Every year, there are a plethora of new masonry saws available at the spring construction shows. From large, high-powered gasoline and electric table saws to the smaller handheld cut-off, chain and reciprocating saws, there is always something new and exciting each year. Here's a glimpse at some of the new cutting products, as well as a few cutting cousins, that may be of interest for the hardworking masonry industry.
EDCO Inc. of Frederick, Md., has released two, newly upgraded versions of its BB-14 line of table saws. Available in gas- and electric-powered versions, the BB-14 line provides mason contactors with a portable table saw that can accommodate up to a 14-inch blade. Both models provide a universal cutting table with water drain holes and centered wood block, eliminating the need to cut through the table. Each also comes standard with: a universal ProCart, which accepts any 14-inch masonry saw; a water pump mount for easier adjustment; and a vacuum hookup for dust-free cutting. The slightly lighter electric model (BB-14E) offers a 1.5-horsepower engine, while the gas-powered model (BB-14G) is available with a 5.5-, 6.5- or nine-horsepower engine.
Husqvarna of Olathe, Kansas, also introduced the new TS 400 masonry table saw this spring. Decidedly focused on ease of use, the TS 400 offers mason crews several patented features, including a unique height adjustment device that is lockable in any position, a "tooless" blade quick disconnect flange, and semi-automatic foldable legs for easier handling.
In addition to these creature comforts, the TS 400 also provides: a laser pointer for precise cuts; an easily adaptable head for 12-, 14- or 16-inch blades; and the head oscillates with assistance from a gas-operated jack, as well as tilts for 45-degree miter cuts. To make work even easier, the stand converts to a two-wheel cart for trouble-free maneuverability.
High-speed, Cut-off Saws
Not to let down those who favor on-the-spot portable cutting action, Husqvarna also introduced its K960 high-speed, cut-off saw. Touted as the company's largest and most powerful machine, the 6.1-horsepower K960 offers extreme power, low emissions and excellent fuel economy through its exclusive DualCharge engine technology. This newest member of the family also offers Active Air FiltrationTM, which increases the life of the filters by three to five times; the SmartCarbTM feature, which ensures the high power is retained; an EasyStart feature that provides 50 percent easier starts; and the DuraStarter, which reduces wear on the starter. Further, the sealed transmission diminishes wear and the risk of belt slippage, while the self-lubricating clutch bearings extend the life of the saw.
While providing a host of efficiency and maintenance upgrades, the K960 also provides several bonus features for user comfort, including a larger, more comfortable front handle and a vibration damping system that cuts vibration levels to below 5m/s2.
Not to be out-matched, Stihl of Virginia Beach, Va., also introduced a new handheld cut-off machine, the TS 800 Stihl Cutquik®. With an engine capable of 9,000 rpm, but sporting a five-point, dual-element anti-vibration system, the TS 800 offers power and performance in a lightweight package. Also, like the K960, the TS 800 presents a 16-inch blade capacity and an advanced air filtration system to keep the machine up and running.
Finally, Milwaukee Electric Tool Corporation of Brookfield, Wis., has released a hybrid part high-speed cut-off saw, part circular saw with its new 14-inch handheld cut-off machine, the 6185-20. Publicized as a broad spectrum product that can handle cutting tasks for materials from masonry to metal, the corded 15-amp handheld machine can be used for cutting brick, access opening cuts and crack control. The Milwaukee machine sports a full 4-3/8-inch cut, easy blade changes and shoe adjustments, and an easier two-finger trigger. The saw also comes with a wide shoe for additional stability, and offers ergonomic handles for increased operator comfort.
For those who need plunge cut abilities, the 2007 633GC from ICS Blount Inc. of Portland, Ore., could provide the perfect option. Providing all of the functional benefits of the original ICS masonry chain saws, the 633GC is capable of making extreme, 16-inch-deep plunge cuts; square corners without over-cuts; anti-kickback performance; and wet cutting features.
The newest model also offers several improved features to help increase the product's longevity and decrease user fatigue, including: a sealed crankshaft, special air filter, a water-resistant electronic ignition, a new slurry channel feature that eliminates starter clogging, a more durable crankcase, and better vibration isolation all of this and an engine that provides 6.5-horsepower at 8,700 rpm.
Another option for masonry crews needing to make plunge cuts or to complete renovation work is the WSR 1400-PE reciprocating saw by Hilti USA of Tulsa, Okla. A well established worker in the European masonry industry, reciprocating saws are starting to become included at U.S. construction job sites.
Hilti's new version has an impressive 13.5 amp motor with six speed settings, allowing for a full range of tasks, from delicate removal of individual bricks to faster, more aggressive cutting jobs. Some of the new improvements to the WSR 1400-PE are its Smart PowerTM system, which allows the machine to maintain constant blade speed under load, and Active Vibration Reduction, which significantly reduces vibration and provides the operator better working comfort. It also features a heavy-duty front handle and a comfort side handle for improved handling and control.
Rounding out the introduction of this new powerhouse is Hilti's full line of carbide-tipped reciprocating blades, made to cut everything from brick and asphalt, to wood and plastic.
Other Cutting Accessories
During the spring construction shows, manufacturers also introduced several cutting options that go beyond the norm.
First, the patented BrickConstrictorTM made by Lochotzki Masonry LLC of Fremont, Ohio, provides extra assistance for those utilizing high-speed cut-off saws. Able to hold up to 11 bricks on a solid working table, the user can quickly mark and cut all of the brick in one fell swoop. The BrickConstrictor is great for those who consistently cut groups of brick to a certain length. The bricks are solidly held between the front and back fence, while the guide easily slides to provide a straight rule to mark any length necessary for each group of brick.
Two final options shift users away from the typical grinder-style gas and electric machines to quiet, dustless guillotine-style cutters.
The Cultured Clean-Cut is specifically made to cut manufactured stone. Compact in design, it can provide precise cuts without the need for gas or electricity, and it eliminates the dust typically associated with cutting masonry materials. The silent cutting machine can be used by a single laborer, or contractors can purchase several to sit next to each mason to increase productivity all the way down the line.
The last product isn't actually on the market yet, but certainly merits mention. The patented Lechner Built brick cutter, created by Donald Wayne Lechner of Seminole, Ala., uses a similar guillotine-style idea as the previously mentioned product, but this powerhouse chops bricks in half like they're butter. Demonstrations show that a single user can cut five bricks with the Lechner Built brick cutter for every one cut by a traditional masonry saw. This quiet, dustless machine also eliminates the need for power cords, gasoline, water and ear plugs.
Lechner is currently seeking a manufacturer for his invention, and can be reached at (251) 946-3163.
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