How To Fix Power Tools

By Bill Esler | Posted: 08/13/2013 2:25PM


Portable power tool repairs can be pricey. “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,” says David Fairbanks, CEO of “Repairing them yourself is the most affordable option.”

But repairing it yourself can be daunting. Fairbanks offers some tips on common breakdowns that are relatively easy to fix.

“The hardest part of a repair is diagnosing the problem,” Fairbanks says. “Once you know what’s wrong, you can order the appropriate part and follow online repair tutorials.”

When diagnosing a tool for repair, think of it as a group of systems. Most tools will consist of an electrical system and one or more mechanical systems. 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,” says Fairbanks. “When looking at the various mechanical systems, look for signs of wear, bearing condition and proper lubrication. Also look for damage such as cracked castings or bent parts.”

A planer, for example, “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. Isolate in which of the systems the problem exists.”

Among the most common parts needing replacement on woodworking power tools are switches, power cords and motor brushes.


About the Author

Bill Esler, Woodworking Network, WMS

Bill Esler

Bill Esler, Editorial Director, Woodworking Network Bill is responsible for overall content at Woodworking Network magazine, and related newsletters. Bill also manages event programs for Woodworking Network Live conferences at the Woodworking Machinery & Supplies Expo in Toronto and Cabinets & Closets Expo. He developing audience engagement programs using custom digital printing, live lead-generating events, custom websites, and custom digital and print content. Read Bill Esler's woodworking blogs. He can be reached at or follow him on Google+.

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