As any professional woodworker knows, fixing things makes sense. Why should power tools be any different?
“There’s really no need to replace your power tool if it breaks,” said David Fairbanks, CEO of eReplacementParts.com. “Oftentimes a $200 circular saw can be repaired for less than $10.”
That price may come as a surprise to some, as taking power tools to a repair center can cost 10 times that amount.
“Taking power tools to a repair center is almost as expensive as buying a new tool, and sending them to the manufacturer can take weeks,” said Fairbanks. “Repairing them yourself is by far the most affordable and convenient option.”
While taking the DIY approach to repairing power tools can seem like a daunting task, Fairbanks said it’s easier than one might think.
“The hardest part of a repair is diagnosing the problem,” said Fairbanks. “Once you know what’s wrong, you can order the appropriate part and follow repair tutorials to get your power tool up and running in no time.”
When diagnosing a tool for repair, it’s useful to think of the tool as a group of systems. Most tools will consist of an electrical system and one or more mechanical systems.
“Take a planer for example,” said Fairbanks. “The planer has a basic electrical system consisting of incoming power, a switch and a motor. Your planer will also have a few different mechanical systems such as the feed rollers, a cutter head and a table raising system. You can more efficiently and economically diagnose a problem if you can quickly isolate in which of the systems the problem exists.”
According to Fairbanks, most electrical problems can be solved by doing a few tests with a multimeter.
“By taking a few voltage and continuity tests, you can isolate the faulty part. When looking at the various mechanical systems, you will be looking for signs of wear, bearing condition and proper lubrication. Also look for damage such as cracked castings or bent parts,” Fairbanks said.
Some of the most common parts that need replacing on woodworking power tools include switches, power cords and motor brushes, said Fairbanks.
“Cords get nicked, pulled on, walked on and dragged around the shop floor. Over time, this can cause the cord to fail. Switches will wear out after years of use,” said Fairbanks. “Motor brushes are another common wear part on a tool. The brushes transfer power to the armature by constantly rubbing against the commutator. Over time, they will wear down and need to be replaced.”
Fairbanks said bearings are another part on woodworking power tools that will eventually need to be replaced.
“Listen for warning signs like squeaks and squeals from your tools,” said Fairbanks. “When you hear a bearing going out,it’sbest to make the repair as soon as possible because it could fail and cause additional damage to the shaftit’son or to the casting or housing it’s pressed into.”
Once the problem is properly diagnosed, repair parts can be ordered from various companies, such as Fairbanks’ eReplacementParts.com.
“We carry parts for a variety of power tool manufacturers, including Porter Cable, Milwaukee, Dewalt and Bosch,” said Fairbanks. “We also feature tutorials for common repairs on our forum,website and YouTube channel.”