood preservative.
  • Don't paint a wooden ladder, because the paint could hide defects.
  • Sand splinters until smooth and reseat, replace or resecure any loose fasteners. Inspect metal ladders for burrs and sharp edges, and file them smooth.
  • Check the protective lacquer coating on fibreglass ladders. If it's scratched or abraded, sand lightly and apply a coat of lacquer.
  • Regardless of what your ladder is made of, lubricate the hardware, such as pulleys and spring-loaded rung locks.
  • Replace rope if you notice it's fraying.

3. Hang your shop broom

  • The lowly shop broom requires some care if it's to perform well.
  • When it's not in use, hang it on the wall with a spring-loaded broom clip (available at most hardware stores).
  • It will keep the bristles from curling.
  • Brooms with nylon bristles last the longest and are not affected by moisture or chemicals.

4. Choose a rechargeable fire extinguisher

  • A fire extinguisher is a must for any workshop.
  • For years of service, buy a commercial-quality rechargeable model.
  • It should be rated ABC for fighting all common types of fire, including ordinary materials (type A fire), flammable liquids (type B) and electrical (type C).

5. Preserve your extension cords

  • Wind your workshop extension cords onto a reel to protect them from damage due to spills, burns and abrasion.
  • Another way to keep extension cords out of harm's way is to hang them overhead.
  • Install several bicycle hooks in your workshop ceiling.
  • Loop the extension cord over the hooks while you work.

6. Mount outlet strips on a vertical surface

  • Outlet strips are real timesavers in the workshop.
  • You can have several tools plugged in at once so you don't waste time plugging and unplugging them.
  • To prevent the sockets from becoming fouled with sawdust, dirt and spills, don't mount the strips horizontally.
  • Instead, mount them on the side of your workbench, on a wall, or under a shelf above your bench.

7. Extend the life of fluorescent tubes

  • If the fluorescent bulbs in your work area are darkening, try reversing them end to end.
  • Although this is a temporary solution, you're likely to get several months of additional service from your bulbs.
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