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Would like some input and ideas on tool maintenance. Different areas (geographically) do different things to keep their tools in good operating condition. Have heard the merits of oiling tools verse not oiling, stripping paint off hand tools, adding grip tape, filing Vs. wire brushing Vs. grinding? Please chime in!! The Late Tom Brennan relates that oil collects dirt and dirty tools do not perform. Also, any thoughts on how sharp or dull an axe blade should be? Have heard both sides!

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Well now, I hate to be late to the party.

We keep our tools clean, in good working condition and due to our climate, an ever so light coat of oil applied. Linseed oil works well on tool heads, so long as you don't get carried away. If we don't, our tools will rust up fast. I don't find the oil to be a problem when it comes to axe heads and pikes. The chainsaw we try to keep wiped down and don't get overly liberal with the oil. As for grip tape, ...I like it. Most of the tools are coming with some sort of foam or plastic grip now anyway (that after serious use begins to break off). In the dry snow we get with -40 / -50 temps, the grip tape holds up better and gives your frozen hands something to hold onto, versus the slick handle without. Yes, you do have to keep applying new tape, but you have to clean everything else anyway, so why not spend a little time. As for axe blades, well that would appear to be a matter of preference. The fire axe spends more of its time (in my experience) being used for what's with it, pick or flathead. Too sharp of an axe will cause a tendency to chip the blade and slicing up fingers, but then if you really want to cut something, there's nothing like a sharp axe. The angle IFTSA recommends is all right most of the time. I guess that sums it up, ..nothing earthshaking I'm sure, but when a Brother brings something to the table, he deserves a reply.
we treat our tools with light oil less chance of dirt sticking and no rust forming. nicks in blades are filed rather than ground so no chance of temper damage always clean with wire brush before application.As far as how sharp are you venting or chopping down a tree i feel proper venting is more of a breaking action especially in new construction with laminates used, a sharp axe will stick in truss or rafter. I generally use a flat head backside almost like a sledge trick i learned from my chicago brotheren truckies so why have it sharp.
Every year we (are detailed to) perform a mass tool maintenance for each apparatus (above and beyond regular daily tool maintenance during rig checks and after jobs). The tools get stripped cleaned and re-painted as well as the compartments they are in. Then, right after they are inspected, the guys on the groups, go and strip all of the paint off of the tools, wire brush them and add new grip tape. Some guys apply light oil to the tools. I suppose it would depend on the frequency of fires in your area. If the tools do a lot of work you are not going to oil them regularly. Some guys are torn between paint on tools. By and large, most feel that the paint should be stripped off of the tools. We generally use a file on the axe blades to take burrs off. The grinding wheel compromises the temper. Lately guys have been putting grip tape (Hockey Tape) with a cable wrapped around the handle. My opinion is to keep at least one married pair clean on each apparatus, and square off the shoulders of the halligan.
we clean the tools after each use w/ water and a brush if needed. we do not sharpen the axes to a razor sharp edge. we wrap our handles w/ small twine, phone cord, etc. in a spiral pattern and then cover that w/ hockey or athlectic tape. we check our tools each day and repair/replace as needed.we do not have any wooden handles that would require sanding. As far as our saws, we start them every shift and after every use and check the chains for tightness and the blades for missing teeth. we wipe them down and clean the compartments once a month. also, we do apply a light coat of oil to the working ends of our tools in the winter.
When I say One pair clean...I mean with no grip tape or chord on the shaft!

Chuck Fager said:
Every year we (are detailed to) perform a mass tool maintenance for each apparatus (above and beyond regular daily tool maintenance during rig checks and after jobs). The tools get stripped cleaned and re-painted as well as the compartments they are in. Then, right after they are inspected, the guys on the groups, go and strip all of the paint off of the tools, wire brush them and add new grip tape. Some guys apply light oil to the tools. I suppose it would depend on the frequency of fires in your area. If the tools do a lot of work you are not going to oil them regularly. Some guys are torn between paint on tools. By and large, most feel that the paint should be stripped off of the tools. We generally use a file on the axe blades to take burrs off. The grinding wheel compromises the temper. Lately guys have been putting grip tape (Hockey Tape) with a cable wrapped around the handle. My opinion is to keep at least one married pair clean on each apparatus, and square off the shoulders of the halligan.

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