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Saws and Blades

Masonry Magazine

Saw blades for masonry have been produced in a round shape for so long that when the masonry chainsaw came along a few years ago, it was considered a milestone. Then again, the chain still goes around, just not in a neat circle.

This year, in a departure from the "saws are round" philosophy, Arbortech Industries Ltd. of Malaga, Western Australia, introduced its AS160 masonry saw. This saw has had great success in Europe and Australia — winning design and engineering awards on both continents.

Masonry Magazine
Arbortech - AS160
Using a unique, patented orbital cutting motion, along with two forward-cutting blades that combine to perform both a hammering and slicing action, the Arbortech AS160 basically cuts by using a back-and-forth grinding motion of parallel diamond-coated blades. The form factor resembles a grinder, and the soft grips dampen vibration nicely. The AS160's forward-angled blades for general cutting allow for increased visibility and are designed to cut through bricks, mortar and soft stone without water injection.

The maker claims — and their demo backed them up — that a time-consuming, dusty and inaccurate job can now be transformed into an easy, fast, accurate, safe and virtually dust-free job. Using a variety of blade lengths and materials, the AS160 cuts deep or shallow (for repointing, for example). It cuts masonry materials dry, with significantly less breathable dust than disc cutters. And it can cut to a depth of 120mm (approximately 4-3/4 inches), while also having the ability to cut square corners without gouging the next course.

Masonry Magazine

Photo courtesy of Arbortech Pty. Ltd.

Weighing about 9-1/2 pounds, the saw sports a 900-watt motor, fully sealed bearings to prevent dust infiltration, and an adjustable belt drive. The AS160 also has a wide variety of blades to choose from, including a large "shoe" blade for general cutting, a narrow blade for plunge cuts, an even narrower blade for switch box opening cuts, and a shorter blade for repointing.

Finally, Arbortech has a warehouse in Utah for North American shipments, decreasing both time and shipping costs.

Wet Cutting on a Whole New Level
Masonry Magazine
Photo courtesy of Atlas Copco Construction Tools
Electricity isn't the only power source for saws, of course. A somewhat different approach is being taken by Atlas Copco Construction Tools, West Springfield, Mass.

Last year, Atlas Copco acquired Lifton, a Danish hydraulic tool company, and inherited their line of hydraulic cut-off saws, the LS 14 and LS 16. Now branded in the Atlas Copco line, the LS 14 and LS 16 saws will cut through a wide variety of masonry materials using a direct-drive design that provides consistent speed and torque, while reducing the maintenance experienced in comparable belt-driven saws. The saws feature an open-cutting face, an adjustable blade guard, and are well balanced for ease of use over long periods.

The power packs are available in several ratings to accommodate the varying oil flow and pressure requirements of the saws they power. The power packs can be positioned as much as 75 feet away from the action, so supplemental ventilation isn't necessary when working in confined areas. The power supplies have an on-demand, power-on system that automatically decreases the engine speed when the tool is disengaged.

Standard features include hoses to deliver water to the diamond blade for wet cutting and hydraulic pressure to operate the saw.

Masonry Magazine
ICS Blount - 814PRO

Another hydraulic saw combination is from ICS, Blount International Inc., Portland, Ore. — only in this case it's in a chainsaw format. Their high-performance 853PRO series has been augmented by the smaller and lighter 814PRO. The 814PRO will cut square corners without over-cutting, does plunge cuts up to 13 inches deep, and can still do small openings of 3-1/2 inches square. An automatic water valve minimizes the mess associated with wet cutting and a quick-change motor cartridge requires no plumbing.

Give it Some Gas
ICS has been a leader in masonry chainsaws, both hydraulic- and gas-powered. The gas-powered 613GC cuts twice the depth of an ordinary circular blade cut-off saw but weighs only 21 pounds. This new saw is capable of plunge cutting to 12 inches and will cut a square opening, with no over-cuts, in materials as thick as 10 inches. The 613GC is powered by a 5.7 hp, two-cycle gas engine, with an advanced air filtration system designed for wet-cutting aggregate materials.

Masonry Magazine
ICS Blount — 613GC
Photo courtesy of ICS, Blount International Inc.

Another innovative gas saw, the K650 Cut-n-Break by Partner Industrial Products, a division of Husqvarna Construction Products, Olathe, Kan., utilizes two parallel blades to make a cut and a breaking tool that breaks out the material between cuts. This saw is ideal for cutting small openings and finishing square corners. It can cut up to 16 inches deep in brick or block, deeper than any other unit except the chainsaw. Partner claims that the K650 is simpler and has a lower tool cost than a chainsaw, resulting in a lower cost to operate per opening. Watch for it toward the end of 2006 as production ramps up.

Masonry magazine
Stihl - 700
While we are on the subject of gas cut-off saws, the most powerful Stihl cut-off "machine," the TS 700 Cutquik was introduced this January. An imposing 6.7 hp, stratified charge engine makes this a durable workhorse, high on power but low on maintenance. According to Stihl Inc. of Virginia Beach, Va., the TS 700's X2 long-term air filtration system minimizes downtime with twice the filter life of former systems. Lightweight, well balanced and equipped with a five-point, dual element vibration control system, the handling of the TS 700 is excellent.

