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October 2007

Saws and Blades

Technology in the Round

Masonry Magazine

Masonry saws — and the assortment of blades designed to fit them — are among the most essential and often-used tools in a mason contractor's arsenal. As an industry professional, you know how crucial these tools are to your business. In fact, you likely have your preferred makes and models with you at every jobsite. But, while you may know what you like, you may not be aware of all the new technologies and possibilities available to you and your crews.

Although the basic design of masonry saws and handhelds has not changed much over the years, manufacturers continue to innovate. Masonry speaks with some of the industry's manufacturers about their newest products and technologies.

MK Diamond (www.mkdiamond.com) has released what is perhaps one of the most intriguing innovations to hit the saw market in quite some time, a new model that features a patent-pending misting system for dust reduction. Based on the BX-3 lightweight, dry cutting masonry saw introduced in 2000, the new BX-4 adds a uniquely engineered system that sprays a fine mist on the blade and features a pump built into the cutting head. The BX-4 will knock the dust down without drenching the material, the saw or the operator, which are typical hazards faced when using traditional wet saws.

Masonry Magazine

MK Diamond - BX-4 According to Hobie Smith, director of sales for MK Diamond, other unique features found on the BX-4 include a locking tray mechanism to eliminate hazards when transporting the saw, and an ergonomically designed handle. Further, the saw is designed with an open back for cutting large material, and it comes with a 14-inch BX-10 Diamond Blade. The BX-4 features an eight- X eight- X 16-inch cutting capacity.

Another recent and inventive saw comes to the market from DITEQ Corp. Just this past summer, DITEQ (www.diteq.com) introduced both a new diamond blade and a new saw. The company's new saw, the Rocket 3600, is a portable precision tile and stone saw, with precision being the operative word. According to DITEQ President Dan Steiner, the Rocket was developed to better cut through the high-end tile and stone being used today in residential and commercial designs.

"Any time a job calls for no grout lines or very limited grout lines — in other words, they're using very expensive materials — you have to have a saw that cuts absolutely precise," he says.

This saw, which fits up to a 12-inch blade, will cut plus or minus 7/1,000 on a six-inch cut. "That's really unheard of in this business," Steiner says. This stability and reliability is due in part to the Rocket's accurate and stable conveyor cart; it never gets out of alignment, according to Steiner.

Masonry Magazine

DITEQ - Pocket 3600

The meticulousness of the machine also can be attributed to the manufacturing process. Each saw is hand built using precision-cut, extruded aluminum. "Everything fits together like an aircraft frame," Steiner says. In fact, each Rocket 3600 is made in Seattle for DITEQ by a company founded by aircraft engineers. Who else would know more about fine craftsmanship and tight tolerances?

Aluminum certainly seems to be the metal du jour for manufacturing hard-working, professional-grade tools and equipment. The Ridgid Tool Co. recently introduced a new wet tile/stone saw that is designed for continuous, all-day use. The saw's key components are made from cast aluminum for durability and long life. The Ridgid 10-inch wet tile/stone saw (model WTS2000L) features an adjustable laser guideline to improve cutting accuracy and reduce waste. And, the saw features an integrated folding stand with wheels for easy set up and mobility.

The saw has a large cutting capacity (24 inches for rip cuts and 18 inches for diagonal cuts) and a plunge cut feature with easy-to-use depth stop and depth adjustment knobs. It comes with a high-quality, 10-inch diamond blade.

The Ridgid WTS2000L also is equipped with a cast-aluminum extension table with water drainage channels. Further, the saw has a backsplash tray and heavy-duty, removable water tray with plug to keep the water from damaging surrounding work areas. For more information, check with your local retailer or visit www.ridgid.com.

Masonry Magazine

Rigid - WTS200L

Among the latest masonry saws introduced this year from Husqvarna are the TS 400 and TS 355 B. The TS 400 is a universal masonry saw that features a unique height adjustment device that is lockable in any position. The TS 400 can be adapted for 12-, 14- and 16-inch blades, with a cutting head that tilts up to 45 degrees for miter cutting.

Always thinking about the end-user, Husqvarna's TS 400 also includes a blade quick-disconnect flange (no tools required), and semi-automatic foldable/collapsible legs for easier handling. The stand converts to a two-wheeled cart, and the detachable slurry collection tray makes cleanup easier and improves pump life.

Similarly, the TS 355 B compact, dry-cutting masonry saw is made to make your job easier. First of all, at just 47 pounds, one person easily can move it around a jobsite. Second, the spring-assisted cutting head makes plunge cutting and step cutting simpler, while the trigger switch can be locked in the "on" position for small, continuous cuts. And, finally, the vulcanized rubber-topped conveyor cart reduces vibration and holds material better. Learn more at http://us.husqvarnacp.com.

Clearly, portability is a key factor in designing today's compact masonry saws. The tools mentioned above as well as STOW's MS3 Masonry Saw (www.stowmfg.com), which is billed as the "Portability King," not only feature lightweight materials, but also they feature removable parts, foldaway stands and more innovations. All these characteristics make the saws easy to use, and make contractors want to use them.

Masonry Magazine
Bosch SpeedWave Diamond Blades
Hopefully, the saws described here have inspired you to add some new equipment to your repertoire or, at the very least, investigate the latest tools available in the marketplace. Of course, you may not need to purchase masonry saws on a regular basis, but replacement blades are no doubt a normal part of your business expenditures. Manufacturers realize this and are continually improving and updating their products to not only last longer, but also dent your wallets less.

