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We maintain our tools for two reasons: on the one hand to retain their effectiveness and ensure their preservation, and on the other to ensure the safety of the user.
Finally, maintaining a top quality tool will always be easier than for a low-price tool which will always be more fragile and wear more quickly.
» TOOL STORAGE:
- Never leave your tools fully exposed to the sun or out in the rain.
- Clean tools with water after use. Remove earth, stuck-on plant material or cement residue and then dry with a cloth.
- Remove any rust with a wire brush.
- Store tools in a dry, well ventilated place.
- Before storing for protracted periods, lubricate metal parts with oil.
- Always take advantage of the moment to inspect your tools and look for cracks, a loose screw or an impact or deformity likely to render your tool inefficient and dangerous.
: think about soaking the socket of a wooden handled tool in a bucket of water 24 hours before using it so that it swells and holds better in the steel part.
» SHARPENING CUTTING TOOLS:
More delicate than above and much easier if you buy a sharpened tool, ready to use and equipped with a honed and even cutting edge. Replacing the edge on a badly made axe is almost impossible without good training.
It is much easier to sharpen a cutting tool after each use (which will take less time and effort) than to wait until the tool does not cut at all any more. Sharpening is always done with a file or a sharpening stone from the inside to the outside and the two sides.
Be sure to retain the original angle for better efficiency. At the end remove the fine burr which forms on the cutting edge (wire edge) with a small stroke of the file held flat against the edge.
We absolutely do not advise the use of an angle grinder which could heat up the metal and draw the temper obtained during heat treatment. There are special sharpeners on the market which are very effective and designed for cutting tools. Tip
: before you start, colour the part to sharpen with a permanent black marker and continue sharpening until you can no longer see the ink on the blade. » REMOVING BURRS:
Whether it is on the head of a spike or a cold chisel, on the head of a wood splitting wedge and sometimes on the striking surface of a sledge hammer or maul, you will notice with use the appearance of a burr of material which will, little by little, crack around the circumference.
This burr is dangerous because it is usually sharp and small metal splinters can become detached and injure the user or someone close by.
On spikes, chisels and wedges this burr is normal because the tools are not hardened: it is necessary to regularly refresh the surface, remake the original chamfer, round over edges and remove with a file or grinder all burred over material.
For sledge hammers and mauls, the appearance of a burr can result from two different things:
- if the burr is produced quickly and cracks appear after an hour of use, there could be a defect in the metal or in the tool's heat treatment. You should stop using the tool and request a replacement under warranty from your supplier.
- on the other hand, if a light burr without cracks appears after intensive use, this is just normal aging which appears when two metal surfaces impact on each other. It is sufficient to simply refresh the surface, remake the chamfer and round the edges with a file or grinder.
In all cases using a grinder should only be done after reading the safety instructions in the instruction manual (wearing of safety gear) and in such a way as to avoid any overheating of the surface being ground, which could draw the temper obtained by heat treatment.
(replace the tool )
» MAINTENANCE AND REPLACEMENT OF HANDLES:
The choice of handle is as important as that of the tool. A high quality handle, whether made of wood or composite material (fibreglass), will always be easier to maintain and will last much longer.
The handle and the joint of the handle to the metal part must not break during use because there is a risk of injury to the user or someone close by.
The maintenance of wood and fibreglass handles is mainly limited to storing them out of the sun and away from water. Regularly rub a piece of fine glass paper over wooden handles to remove any possible splinters.
A visual examination of handles is very important: from the first appearance of cracks or significant wear on wooden or fibreglass handles (more than a third of their cross section), you should stop using the tool and proceed, if possible, to change the handle.
The choice of a replacement handle should be made at your dealer's by trial fitting the metal part and asking for the help of a specialist where necessary. Certain handle fitting operations, such as for wedge handles for example, are not advisable, as they are too technical and difficult to do without special tooling.
: choose tools where the handle is secured with a screw rather than a nail, or replace the nail with a screw. This will make it much easier to change the handle.
(changing a handle)
(with a nail)
(with a screw)