Are your hand tools a little rusty, or so blunt they wouldn’t cut butter? There are some simple, cost effective ways to revitalise your trusty hand tools. All you need to get this job done is to set aside an afternoon and gather a few simple supplies. The small effort required will help prolong the life of your tools that have been passed down through generations. So, get started on your quest and conquer that dirty four-letter word – rust! Here’s how:
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1. Screwdriver reviver
Wondering why you’d bother to clean your screwdriver? Try using a rusty screwdriver then put your hands straight onto clean paintwork and you’ll soon discover why! To restore your screwdrivers to their hardware-store glory, lightly sand with fine-grit sandpaper to remove the bulk of the rust, then rub with steel wool. Next, dampen an old rag with water-displacing agent (try WD40 or RP7) and rub over the shaft to prevent the rust from returning. Psst… You can use this process to remove rust from any of your hand tools and drill bits.
2. Shift the grit
Tools with moving parts, such as an adjustable shifter, will sometimes only need a light sand, a rub with steel wool and a spray of water-displacing agent. But, if rust has really taken over and your shifter has seized up, it’s time for a metho bath! First, submerge the shifter in a container of methylated spirits for 24 hours. Remove it from the container, then scrub it with a wire brush. Dry with a soft cloth, and if the mechanism still hasn’t loosened up, tap it on your workbench and try again. Once it has loosened up, rub with steel wool and wipe with a rag dampened with water-displacing agent. Next, apply a little graphite powder to the mechanism.
3. Chisel it (just a little bit!)
Rust-free tools are one thing, but it’s also important that your tools are razor sharp, so they’re ready for action. Blunt chisels can lead to a messy result, plus they’re difficult to work with and even dangerous to use. The ideal angle for a chisel point is 25-30 degrees. So, if you have a chisel that needs sharpening, carefully grind it back using a bench grinder.
4. Let’s twist again!
No doubt you frequently use twist bits in your power drill. And, if you ever worked with a blunt bit, you’ll agree it can be a frustrating experience. But, it can be easily fixed – you can resharpen your bit using a bench grinder. The tip of a twist bit is a cone shape so you need to make sure you follow this shape on the grinder, turning the bit gradually as you go. And use the ‘touch’ and ‘dip’ method: for every couple of seconds on the grinder, dip the drill bit in a nearby cup of water to help prevent the tip from burning or breaking.
5. Snip to it
Here’s a quick fix that applies to the toolbox as well as your stationery or craft kit – sharpening blunt paper scissors. To do this, just fold a piece of aluminium foil to create seven layers. Then use the blunt scissors to cut through the foil ten times. Yes, yes, yes – it sounds too simple to be true, but try it and you’ll notice they’re instantly sharpened.