Average Rating: 4.0
Your rating: none

Rental Solution
Help Your Concrete Contractors Cut Deep

Know which hand-held power cutter meets your contractors' needs

By Mike Ward

Husq chain saw

Chain saws, ring saws, Cut-N-Break saws can all serve a purpose when your contractor customers need to cut from five to 16 inches of concrete.

Your concrete-cutting contractor customers are likely to tackle jobs requiring cuts deeper than five inches. Knowing which handheld power cutter fits their deep-cutting needs will help your customers increase productivity and profitability.
Deep cuts can mean depths from five inches up to 16 inches. Each deep cutting project carries its own unique set of
circumstances, which the contractor needs to consider. In all jobs, choosing the right equipment and blade, along with proper planning, are keys to completing a job efficiently and quickly.

Before you can help your customer select the right type of equipment and diamond blade, you’ll need to answer some basic, but important, questions:

  1. What is the size of the opening?
  2. What is the depth or thickness of the concrete?
  3. Will cutting take place indoors or outdoors?
  4. What is the type of material to be cut?

There are several different types of handheld machines on the market that are able to make deep cuts – chainsaws, ring saws and Cut-n-Breaks. There are also blades to cut just about any type of material on the market – with different speed and life expectations. We will leave an in-depth discussion on diamond blades for another discussion, and focus on selecting the right handheld power cutter. It is important to understand each handheld power cutter and how it performs to determine which is best for the job your customers have at hand.

Concrete cutting chainsaws are a good option when you need to make irregular cuts. Due to the bar, chainsaws can fit in places where core drills or larger saws can’t fit. They also make a good companion to a wall saw, to help avoid overcutting at the corners. Chainsaws are one of the only handheld machines that do not use a blade, but a chain. Most chains contain 32 segments per 64 drive links. 

  • Size of opening: small openings, up to 9"
  • Depth or thickness of concrete:  up to 15" deep cuts from one side
  • Cutting indoor or outdoor: depends on the type of machine

Ring Saws
A ring saw uses a unique drive disc and blade guard with guide rollers, which work together to enable the saw to cut deeper than a traditional handheld saw. Ring saws are available on the market in different models – gas powered, hydraulic and a new, High Frequency electric version. The High Frequency version is the cleanest option, a great choice if there are environmental restrictions for a job. It can also be used indoors. Depending on power, preference and cutting conditions, any of these are good options.

Ring saw blades look just like a ring. It has a ring of diamonds with the center removed. This is due to the drive disc, which acts like a core for the blade. This is how a ring saw is able to cut deeper than a traditional power cutter.

  • Size of opening: medium to large openings such as 3’x3’ window to 9’x9’ garage door openings
  • Depth or thickness of concrete: up to 10"
  • Cutting indoor or outdoor: depends on the type of machine

The Cut-n-Break is a unique handheld saw in that it uses two blades and an adjustable blade guard to make deep cuts. There are two models on the market, a gas version and an electric version. The electric version is ideal for indoor projects and flush cutting.

The Cut-n-Break method is an economical way to make large openings. The method centers on cutting in stages, until the desired depth is reached. Cuts are made up to 2 1/2 inches deep by 3/4 inch. Because the cutter has twin blades, a core is formed in the saw cut. The core is broken out with the accompanying breaking tool, making the cut ready for another 2 1/2 inch deep cut. The contractor continues this process until reaching the required depth, up to 16 inches maximum.
The Cut-n-Break power cutter uses two blades at a time. The blades are unique in that they are smaller than traditional power cutter blades at only nine inches. The smallest traditional power cutter blade is 12 inches. The blades, along with the guide roller on the upper guard, enable the saw to be one of the deepest cutting handheld power cutters on the market.

  • Size of opening:  minimum opening of 11"
  • Depth or thickness of concrete: up to 16"
  • Cutting indoor or outdoor: depends on the type of machine

Making a decision
After considering the deep sawing options available, it might make sense to use a combination of saws. Sometimes combining saws and using each for their optimal purpose will lend the best cost and production. Keep in mind deep cutting can be accomplished with a variety of tools, and power cutters are just one option. There are many other saws on the market, such as ride-on, walk-behind and mounted models.

If you are still unsure of the best tool for a customer’s project, consider contacting a manufacturer in your area. Other great resources to use are associations, training sessions or trade shows where you can test various pieces of equipment. There are plenty of support systems available, ready to share valuable knowledge and help you make the best decision possible.

Mike Ward is product manager – Power Cutters, Husqvarna Construction Products.

Originally published in the May/June 2014 issue of Pro Contractor Rentals. Copyright 2014 Direct Business Media.


Post comment / Discuss story * Required Fields
Your name:
E-mail *:
Comment *: