Home Forums General Discussion Forum Tool Maintenance & Care

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    chris mabbott

      Good morning my brothers in addiction… As I sit here on the last morning of this year, in candle light, with coffee and cig, I’ve just had an epiphany regarding tool maintenance.

      I’ve been away on and off for the past month, so I haven’t had the time to go into my dungeon. Last night I went down to find a place for some newly acquired tools that were a gift to self :) and No, contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t make you a sad human being when you buy your own Xmas gifts, in fact, it’s fantastic because you always receive what you want, from your favorite person in the WHOOOLE world 😆

      So I noticed that I had the beginnings of oxidation on my WW lathes, and on my tweezers, which really chaps my hide as I normally have an oily cloth that I wipe everything down with, but NOT the tweezers.

      I’m constantly in conflict with the forces of nature that love to attack my tweezers, and I’m speaking of my favorite classics, the steel dumonts.. 1 – 5c, my most used tool..

      Anyway, I’m curious to hear what your maintenance plan is for your tools, from the lowly broach, the WW lathe collets, up to your largest piece of equipment, as nothing is spared from rust, dirt and finger acid..

      1. The daily plan, after a single use
      2. The the week/month plan. Do you grease/oil the lubrication points
      3. What are your selection of oils/greases anti oxidation products
      4. Do you set aside a day just for tool maintenance? i.e regular upkeep of screwdriver blades or as needed, sharpening tweezers tips and maintaining their flat smooth inside surface etc
      5. Drill bits, oiling/sharpening.
      6. Lathe motor maintenance
      7. Tension/ inspection of drive belts
      8. Lubrication of lathe spindle bearings/sleeves
      9. Alignment of lathe head/tailstock

      We spend a lot of dosh on our equipment, and for myself, who knows better, I’m surprisingly lax in this area as I find I waste a lot of time when doing a job, only to find I have to take time out to….. Sharpen a drill bit for example, or to find where I put it the last time I used it.. But it’s like the auto mech that has the worst running vehicle 😆

      I am making a conscious effort to put things away after I use them, and to wipe it down/touch it up or re sharpen if needed.

      I’d be interested to hear ya’lls thoughts and practices.. A new year begins with a new plan, even if it is plan P or Y


        Hi there Chris,
        Great topic question, dude. Lord knows, if we don’t take care of our tools, they’ll fail us at some point.
        On a daily basis, I’ll admit I’m not as prudent with my duties as far as tweezers, drivers, blower goes. Screwdrivers go in their box (no not anything fancy, just an old Exacto Kit wooden box), everthing else, a neat layout on the bench.
        Begining of the month, I change the filter in the Air conditioner, do a major vacumming and cleaning around the shop (dusting, sweeping, vacume).
        Machines I approach a little differently,
        Watchmakers lathe – oil bearings with transmission oil every use. I also disengage the belt drive after every use, so as to not have a dry spot on the bearings, next time I use it. Clean with brush and cotton rag after every use. Keep covered when not in use.
        Lathe and Milling machine in shop – Clean after every use. Way oil on the ways. Non detergent oil everywhere else. As soon as I notice any amount of runout, I adjust the bearings as needed.
        I don’t set one day aside for tool maitenance because, some tools need more attention than others.
        All precision tools such as test indicators, dial indicators, micrometers, depth indicators are cleaned before use, used, cleaned after use, put away in there boxes or cases. CLA when needed, not all the time because of care taken after every use.
        I pretty much put every tool back where it belongs because, I’m an old fart and I get pissed off when I can’t find something I need, when I need it.

        Again great topic, any questions, ask away!!

        bernie weishapl

          Great topic. My machines are cleaned every time I use them. All bits, etc are sharpened and cleaned but put away right after I use them. Bench tools I check once a week or so to clean and repair if needed. I was always taught tools are you life line to work and if they are broke or don’t work you don’t put money in the bank so I have always been a stickler about putting things away, keeping tools sharp, and cleaning them.


            Well, I can’t say I can add a whole lot to this conversation, but I will say this much: I’m not as fastidious as some may be…but when something needs doing, it then kind of reveals itself, and what needs to be done. For my workbench, I find it useful to, after a major servicing, operation, or some other big-deal, to get everything back in order, to clean under things, blow it out (I keep a can of air close by, and when it’s safe, I’ll use that while I lift things,) etc.

            A clean bench is a happy bench. An organized work space is one that serves the watchmaker. I like to feel good when I’m working on something, and well, this kind of stuff makes me feel good!


            Tim :)

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