Ridgid's New Fiber Cement Saw Sucks (in a good way)comments (2) June 3rd, 2009 in Blogs
Tool Hound isn't just about what FHB thinks of new tools, it's about what you - the readers, the builders, the users - think about new tools. Here is Canadian contractor Michel Roy's opinion of Ridgid's new fiber cement saw:
Here on Canada’s wet coast, fiber cement siding is a popular choice. Just like any where else, a trip past a typical building site reveals that lots of crews fail to protect their lungs from this silica-laden material while cutting it with circular saws. Ridgid’s Fuego R3400 Fiber Cement Saw is a nimble little machine, with a vacuum and hose built right in, to conveniently cut way back on the amount of airborne dust produced when cutting cementitious materials.
Down with the dust
The saw is equipped with a six tooth, 5-in. carbide-tipped blade, designed to make smooth cuts in cement-based siding. When the trigger switch is pulled, not only does the blade start spinning, as in a normal circular saw, but fans mounted at the back of the tool begin evacuating dust into the attached hose. At the end of the hose is an integral felt filter “lid” that you clamp onto any 5 gallon pail to collect the dust. And it really collects dust. After making a house worth of crosscuts in Hardie planks or other siding, you’ll be measuring the dust collected in inches. Dust will escape from through cuts where the blade is exposed below the material, but you can reduce it to zero with a site-built cutting table that buries the exposed blade in a piece of plywood.
As with most circular saws, you’ll get a better quality of cut if you face the good side down. The magnesium base plate and blade guard contribute to the saw’s light weight and easy handling. The depth of cut is fixed, but bevel angles can be set to up to 45 degrees with an easy to use, positive locking lever. The hose and cord are plenty long, and the 8 amp motor seems beefy enough to cut without bogging down.
A perk for remodelers, too
I had great luck using this new saw to tackle a problem that has foiled me for many years. I often work in older houses with wood lathe and plaster walls, and making rapid, straight, relatively dustless cuts in plaster has always given me headaches. I’ve tried circular saws with shop vacs hooked up to them, angle grinders with diamond blades, jigsaws and reciprocating saws, and of course an assortment of knives and chisels. In a recent project which involved enlarging a door opening I turned to the Fuego, and it worked perfectly. The circular motion of the blade is best for cutting though plaster and lath without the jack-hammering effect of a jigsaw or recip saw, which typically destroys adjacent plaster, and the dust collection worked better than anything I’d ever seen, putting most of that fine plaster dust neatly in a bucket, rather than in the air, where no matter how well you tape up a room, it seems to end up all over the house. I can barely wait to try it out on cement backer board in my next bathroom reno.
posted in: Blogs, siding, fiber cement, james hardie, Ridgid
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