By Jon EakesOne-Tooth Saws
a one-tooth saw possibly be worth $375?
When it will cut a hole for a six-inch rigid ventilation duct without twisting your arm off yes! .
When we first started
putting in HRVs in the '80s, we were stuck with the reality that the biggest
hole saw you could buy in the hardware store stopped at six inches - just
a quarter inch too small to fit that metal ducting through the hole. I even
talked Starrett into bringing in a 160mm (6-5/16-inch) hole saw from Europe
to help us out, but it never sold much because you had to weigh 300 pounds
to not find yourself spinning around the drill. All those teeth would bite
in and just sit there.
So this year Lenox made the first really major innovation in hole saws in a long time. They realized that we often need a hole, but not a beautiful hole. If you can accept a very rough cut, then you can use a single very wide tooth. The carbide tooth on the 6-1/4-inch model is almost 5/16 inch wide. The housing does not bind.
The chip clearance is
a monstrous gaping slot in the side of the saw: no clogging of chips. The
rim itself acts as a kickback guide that prevents it from biting more than
you can handle. With only one tooth, you actually maintain control of the
If you need 1-1/2-inch or two-inch holes cut on an angle, the one tooth design allows for that as well. If it is not too flat an angle, just start crooked and you will discover it is possible to seat the saw using a long spade bit for the pilot. If you need a radical angle, drill it somewhat straight first, then use the curve of the first hole to seat the housing for the angled cut, as in the bottom-left photo. That single tooth design gives you a surprising degree of control and you never have to back out to clear the chips.
They're called One Tooth Rough Wood Hole Cutters and they're sold in all self-respecting renovation centres. See also: www.LenoxSaw.com.
How to destroy the
best of your blades
You may have figured it out by now, but when you take your mitre saw and chop into laminate flooring with a silicone carbide or titanium finish, you are lucky if your blade lasts to the end of the installation. First you need to realize that the durable stuff in this finish is the same material used to make grinding stones. So you are actually grinding your saw teeth with each chop. If you are also using a standard wood cutting blade with pointed teeth, you are wiping out the leading edge of the saw in the first few cuts.
The reality is that no saw manufacturer has yet figured out how to make a blade that allows constant chopping directly into this kind of a finish. Freud and others have made specific laminate flooring blades, but they won't last if you don't learn new working habits.
Next, you need to tackle
this material with a scraping action, not an aggressive bite that will cause
chipping; hence, the blade needs a negative hook angle. Now, neither of these
details are ideal for fine furniture grade cuts in wood, but they will cut
wood while working very well in composite materials such as masonite.
You have the right blade, but now you have to learn to use it properly. If you strike flat on the surface of laminate flooring, you get that grinding effect on the saw blade teeth. If you can stand the wood up, a chopping action allows the saw to cut perpendicular to the tough surface, hitting very little of the abrasive material at a time and saving the blade. If you are cutting too wide a piece to stand up against the fence, then you must use either a table saw, radial arm saw, or sliding mitre saw so that you can cut into the piece with the blade perpendicular to the abrasive surface. For most of you that means always cutting with a sliding mitre box, not a chop saw, and always using the sliding stroke.
It doesn't normally matter that the blade is rising up out of the good surface because cut ends generally go under the quarter round, but you could reverse your boards for a smoother cut on the finish side. Freud's 10-inch 80-tooth Laminate Flooring Blade lists for $130. See: www.Freud.ca.
If I tried to sell you on dowels that cost $7 to $9 apiece, I don't think I would get many of you too excited. But if I offered you a sturdy nut-and-bolt system similar to knock-down furniture that could cinch up a joint with absolutely nothing showing when it is tight - no plug, no caps, no putty, totally invisible - you might get more interested. If, in addition, it was strong enough for rails and banisters, at least those of you who build high-end houses might take notice.
It was originally designed for knock-down industrial applications like kiosks at exhibitions, but high-end home builders are finding it a great way to install and maintain stair rails as well as designer partitions.
Kits with all the jigs, drills, drivers and fasteners you need to get started run from $200 to $700. Check out the video at www.swissinvis.com or contact the Canadian distributor at firstname.lastname@example.org. HB
Montreal-based TV broadcaster, author, home renovation and tool expert Jon Eakes provides a tool feature in each edition of Home BUILDER.