If you’ve spent time and money assembling your set of tools, it’s only natural you’ll want to keep using them as long as possible. You might also like how your tools looked right out of the box, and you want to keep that look for as long as possible. But aesthetic preferences are a subjective matter, and proper functioning is not. There’s no use in having tools if they don’t work well. And for them to work well, they need to be properly maintained.
The way of properly maintaining tools depends mostly on what are they used for. But first thing’s first – the most important thing in tool maintenance is to keep them clean. Usually, a simple rag will suffice to clean any dirt that might be present on a tool. In some cases, when the rag doesn’t suffice, you’ll need to try another method. A dirty shovel, for example, cannot be simply rubbed down. It first needs to be hosed down to remove all the dirt, and then rubbed clean and dry with a rag. If the tools came in contact with glue, which often happens in woodworking, applying a solution that will make it easier to remove the glue would be a better idea than to try to remove it by sheer force, as that might needlessly damage the tool. Keeping tools clean is important, but so is not ruining them in the process.
Once the tools are clean, you should check their condition. For some tools, this isn’t as important, as they are less prone to wear. But some, like knives and chisels, need to be regularly sharpened so that they are able to maintain their performance. So make sure you keep the things that need to be sharp sharpened, and make sure to notice if some of the tools have dented or chipped.
To prevent your tools from rusting, you should use machine oil by applying a very thin layer of it on the metal parts of your tools. You don’t need to get it slippery, just oily enough so that there’s something between the metal and the air. What’s exactly the best brand of machine oil for the purpose is something that’s widely debated, but pretty much any oil that prevents oxidization will do.
At the end, you need to keep your tools properly stored. There are several ways you can store your tools – in a toolbox, on racks, in bins, in tool chests or cabinets, in tool workbenches. Storing your tools on racks is a good way of storing them only if the room where the rack is placed has very low humidity. If that’s not the case, and if you can’t do anything to lower the humidity, than a closed container might be a better option because it’s much easier to control humidity in them. Of course, if the tools you buy come with their own toolbox, like the tools you can get from Wilson & Miller do, you’ll probably want to store them there.