Tool Maintenance

By John Alford

I was asked the question of how important proper tool maintenance is to our trade.
At first, I was taken aback as I know what my equipment cost me to purchase and I can’t imagine not taking care of that equipment as it was such a large investment. But then it dawned on me that some folks think because of the price, there shouldn’t be a lot to maintain.

Any piece of machinery that has moving parts must have general maintenance performed on a regular basis for the machine to continue to function properly. Look at it like this – if you let your upper roller in your big machine become caked with pine rosin or the guide bearings become worn and seized up, then the big machine will start to side cut or chatter the floor that you are trying to sand.

Not only does this make you look bad, it can take you way more work and money to remove the side cuts and chatter than what it would cost to just replace the worn guide bearings or clean the upper roller.

Tool maintenance even has a dramatic effect on our health. If you neglect your dust containment system by not keeping the filters clean and the bags emptied not only do you have more to clean up but you are putting unnecessary dust particles in the air that you and everyone around you are breathing.

Proper tool maintenance isn’t just for sand and finish contractors; it is of absolute importance for proper installation of wood floors also.

From your moisture meter to your table saw, properly maintained equipment will not only keep you safe on the jobsite but it can also greatly boost morale in you and your employees. What is more annoying than getting a tool or piece of equipment out to the jobsite at 8 am on a Monday morning to find out that it is going to take you twice as long to do your work? Not only does that cost you money in downtime but it can put a bad taste in your customer’s mouth that you weren’t fully prepared for the task at hand.

I truly believe we are one of the few trades that has the initial investment of such expensive equipment so why wouldn’t you want that equipment to last as long as possible, preforming as well as it was designed to, so that your investment can give you the maximum return.

3 thoughts

    1. Hi Travis-
      Halo, or Picture frame is normally caused by inconsistent sanding process. Where the big machine and the edger meet around the perimeter, the sanding scratch patterns are different. A critical part of the sanding process includes the final sanding step that blends everything together. Too many times, guys either use the wrong abrasive, the wrong tool, or simply rush through this step, leaving inconsistent scratch patterns on the floor. You may need to adjust your final sanding process to alleviate halo.
      You can find more info in the Sand and Finish Guidelines, and on the Problems, Causes, and Cures (C200) publication, on this subject.

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