close up of circular saw and saw dustEveryone likes to picture the woodworker as someone who takes proper care of tools, but the truth is that anyone can lose track of their tools and lapse in the area of power tool maintenance.

It’s not the greatest sin in the world, but neglecting a tool is a costly mistake. Even the best of us are sometimes guilty of letting our tools fail sooner than necessary.

Have you ever been rained out of a project? It happens, and the sudden need to get dry coupled with last-minute efforts to finish what you were doing sometimes results in a power tool being left to the elements. Even if you don’t discover it until the next weekend, that doesn’t mean you need to throw your favorite power drill in the trash. The dump is full of rusty power tools that could have been saved.

If a power tool gets wet, dry it out; the sooner the better. Blow the water out and make sure the inside is completely dry to prevent rust and ensure the motor connections aren’t compromised. You may need to apply oil to get it running smoothly again.

Dust is another common culprit that ruins power tools. This isn’t limited to sawdust, but particles of all kinds. Blow out any type of dust you find in your tools. Check them frequently to make sure nothing settles on them, and keep the moving parts oiled as part of your regular maintenance routine.

Finally, keep your blades sharp. A dull blade doesn’t just make your work harder for you; it makes it harder on the motor. The straining motor heats up, which wears it out faster. So get used to checking those blades and sharpening them while you take your breaks. That will make your work easier and keep your power tools going for a long time.