In an earlier post, I pointed out that I needed to replace the power cord on my drill, which is a Milwaukee 3/8” “Hole Shooter” about 10 years old. I don't know if there's something special about the air here in Atlanta, but the outer insulation on power cables seems to degrade faster here than anywhere else I've lived. When you see that the outer layer of a power cord is cracking, it's time to replace it. No ifs, ands, or buts. Don't wait until the drill (router, sander, whatever) stops working - - - by that time it may start shorting out and tripping breakers, or in a really bad case, give you a nasty shock.
This is good advice for all woodworkers, but especially for those of us trying to equip a shop on a shoestring. If you hunt for tools at estate sales or pawn shops, you may come up with some real gems at bargain prices - - if you can settle for an “as is” deal. The power cord is definitely something to inspect before you fire up a used power tool for the first time. In fact, if you're the type who likes to negotiate the purchase price, pointing out frayed insulation and saying you'll have to replace the power cord might help you find out how low the seller's willing to go.
Whether it's a vintage jewel/old beater you've just purchased, or a tool you've had for years, when you look down and see this,
then it's time to install a new power cord.