Basics of Non-Sparking Tools: Proper Use and Maintenance

by Andy on December 24, 2012

CS Unitec Non-Sparking ShovelThe first thing to always keep in mind when talking about proper use and maintenance is to always read all instructions and safety sheets provided by the manufacturer of your tools. The manufacturer is your best resource to ensure that the tools are appropriate for your particular project. Manufacturers also know of any hazards specific to their tools. There are a few general guidelines for proper use to ensure your safety, which we will be going over.

In general, non-sparking tools themselves are not harmful towards the operators. The one case where you need to be careful is if any dust is generated from the tool from procedures like dry grinding or polishing. It is never good to inhale any metal dust, so be sure to use proper protection if you need to sharpen or polish your tools.

It is important to keep non-sparking tools clean in order to maintain their non-sparking properties. In particular, make sure that there are no ferrous metals contaminating the surface, especially if you are working with products that are sensitive to magnetism. Also, it is essential to keep non-sparking tools away from acetylene, as direct contact could cause explosive acetylides to form.

Many non-sparking tools have wooden handles to further reduce the risk of sparks. It is important to store these tools in areas where they will not dry out to reduce the risk of the handle breaking during use. Similarly, check the handle’s connection to the head of the tool often to make sure it will not become loose during normal use.

Non-sparking tools tend to be softer than normal steel tools, so they may need to have the heads redressed more often than you are used to.  This not only helps to keep the tool working normally, but also reduces the risk of chips breaking off during use. Also, only use the tool for its designated purpose. While this is true for standard tools, you risk damaging the tool or hurting yourself even more with non-sparking tools if you try to use a screwdriver as a chisel.

That is all for our non-sparking tool series! Be sure to leave a comment below if you have any more questions.

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