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It is important to choose your tools correctly and use them safely.
Find out how to extend the life span of your tape rule, get familiar with the screwdriver tips configurations, read safety precautions and learn many more helpful tips from the list below.


Tape Rules

Pliers Safety Tips

Knives and Blades Tips


Plane Tips


Chisels Safety Tips






Here are some suggestions to help you keep your tape rule in good working order and extend its useful life.


The graduated blade is protected by Mylar® but dirt, sand, drywall dust or metal chips can scratch through or wear away the protective layer. Wipe the blade clean frequently when working with gritty materials. Sticky roofing tar and glues can ruin the winding action of your tape rule.


Moisture left on the blade will work its way into the spring motor and rust will follow. Wipe the blade dry after working in wet environments. Beware of solvents; some will attack the Mylar® seal or melt the protective skin. Use only mineral spirits or alcohol to remove tar or glue.


Don't let the blade recoil at high speed; it will strike the case with the force of a hammer blow and the whipping action can damage the blade or pinch your finger. Practice slowing the blade with your finger under the tape's mouth. Leverlock® models will stop the blade when the lock is released.


The hook slides to accommodate inside and outside measurements, helping you avoid errors due to the thickness of the hook. Clinching the rivets will make the hook inaccurate.


Beware of sharp corners. Stepping on the blade will almost always cause damage. Pulling the tape over a sharp edge may create a kinked or twisted blade. Continual flexing of these kinks, when the blade rewinds into the case, will eventually break the blade.


The hook can be snared easily on cracks, on exposed nail heads, and the like. Take care to dislodge the hook before pulling sharply on the blade. Otherwise you might bend the hook or cause the blade to kink or tear.


The rugged case will withstand most accidents, but just as you could be hurt by a fall from a ladder or a roof, your tape rule could be damaged by the impact of a major fall. Keep your rule secure in a leather holster or in your tool apron.


When measuring near power tools, be sure your tape rule blade stays clear of the cutting path. Spinning saw blades and drill bits will rip a tape rule.


Mylar® is a registered trademark of DuPont Teijin Films for its polyester film. Only DuPont Teijin Films makes Mylar® polyester film.




Pliers Safety Tips


Pliers should not be used for cutting hardened wire unless specifically manufactured for this purpose.


Never expose pliers to excessive heat. This may draw the temper and ruin the tool.

Always cut at right angles. Never rock from side to side or bend the wire back and forth against the cutting edges.

Don't bed stiff wire with light pliers. Needle nose pliers can be damaged by using the tips to bend too large a wire. Use a sturdier tool.

Never use pliers as a hammer nor hammer on the handles. They may crack or break, or edges may be nicked by such abuse.



Never extend the length of handles to secure greater leverage. Use a larger pair of pliers or a bolt cutter.



Pliers should not be used on nuts or bolts. A wrench will do the job better and with less risk of damage to the fastener.



Oil pliers occasionally. A drop of oil at the hinge will lengthen tool life and assure easy operation.



Safety glasses or goggles should be worn when cutting wire, etc. to protect eyes.






Knife and Blade Selection



Retractable blade knives are a good choice for general use, and offer the convenience of being able to quickly adjust the cutting depth of the blades plus the safety of allowing the blade to be retracted completely into the handle when not in use.


Fixed blade knives lock blades into a fixed, non-retractable position between the halves of the knife handle. This improves blade stability in severe cutting applications and allow the knife to accept special-purpose blades that are too large to retract into the handle.


Snap blade knives, like Stanley's Quick Point™ knives, are built around a blade designed to snap-off or break away in sections, providing a fresh, sharp cutting point, without having to open the knife. These knives are a good choice for light and medium duty applications, or when adhesive materials like packing tape leave a residue on the blade, making a fresh, sharp edge critical.


Special purpose blades (utility, round point, hook, scoring, carpet, linoleum, etc.) are available for a variety of cutting applications.

Knives Safety Tips


Always be sure that blades are properly seated in knives and that knives are properly closed and/or fastened together before use.

Never leave a knife unattended with the blade exposed. Consider using a self-retracting knife with a spring-loaded blade which automatically retracts when the knife is released.

Always use sharp blades. A dull blade requires more force and is more likely to slip than a sharp one. Change the blade whenever it starts to tear instead of cut.

Protect your eyes - wear safety goggles when working with knives or any other tools.

Always keep your free hand away from the line of cut.

When making cuts on a surface below you, stand or kneel to one side of the line of the cut.

Always pull the knife toward you when making a cut on a flat surface. A pulling motion is stronger and more positive than pushing the knife away from you, and the knife is less likely to slip.

When using a straight edge to guide a cut, either clamp it down or keep your free hand well away from the cutting path of the knife. Be sure the straight edge is thick enough to prevent the knife from "riding up" over the edge and cutting you.

