More power, accurate cutting and dust control raise the bar for new masonry power tools.
By Brett Martin
New tools for the masonry industry continue the trend of lighter, faster and more comfortable. But today’s new tools also add the benefits of better pricing, increased production, and tackling one of the most pressing issues facing masonry contractors: dust control.
“I look at it from the regulations side, which say that you have to provide dust suppression,” says Brian Delahaut, VP and general manager for Torrance, Calif.-based MK Diamond Products Inc. The company has a new dust shroud for grinders.
“The shroud is opening up a lot of new doors,” says Delahaut. “Grinders create a lot of dust.”
Grinding and drilling tools containing dust
This month, new regulations from the California division of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, better known as Cal/OSHA, are slated to take effect in California that will require workers cutting masonry materials to contain the dust. In anticipation of the new requirement, MK Diamond developed its $96 vacuum dust shroud, the MK-IXL, which fits seven- and nine-inch grinders.
“It uses advanced technology that creates a negative pressure inside the shroud to create a vacuum,” Delahaut says. That technology, called cyclone dust extraction, uses the spinning, grinding wheel to generate “air velocity” in the snail-shaped shroud that channels the dust particles to the vacuum port.
“It captures about 95 percent of the dust,” he says, adding that collecting dust also reduces clean-up time at the end of the day, increases grinder efficiency, and increases worker productivity.
Masonry contractors can quickly and easily attach the shroud to a grinder without any tools, Delahaut says. “You’re up and running in two minutes.”
For collecting dust while drilling, Bosch Power Tools and Accessories in Mount Prospect, Ill., offers a new lightweight, compact, dust collection rotary hammer, the 11250VSRD, at a price of $259.
“For the price, it provides the most economic dust collection on the market,” says Mitch Burdick, product manager for Bosch. “It does 80 percent to 90 percent of the work of large models, but it costs a lot less money.”
The 3/4-inch SDS-Plus hammer uses two fans. One fan cools the motor, while the second one controls dust, Burdick says. “What it does is create suction at the top. There’s no dust entering the tool.”
The microfilter is able to capture the smallest dust particles. Anything that escapes the dust collection system is heavy enough to fall to the ground. The dust collector slides on and off with the push of a button, so users can clean the filter with compressed air or replace it. A transparent dust cap allows easy visibility to see when the canister is full.
Weighing 7.4 pounds with an overall height of 7.9 inches, the hammer is small enough to fit into hard-to-reach areas, according to Burdick. “The benefit you have is it’s very compact for working in all areas,” he says.
Faster tool for brick removal
The AS160 brick and mortar saw from Arbortech in Leominster, Mass., may look peculiar, but Henry Schweitzer, national sales manager for the company, says it’s the perfect tool for restoration and tuckpointing work.
“The beauty of the tool is brick removal,” he says. “It cuts square, it cuts deep, and it cuts dry; those are the three key issues that we look at. It uses orbital action, so it hammers and it chips as it’s cutting.”
Since the blade cuts squarely, masonry workers can cut vertical joints without marring the bricks above and below the joints, he says, pointing out that masonry contractors who use grinders spend a lot more time cutting vertical joints than they do horizontal joints. The AS160 cuts all joints quickly.
“With the AS160, you can control those vertical joints,” Schweitzer says. “You can square cut right around the brick. There’s no over-cutting. From a contractor’s perspective, it offers an increase in production because you don’t have to overcut and go back and patch the brick. It will save time with brick removal.”
Since the tool runs at only 6,500 rpms, users have a lot of control during cuts, he says. In addition, the cutting action helps reduce silica dust.
“As you’re hammering and chipping, it creates large particles of debris, not fly dust, that fall to the ground,” Schweitzer says, noting that users can attach a vacuum to collect the dust. The $1,065 purchase price includes a set of general purpose, tuckpointing and plunge blades.
Time-saving power cutter
For masonry contractors who want to cut materials inside or outside while keeping dust and slurry to a minimum, Husqvarna in Olathe, Kan., offers a line of power cutters.
“It cuts brick, stone and block,” says Mike Ward, product manager for power cutters for Husqvarna. “It’s an all purpose tool for masonry. It increases production, because you don’t have to mark the material, score it, and take it out and cut it. You can cut it on the spot.”
Taking material to the saw, rather than the other way around, can waste time, especially when cutting materials that are heavy to carry, he says.
“Some of the stuff they’re cutting weighs more than the power cutter does,” Ward says. “For a hardscaper, I don’t know how you’d operate without one.”
Husqvarna’s new K3000 electric power cutter, priced at $799, has a direct water supply and a governing valve to minimize water usage. Nozzles placed in specially designed housings, in specific locations, also keep water usage to a minimum, Ward says. The saw suppresses dust without producing excessive slurry.
An overload protection system, called Elgard, varies the blade’s rotation speed if the saw is approaching overload, he says. The rear handle is ergonomically designed to make cutting easier, especially during long work periods.
For gas-powered cutting, Husqvarna offers the K750. Its new DualCharge engine provides more power while lowering fuel consumption and reducing emissions, Ward says. The “SmartCarb” features a built-in automatic filter that maintains high power while using less gas, and the “active air filtration” has been upgraded with a redesigned paper filter for better dust control. A large muffler decreases noise by 25 percent. The 14-inch model costs $899.
Fast, user friendly concrete drill
Bosch Tools calls its new 11258VSR 5/8-inch SDS-Plus concrete drill with a 4.8-amp motor a faster alternative to less comfortable, obnoxiously loud hammer drills. The concrete drill is up to 50 percent faster than a two-speed hammer drill when drilling 3/8-inch diameter holes in concrete, according to the company.
“The 11258 is specifically for drilling small diameter holes in concrete,” Burdick says, adding that it’s a great tool for drilling tapcons. “It’s actually a small rotary hammer, which gives it less vibration. This is truly designed for the guy who’s drilling in concrete all day.”
He says the drill, which costs $159, works like a premium hammer drill, but it’s easier to handle, because it weighs about two pounds less than hammer drills.
“A tool that drills faster, runs quieter, and is more comfortable is going to be beneficial to these guys,” Burdick says. “It’s just a smooth tool for the job.”
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