Whether you work in a professional shop or you simply enjoy working on projects in your garage, having air tools on hand can save you a lot of time and make your work much easier. However, knowing where to store these tools and how to maintain them can be challenge. Storing them in their plastic cases (if they came in one!) can be clumsy, and stashing them in the bottom drawers of roll around tool boxes tends to take up a lot of space and risks getting dirt into fittings.
Most big box stores such as Lowes or Home Depot offer storage solutions that can be purchased and installed turnkey. However, these cookie cutter options don’t always provide adequate configurations to accommodate for your specific collection of air tools and attachments.
What are some other storage options for your air tools?
One simple and easily reconfigured approach is to purchase two 2x4s and a section of peg board of equal lengths. Measure the height of the pegboard and mount the wood on the wall of your shop at that distance apart. Attach the pegboard to the wood and install the appropriate combination of hooks, hangers, baskets, metal arms and other pegboard accessories needed to hold your air hoses, brad nailers, impact wrenches, air compressor parts, or whatever else you need quick access to.
To expand your storage capacity as your tool collection grows, add more accessories or mount additional pegboard walls, and easily reconfigure the layout as needed.This wall-mounted storage design not only keeps your tools within easy reach in your garage or shop, but it also avoids crowding work surfaces.
For a less store-bought approach, modify the front edge of a length of a wooden or metal beam with slots large enough to allow the small diameter of each tool’s male air fitting to slide into. Use brackets to securely mount the beams onto a wall near the air lines and store the air tools hanging down when they’re not in use. Having all of your tools in one specific place makes finding them easier, and prevents having to hunt for them when you need to use them!
Simple Maintenance Results in Valuable Longevity
To ensure the longevity and performance of your air tools, no matter how you decide to store them, be sure to maintain them by cleaning and lubricating them on a regular basis.
Air Compressor Condensation
Oftentimes the first place to focus is on the condition of the air compressor. When compressors are in use, they are condensing moisture out of the air, and that moisture collects at the bottom of the tank. You may be doing a great job with regularly draining your air tank, but this only avoids rust in the tank. Since the condensation in the air line is what can cause corrosion issues in your tools, with an air compressor, review on a weekly basis that you are draining and cleaning the entire system, from the compressor to the tools – to lengthen the life and improve the performance of the tool.
Lubrication is another way to reduce friction and prevent water condensation from building up in your tools. Although the frequency of preventative maintenance necessary will vary, depending on the amount of usage of the tool, a good rule of thumb is to apply a manufacturer-recommended lubricant once every eight hours of use. A lubrication regimen can sometimes make worn down tools that are operation at a lower power output work like new again! The majority of air tools have more than one grease fitting, so consult your manual or ask your tool dealer if you have questions.
Another good rule of thumb is to avoid connecting a dirty or damaged hose coupler to your tool. Couplers that have been dragged across the floor or are contaminated with brake dust, grease, saw dust or dirt, will transfer these particles directly into your motor. To keep your couplers – and ultimately your air tools’ motors – clean and off the dirty floor, use an air hose reel that is suspended from your shop ceiling.
Help Your Tools Help You
Air tools are simple to use and are useful in your shop or garage. But they should be treated with care, stored appropriately and maintained regularly in order for them to do their best work for you.