Following are a few of the latest and most advanced blades available. They will not only get the job done, but also they'll do it better, for longer. And, you could save a little money in the process.

Debuting at this year's World of Concrete/World of Masonry, the Bosch SpeedWave Diamond Blades certainly made waves with attendees. Before the week was over, the new blades were chosen as one of the Attendee's Choice Award winners. The blades — available in 4.5-, five-, seven- and nine-inch diameters — feature what Bosch describes as the world's first center vibration-dampening Cooling Disc. The disc uses the blade's rotation to draw in air and evenly cool the surface, resulting in longer life for the blade. The SpeedWave blades also feature a wave-shaped ridge along both sides of each segment, greatly reducing friction and drag. Further, this design is said to aid in clearing dust faster for better overall performance. Learn more about this award-winning series of blades at www.boschspeedwave.com.

Masonry Magazine
Diamond Vantage - BLIZZARD
Among Diamond Vantage's newest diamond blade offerings are The BLIZZARD and ZENESIS high-speed blades. ZENESIS is a new platform technology that Diamond Vantage (www.diamondvantage.com) says will improve cutting, overall tool performance and longevity. The process is about custom placement of the diamond patterns along a blade's cutting edges according to application. The result, the company says, is the fastest cutting blade on the market, with improvements from 30 percent to 70 percent over blades with simple diamond arrangements. The ZENESIS blade series is available in 12-, 14- and 16-inch diameters.

As the name suggests, The BLIZZARD is literally a cool product. It operates at temperatures up to 30 percent cooler than traditional diamond blades, courtesy of a series of strategically placed slots in the blade core, which allow the air to cool the blade during operation. This won't slow down the blade, however. Diamond Vantage has given The BLIZZARD notched segments that are designed to bite into the cut and increase the speed of the cut. The blade, too, is offered in 12-, 14- and 16-inch diameters with a segment height of 10 millimeters.

Masonry Magazine
Diamond Vantage - ZENESIS
As mentioned previously, DITEQ introduced its new diamond blade, called the Noise Killer, earlier this year. It is designed primarily for those work sites where noise is a consideration, such as around schools and hospitals. The blade is similar in concept and execution to the company's other sound-baffling sandwich blades, but the Noise Killer features laser cut patterns in the core that are filled with an engineered resin that greatly reduces the noise a diamond blade makes when cutting.

"It reduces the decibel level by about 65 or 70 percent over a conventional blade," Steiner says.

Masonry Magazine
DITEQ - Noise Killer
Furthermore, the Noise Killer blade is affordable. The significance of DITEQ's unique manufacturing method is that it produces a noise dampening blade for no more cost than a standard blade, which means the new technology is available to everyone.

Also concentrating on providing customers with "the perfect balance of price and quality," Vermont American has refreshed its entire line of diamond blades. According to the company, its new Diamond Abrasive Blade series offers smoother, more consistent cuts with tile blade sizes ranging from four to 10 inches, and general-purpose blades ranging from four to 14 inches. Additionally, the blades are said to last up to 85 times longer than standard abrasive blades.

Masonry Magazine
Vermont American - Diamond Abrasive Blade
Other key features of the Vermont American line include: laser-welded industrial diamond and metal matrix segments for extended life and performance; continuous rim blades for wet or dry cutting; turbo rim blades for fast and clean cuts in general masonry; and segmented rim blades for fast, rough cuts. For more information, visit www.vermontamerican.com.

It is clear that a significant amount of research and development goes into producing these cutting tools, and, in some cases, the process is an international affair. Case and point: the new X20 diamond blade from SHOXX, a French manufacturer whose blades are made in Germany and now sold in the U.S. market. Six years in the making, the X20 blade is produced through a steel bonding technology adapted from the automotive industry. Thanks to these bonded layers of steel, SHOXX says the X20 disc cuts twice as fast as a standard blade and lasts twice as long as a top-range diamond blade.

The X20 diamond blade is designed with a 20-millimeter segment height to cut a wide range of materials, including block paving, brick, granite and natural stone. Aiding in this ability to cut a wide range of materials is the fact that the diamond grains of the blade are coated with titanium for added strength retention. Further, SHOXX says that the trapezoidal shape of blade segments and the thicker steel core limit vibrations, which reduces fatigue for the user. The company's Web site has more information, including a demonstration video. Visit www.shoxxtechnology.com.

Masonry Magazine
Multiquip - Wafer Style Tuck Point Blades
Many of you may know that the sale of tuck point blades has increased significantly in recent years, particularly in colder climates where the weather plays havoc with mortar. Known for both its saws and blades (among various other types of professional tools), Multiquip has introduced new Wafer Style Tuck Point Blades to help contractors fight back to repair and strengthen damaged walls. Ten new models are available in the series, ranging in diameter from four to seven inches and in thickness from one-quarter to three-eighths of an inch.

The blades are designed to remove grout and mortar between bricks and in concrete blocks in less than half the time of a conventional tuck blade. And, of course, the Wafer Style Tuck Point Blades can be used with most right-angle grinders. Visit www.multiquip.com to learn more.

You just learned about an impressive collection of saws and blades now available, but this review only scratches the surface (pardon the pun) of what's out there. If your favorite or preferred manufacturers were not covered in this article, be sure to check with your local retailers and visit the manufacturers' Web sites to see what equipment they've released this year. For a look at saws and blades that will be available next year, be sure to check out Masonry magazine's April 2008 (saws) and June 2008 (saw blades) issues.



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