Masonry magazine
Photo courtesy of Stihl Inc.

Stihl also introduced their TS 800 Cutquik 16-inch cut-off saw — sorry, cut-off "machine" — this year. Using the 6.7-hp engine and a 16-inch wheel, the new TS 800 can cut deep. With the same five-point dual element vibration dampening system as the TS 700, the engine's 9,000 rpm doesn't feel uncomfortable. At a little over 28 pounds, it's a lightweight package and, with a specially designed cart, can do the work of a larger, heavier, walk-behind machine for certain jobs.

Masonry magazine
Stihl — TS 800
Photo courtesy of Stihl Inc.

Bring it to the Table
Masonry magazine
Wel-Co — WMS-E (electric)
Masonry magazine
Wel-Co — WMS-G (gas)
Photo courtesy of Wel-Co Diamond Tool
Traditional brick and paver table saws were also on display, including a new line from an old line blade company. Wel-Co Diamond Tool, Oldsmar, Fla., has been making diamond blades for decades and introduced a line of dry-cut saws at the shows this spring. The Gator DMS (dry masonry saw) is a brick cutter with a 14-inch blade and Metabo 15-amp motor. To improve the saw, a new blade, the Gatormate 3AMG, was also introduced. In addition, Wel-Co announced the WMS-E (electric) and WMS-G (gas) wet- or dry-cutting saws that also use the 14-inch blade configuration and a Baldor (WMS-E) or Honda (WMS-G) engine.

Designed for cost-effective, precision cutting of tile, marble, granite and brick pavers, the TP-10 tile/paver saw from Stow Construction Equipment, a division of Multiquip Inc., Carson, Calif., offers superior cutting capacities and durable yet lightweight construction. The TP-10 can rip a 24-inch tile in a single pass or cut an 18-inch tile diagonally. Powered by a totally enclosed, non-vented (TENV) 1.5-hp electric motor, the TP-10 has a blade capacity ranging from seven to 10 inches, and comes standard with the highly respected 10-inch diamond blade from Multiquip's Diamond Back Diamond Cutting Division. Additional blades and profiling wheels are also available.

Masonry magazine
Stow — TP-10 tile/paver saw
Photo courtesy of Stow, a division of MultiQuip

Masonry magazine
Victory Machines — MWG 350
Photo courtesy of Atlas Copco Construction Tools
The Stow saw weighs only 118 pounds (53.5 kilograms), and it can be quickly and easily disassembled into components that can be lifted by one person. The TP-10 is durable, with a corrosion-resistant, zinc-plated spider frame, and the saw's water tray is made from corrosion-resistant, high-impact plastic to further reduce weight. To promote stability, a scissor leg stand is available as an option.

There is another new/old company in the saw world. Diamond Vantage, long known for its cost-effective diamond blades, has formed a new company, Victory Machines, to manufacture a line of masonry saws. Its first release is the MWG 350, powered by a six-horsepower Subaru Robin gasoline engine. The 14-inch wet or dry table saw features dual cutting — with the blade fixed and the material moved into the cut or with the blade pivoted as a plunge cutter — and a stainless steel pan for easy cleaning and no rusting. In addition, the blade guard is designed so it stays level as the cutting head travels up and down.

Diamond in the Rough
Masonry magazine
Diamond Vantage - Rescue Blade
Diamond Vantage also introduced a new multipurpose diamond blade, called the Rescue Blade. Designed to cut a wide variety of material, this blade was developed with the rescue squad in mind. Police, fire and rescue units, as well as contractors, can use the blade to cut concrete, masonry materials, PVC, ductile iron and even glass.

Stow has also introduced new diamond blades. Each Stow blade is designed for use by contractors, delivering precision cuts at maximum efficiency. Individual blades can be used effectively on grinders, circular, cut-off, tile and masonry saws, as well as heavy-duty wet and dry saws. The diamond blades range in size from four to 48 inches in diameter for the rigorous cutting of concrete, asphalt, stone and most masonry materials. There are seven blade types within the line: dry/wet cut segmented, small diameter, high-speed dry cutting, specialized dry cutting, tile and masonry, wet cutting concrete and wet cutting asphalt. Their HSC Series combination diamond blades feature a special multipurpose design for use on all masonry materials either wet or dry. The combination line ranges from 12 to 20 inches in diameter.

Masonry magazine
Stow — 10SW2-MasonryBlade
Photo courtesy of Stow Construction Equipment

Masonry magazine
MK TigerTooth multipurpose blade
Photo courtesy of MK Diamond Products Inc.
An impressive cutter, another new blade comes from MK Diamond Products Inc., Torrance, Calif. While most blades have a line of diamonds along the outer cutting edge, the new MK TigerTooth multipurpose blade has diamonds in a spiraling pattern running from edge to center. In sizes ranging from four inches to 14 inches, the new design is available for air, gas and hydraulic saws and cutting masonry, iron, concrete and PVC, among other materials.

Each year, we find new and innovative approaches to what is often thought of as "old technology," such as saws, blades, drills and bits. New materials, new manufacturing methods and new designs seem to come along at a steady pace, each aimed at making the mason's job easier, faster and more accurate. Like you, we welcome the chance to see the newest and brightest stars in this galaxy.



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