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Queens Chronicle

Tips to keep tools in top shape

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Posted: Thursday, August 21, 2014 1:00 am | Updated: 4:33 am, Thu Aug 28, 2014.

(BPT) - From painting supplies to gardening and hand tools, buying well-made home improvement tools can help improve project results. The tools you use may be an investment, so you’ll want to take care of them to ensure they last for more than just one project.

Painting tools

Painting is the easiest and most cost-effective way to transform a space or revive an outdated piece of furniture. The quality of your brushes and rollers is just as important as the quality of the paint. You’ll want to know how to clean and maintain them so they can be used again and again.

It’s important to clean paint brushes and reusable rollers immediately after use. A mixture of warm water and mild soap suds is the best cleaning solution for latex- or water-based paints. When cleaning oil-based paints, varnishes, lacquers and shellacs, closely follow the manufacturer's instructions to select the proper cleaning solvent such as paint thinner or denatured alcohol. Consider using one set of synthetic brushes or rollers for oil-based products and another set for latex products.

Avoid soaking paint brushes in solvent or water as this can damage the bristles. A paint brush comb, such as the one available from Purdy, is an easy way to keep your brushes in tip-top shape after cleaning. For best results, comb both the edge and center of the brush to prevent paint buildup during use and extend the life of any brush. You can find step-by-step videos on YouTube that demonstrate how to clean paint brushes.

It’s also important to store brushes properly. Every Purdy brush comes with a brush keeper, which is actually the product packaging itself. The reusable keeper is designed to maintain the brush’s shape and prevent damage. Hang brushes when storing them; never store a paint brush on its tip, which can result in "curling."

After washing used roller covers, string them on rope or dowels to aid in drying. To ensure a nice, smooth finish the next time you have to paint, don't stand the paint roller on its end or lay it on its nap. Be sure to dry and store your roller covers with care. Purdy offers Store & Snap resealable storage bags with its roller covers. You can use the bags to house a roller if you don’t finish a job – the roller will stay wet with the paint you are using – or, place clean and dry rollers in the bag for long-term storage.

Gardening tools

After a day spent doing yard work, it’s important to clean off any shovels, hoes or rakes. Moist soil on metal surfaces can result in rust so hose off tools and towel dry them after each use. Use a wire brush or wire-steel pad attached to a power drill to remove rust or other debris from metal tool parts. Make the most of your storage space or garage and hang garden tools by their handles to prevent damage and avoid clutter.

Store small garden tools like shears, trowels and soil scoops in a sand-filled trough to keep them organized and in top-notch condition. Fill a 13-inch by 15-inch plastic or galvanized container with sand to within an inch of the top, pour in 1/4 cup of motor oil and stir. Place the tools in the sand with the handles out. The sand helps the tools stay clean and sharp while the oil prevents any rust buildup. Keep the container in your garage or shed to avoid the elements.

Hand-held workshop tools

Quality hammers, screw drivers, cordless drills and the like can be costly. Given enough time, rust will damage metal permanently. For rust removal on hand-held tools and corroded nuts and bolts, soak them in vinegar for a few days and rinse with warm water. Another way to remove rust is to gently scrape the tool with a wire brush like the Short Handle Wire Brush from Purdy.

When cleaning power tools, wear heavy duty gloves when handling and disconnect all power cords. With a toothbrush, clean around any switches that may interfere with the proper operation of the machine. If you are cleaning a chainsaw, jigsaw or similar power tool, use an air compressor to blow out any sawdust that’s collected within the crevices.

A little extra time spent cleaning and storing tools after a home improvement project can keep them looking and working their best. Protect your tool investments and be the ultimate weekend warrior with proper storage and organization.

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