Category Archives: Metalworking Tools
We recently put one of the new Makita 18V 5-7/8” Metal Circular Saw XSC02Z ($199, bare) into the hands of Evan, one of our tool testers who used it to put up new metal siding on a barn. This unit was the first brushless metal cutting circular saw to hit the market which not only adds power but also significantly boosts run-time. Another big difference with this unit is an increased capacity from 5-3/8” which was the standard for this type of saw to the 5-7/8” after finding some limits on common 2” applications, the XSC02 has a full 2-1/4” capacity.
This week Metabo held a media event to showcase their current and upcoming tools. Of course we all know Metabo Grinders and Slicer Wheels as some of the best on the market for professional fabricators and metal workers. Metabo is known far less for cordless tools but we were incredibly impressed by their battery technology, which is very likely one of the best technologies around, granted a little pricier.
Building on their success in the grinder and metal working category Metabo is extremely focused on all tools related to metal working and bringing very specialized corded and cordless tool to market in this category. These new beveling tools are a great example of this coming to life.
Last year we saw the big press event hoopla focused on Milwaukee’s first ever cordless M18 FUEL Mag Drill 2787-22 ($2199) which performed equal to corded and had a ton of awesome new features. At the end of the day however most people can’t justify a price, 2x to 3x what an equivalent corded unit. Since that time Milwaukee quietly replaced their old mag drill 4270-21 with the New Milwaukee 1-5/8” Mag Drill 4272-21 ($899) which shares many of the same innovative features that people loved with the cordless but at a price of their old corded unit. See how this units stacks up to the other popular mag drills.
For years Jet has offered several competitively priced, pretty good 6″, 8″ & 10″ bench grinders. JET now offers a solution for heavy duty applications with their new line of Industrial Bench Grinders. Built to work in demanding, high volume environments, these grinders are durable enough to tackle the toughest grinding applications all day long while delivering high quality results you’d expect from a JET shop tool. Paired with JET’s new Metal Dust Collection Stand, these grinders become the perfect solution for high volume shops. (more…)
Once upon a time concrete was cut by abrasive wheels, they disintegrated very quickly, were dangerous and wasted a lot of time. Then concrete diamond wheels changed the way we cut concrete and it became much easier. You’d look at someone like they were crazy if they cut concrete with an abrasive blade instead of a diamond blade. We think steel cutting is going to change in the next couple years as well, it’s very possible soon you’ll think of abrasive metal cutting wheels much the same way. The Milwaukee STEELHEAD Diamond Cutting Wheels for Metal and Stainless are that first step forward where the price we think might have hit the tipping point.
Recently we meet with the good folks at Freud Diablo to demo some of their new cutting products. One of those product that caught our eye was an upgrade to their 3 most popular Steel Demon metal cutting circular saw blades: 8” D0842CF ($54), 12” D1260CF ($99) & 14” D1472CF ($119). The big upgrade being, tips are now made with Cermet 2 instead of Tungsten Carbide which honestly didn’t mean much to us at the time. It did raise the questions what is “Cermet” and how/why is it an improvement? After doing some additional research, we found out Cermet is a pretty big deal, NASA is using the tech to make new spacecraft parts. It is not technically carbide (even though they put “Cermet 2 Carbide” on blade), it is a composite material made from Ceramic (cer) and Metallic (met) material, the outcome of Cermet is a harder material that is more resistant to heat than traditional tungsten carbide. Cermet 2 (or Cermet II) is the specific composition which holds up best to brazing and grinding, needed to more securely put teeth on a saw blade.
This is not a total new concept to cutting tools as more precision industrial tools have used this before. It is the first time we’ve seen it used in standard 14″ metal cutting blades (especially under $120!). The benefits Freud is claiming with their Cermet 2 tooth blades are up to 3X-5X cutting life (in video you can hear him say up to 20X) and the ability to cut all ferrous metal, both traditional steel and stainless steel with the same blade. See the live demo above which drives that point home.
Even thought these are the 3 most common size metal blades, there are not too many options in actual metal cutting saws, most of which are pushing their own metal blades. Recently SKILSAW (Freud’s sister company) announced they would be going after professional metal cutting saw business in 2016 with the launch of an 8” worm-drive metal saw and 12” metal chop saw both of which will come with the new Freud Cermet blades. That still leaves an opening in the 14” saw market and since Milwaukee no longer has a 14” metal saw option the majority of new saws that can use these blades will be either Dewalt DW872 ($449) or Morse Metal Devil CSM14MB ($489).
The SKIL brand has a heritage of making quality tools and at the center of that has always been circular saws. In recent years the SKIL brand has struggled to send a clear message to consumers with pro quality circular saws but also getting into consumer grade cordless and other tools really not intended for pro use. The SKILSAW brand breaking away from the rest of SKIL Tools along with the launch of some new pretty sweet saws like the 10-1/4” Sawsquatch ($449) and partnership with Freud Diablo blades (Both Bosch Brands) has helped bring the SKILSAW name back into the conversation for professional users. (more…)
If you are in the market for a new portable magnetic drill Ohio Power Tool have a very attractive offer if you purchase any Hougen Mag Drill you can get a free annular cutter kit (up to $260 value). This is a mail-in rebate but still a very nice deal that runs all of October & November. An additional deal from Ohio Power Tool on the HMD904 ($845) and swivel base HMD904S ($956) you’ll get a free Coolant System ($100 value) ships instantly.
For over 50 years the Wilton Bullet Vise has been the top of the line option in vise category of course Wilton has a full range of options including their more economically friendly line of Utility Vises. Recently Wilton brought that same toughness to a new line of indestructible B.A.S.H. hammers (Bad Ass Sledge Hammer). While the response to these hammers has been very positive there is still a large group of professional users not willing to invest the higher cost upfront for the BASH hammer. For those that got 1 BASH they continue to replace their wood or fiberglass handled sledges with these longer lasting and safer hammers.
The big challenge for Wilton BASH hammers is getting people to try them in the first place which everyone’s willing to do if you give it to them for FREE. The solution, package their most popular BASH Hammer 4lb 20412 ($47) with their most popular Wilton Utility 6.5” Vise 11128 ($189) and sell the two as a packaged deal 11128BH ($149) for less than the vise alone! This looks like the BASH hammer actually used in the video above to pound out the fuel tank. (more…)
Over the years Metabo has really stepped out as the leader in high performance grinders. While grinders from Milwaukee, Dewalt, Bosch and Makita have continued to get better performance from their grinders the need to hit certain price points for the home centers or match each other has led to a balancing act of lower price vs performance. Metabo Professional Series of grinders has taken a little different approach to basically build the best possible grinder for the trades with all the feature options they might need. The result as you’d expect is a slightly higher price but offers the best performance and extended tool life. In the long run this can more than make up the initial investment, especially for those that rely on these tools for continuous use.