6 Easy Wood Shop Maintenance Tasks

We always wonder what we should do in between projects with all our downtime. After researching through the internet I’ve found the best habits to have during shop downtime is shop maintenance.

Taking care of your tools in your workshop will remain a high priority.  

First you always want to keep track of your tools.

Every handyman knows that borrowed tools often end up on permanent loan. Keep tabs on your shop tools by engraving your name or initials into the tool casing with a rotary tool or carving tool.

In addition to reminding your friends and family members where the tool came from, identification marks may help you recover your tools in the vent of a robbery.

The bench grinder is one of the most important tools in any shop for keeping other tools up and running at peak performance levels. But it too requires occasional maintenance.

Over time, the grinding wheel or wheels build up resins and other gunk that settle into the grit of the wheel, where they harden each time you use the grinder.

If you notice that your wheel has a brown, burnished appearance, it’s time to dress the wheel. This procedure can be accomplished with a dressing tool or simply with a stick made of silicone carbide.

Simply apply the dressing tool or carbide stick to the spinning grinding wheel and inspect the wheel visually until the surface is clean and fully restored.

Here are 6 Easy Wood Shop Maintenance Tasks you should do in between projects.

  • Cleaning the table saw and table saw blade.
  • Clean and lubricate your Plunge Machine.
  • Wax the top of your Table Saw.
  • Clean filter on AC or Ventilation System.
  • Clean out the filters on your vacuum or dust collector.
  • Clean your sandpaper on your bench sander to prolong the life.

YouTube Video Tip: Hit the gear button to speed up the playback to watch the video faster.

I’ve got a big expensive plywood project coming up, and I thought now would be a good time to do all those shop maintenance things that I’ve been putting off for a few months.

First up, is cleaning the table saw and the table saw blade.

This blade isn’t dull but it is dirty, you can see the teeth here are, pretty darn filthy. So it’s all play, having a dirty blade will result in extra heat, extra friction, which results in burning, project I’m working on will have a lot of exposed plywood edges, so I really don’t wanna have to sand old edges.

I like to use a product from CMT their 99800101, the formula 2050 bit and blade cleaner. 

You can use the purple type of simple green which is not what you can get in Australia, and there’s a bunch of other things, but I find this works very well. I’m wearing gloves this is non-toxic, but it’s just so I don’t get gunk all over my hands, it’s pretty simple we just need to spray this onto the teeth, let it sit for 5 minutes and all the crap should be able to brush off really easily. 

Using a nylon or brass bristle brush the teeth clean up super easy, a CMT formula loosens it enough, that usually just a paper towel is enough to clean it though. Don’t forget to clean the face of each of the teeth too. The bit and blade cleaner funnily enough works great on router and domino bits too, the process is exactly the same spray on, wait 5 minutes and wipe off any gunk. 

Clean and lubricate your Plunge Machine.

The upcoming project we’ll be using the domino for joinery, so it’s a good idea to clean that thoroughly and lubricate the plunge mechanism. First I’ll recommend using a light machine oil, like three and one. 

This isn’t something I do often no more than once a year, cleaning out the table saw is also important particularly on this saw. If I let sawdust build up too much, it can stop this all from tilting properly and given this project will involve angles I need to eliminate that issue, with the dust collector running I use compressed air to blow out any dust.

Wax the top of your Table Saw.

Finally, on the table saw front, is waxing the top cast iron aluminium or whatever other material your saw top is made from, can benefit from lubricants like wax it reduces friction making it easier to push. In the case of cast iron, it can also help prevent rust but that’s relatively unimportant in my environment. I’m using U-Beauts traditional wax but any paste wax will do; I’m just using what I’ve got on hand, wipe on buff off. 

The plywood did arrive a little bit earlier than I wanted it to, but that’s neither here nor there. I’m still doing those maintenance tasks so that I don’t have to stop whatever I’m doing at a key time.

Clean filter on AC or Ventilation System.

If you’ve got something like this air conditioner /heater a reverse system, it’ll have filters. These ones aren’t particularly filthy, but I will vacuum them anyway you know they’re not really designed to be used in a wood shop, so cleaning the filters regularly how you try to do it once a week will help with phones I know on that you know that’s really sensitive than before how much air can pump out. Unless this is pretty much spotless.

Metal on metal apart from being an anvil saw should always be kept clean in the case of a rattler the collar router and route a bit should be kept clean of debris and pitch build-up. Not having it cleaned can run the risk of having a poor grip on the round a bit, or having it slightly off-centre. It’s probably a pretty low risk admittedly, but admitting to clean it every few months isn’t really worth the risk.

I’m using an acid brush and some paper with a CMT formula sprayed on it for the smaller collars pulling a cloth through is really the only way to get it clean. Some collars will have a circlip that you can undo to get into it better but mine doesn’t. So that is a short list of some of the maintenance things that I have done in preparation for this project.

Clean out the filters on your vacuum or dust collector.

There are some obvious ones I have missed, like cleaning out the filters on your vacuum or dust collector as well as emptying those. In my case, I actually don’t need to do either that the dust collector is not particularly full and since this is plywood project I’m currently adding very minimal to that I’m not playing downwind that sort of stuff, and the filters have got cleaned a couple of months ago so they’re all good.

Clean your sandpaper on your bench sander to prolong the life.

Another nice and simple one, if you’re doing a lot of sanding is using these erasers to clean your sandpaper as that does really prolong the life keeps them cutting a lot quicker too. There are more effective on stationary machines like a bench sander or Bob and sander that sort of thing; but because that’s not what I’m using on this project I don’t really need to bother just at the moment.

Keeping a well-maintained shop means that I don’t have any big breakdowns so that I can keep working more efficiently and that’s always nice.

Thanks for watching and here is a really quick sneak preview of that big plywood project I’ve mentioned. they are half hex as, well they aren’t form full hexes, but they are half hex storage units that friends have asked me to build for them, there will be doors on half of the openings, these dividers currently aren’t glued I, not sanded that sort of thing, but the rest are glued up and you total there will be 8 of them so, 3 down I’ve got 5 to go. They are betting it back over this is a big project.

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Kevin Nelson

I will always have a special place in my heart for woodworking. I have such fond memories working on projects with my parents on the weekends in the garage growing up. We built tables, shelves, a backyard shed, 10' base for a water slide into the pool, 2 story fort playhouse with a fire pole, and so much more. This woodworking blog allows me to write helpful articles so others can enjoy woodworking as much as we have.

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