Taking time to set up the tools and doing their periodic maintenance can save you a lot of headache in the long run and ensure that things keep moving smoothly in your wood-shop. Set a day aside when you put things in order in your work shop. This can be as often as once a week or once in a month. It depends largely on the amount of work being done and the tools being used.
Some tools like table saws need a maintenance check once every 6 months. So one of the things you can do it make a schedule on a calendar that reminds you which tool is coming up for a maintenance check and tune-up.
If you cannot take a day off for maintenance due to work load, do it at the next possible opportunity. Keeping your work shop and tools in good shape is important to reduce the chances of instances of tool failure, running short of supplies etc. which could create unnecessary delays in your work.
When we say tool setup, we mean following the manufacturer’s instructions on how to do it. Different tools and the same tools from different manufacturers will have different instructions.
So we cannot help much here other than to say that please read and follow these instructions carefully.
However, there are some elements that should be common knowledge. Here they are.
- For starters, the blades of your table saw and band saw should be perpendicular, i.e. at 90 degrees to the tabletop.
- The fence should run parallel to the saw blade.
- The fence of the saw, planers, joiners etc. should be firmly fixed and not move above in its slot.
- Clean, sharpen and change the blades whenever necessary.
- Ensure that the power cords of your tools are intact and not fraying from anywhere. Getting an electric shock is one thing, but getting it while operating the tool can cause serious injury from the tool itself.
- Always ensure that your hand tools are sharp and clean.
- Double check the safety guards on your power tools to ensure they are not loose and properly and firmly fixed.
A good tool setup also involves planning in advance. You need to figure out how you are going to plug in your power tools as well as the workspace you are going to allot to them.
Rolling tables is a good idea when you have limited floor space so you can easily push tools you are not using out of the way.
Planning proper lighting in key places over pivotal tools is also an important part of the correct tool setup.
However, we will touch more on that subject when we talk about how to setup your wood-shop.