Don't bend or apply side loads to blades by using them to open cans or pry loose objects. Blades are brittle and can snap easily.

When using a knife to cut through thick materials, be patient - make several passes, cutting a little deeper into the material with each pass.





Hammer Selection


NAIL HAMMERS: For common and finishing nail sets. Not for masonry nails, cold chisels and other metal.

BALL PEIN HAMMERS: For cold chisels, punches, rivets and shaping metal.

BRICK HAMMERS: For setting splitting bricks, tiles, concrete blocks. Also for chipping mortar.

BLACKSMITH HAMMERS: For spikes, stakes, cold chisels, hardened nails, etc.



Hammer Safety Tips


Strike squarely with the hammer striking face parallel with the surface being struck. Always avoid glancing blows and over and under strikes.

When striking another tool (chisel, punch, wedge, etc.), the striking face of the proper hammer should have a diameter approximately 3/8" larger than the struck face of the tool.

Always use a hammer of suitable size and weight for the job. Don't use a tack hammer to drive a spike, nor a sledge to drive a tack.

Never use on hammer to strike another hammer or a hatchet.

Never use a striking or struck tool with loose or damaged handle.

Discard any striking or struck tool if tool shows dents, cracks, chips, mushrooming, or excessive wear.

Never regrind, weld or reheat-treat a hammer.





Plane Safety Tips


Use the appropriate plane for the work at hand.

Use Bench planes for stock removal, smoothing rough surfaces, truing, and fine finishing.

Use Jack Planes or longer planes for longer length planing (i.e. doors) to produce a straight line.

Use block or trimming planes for end grain, where single handed working is required, and to dress up short work.

For optimal cutting performance, place cutters in bench planes bevel side down and cutters for block planes bevel side up.

Always keep the blade sharp.

Lightly oil the working surfaces after use.

Rest the plane on its side when not in use.

Store the plane with its cutter retracted to avoid premature edge wear.






Screwdriver Tip Configurations



Slotted: Standard or flat for driving single slotted screws. Tip width range from 1/6" to 1/2".

Phillips®: Designed specifically for use with Phillips® head screw, which has two recessed slots at right angles to each other. Sizes range from 0 point (small) to 4 point (large).

Pozidriv®: Similar to the Phillips® style, the screw can be identified by additional lines on the face. Sizes range from 1 point (small) to 4 point (large).

Square head: Square tip, used in mobile homes, recreational vehicles and industrial applications. Sizes range from 1 point (small) to 3 point (large).

Torx®: Star shaped, used in the automotive industry. Sizes range from T-10 (small) to T-30 (large).




Screwdriver Safety Tips


Never use a screwdriver as a cold chisel, or for prying, punching, chiseling, scoring or scraping.

Make sure the tip fits the slot of the screw; not too loose or tight.

Never expose a screwdriver to excessive heat or cold.

Always discard a screwdriver with a worn or broken handle.

Never use a screwdriver on a workpiece held in your hand. A slip could cause serious injury.

Never depend on a screwdrivers' handle or covered blade to insulate you from electricity.

Vinyl covered blades are intended only as a protective measure against shorting out components.





Chisel Safety Tips


Keep both hands back of the cutting edge at all times when using chisels.

Always shield the cutting edge when not using.

Always wear safety goggles when using a wood chisel.

Never place a wood chisel in your pocket.

Use the appropriate tool for prying and screwing, not a chisel.




Snips Safety Tips


Wear safety goggles when using snips.


Be careful of the sharp edges on the cutting edges of these tools.

Wear gloves when working with snips.

Use snips for cutting soft metal only. Hard or hardened metal may damage the cutting edges of the snips.

Use the right size and type of snips for the job on hand. Don't try to cut sharp curves with straight cut snips.

Avoid springing the blades. This is the result of trying to cut metal that is too thick for the snips you are using, or by trying to cut heavy wire or nails.

Use only hand pressure for cutting. Never hammer or use your foot to get extra pressure on the cutting edges. If you are resorting to such a technique, you are using too small a snip - the metal is too thick for the capacity of the snip.

Oil pivot bolt on the snips occasionally.

Keep the nut and the bolt properly adjusted at all times.

The average user does not have the proper equipment to resharpen snips. Do not attempt to resharpen a snip blade in a sharpening device designed for scissors, garden tools or cutlery.

Do not use "cheater bars" on handles of snips. You are trying to cut material which is too thick if you have to resort to this technique.

Don't use snips as a hammer, screwdriver or pry bar.

If the snips you own have locking clips, use them when the tools are not in use.
Wipe the cutting edges with a lightly oiled rag.

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Page Edited On: 20-Jan-03