Over the last couple of years, we’ve had a tougher time scheduling subs to do our flatwork because our jobs are too small and farther between. We already form and pour our foundations, so we decided to start pouring our garage slabs, patios, porches, and walkways too. As part of our work flow, we decided to cut control joints instead of tooling them. We have a Hilti 14-inch cut-off saw but found it difficult to keep the lines straight, and it was hard on the body to stay bent over. I asked Tools of the Trade to reach out and request the Skilsaw Walk Behind concrete cutting saw.
Skilsaw has taken its long history of building durable wormdrive motor and gear configurations and adapted it to cut concrete. A saw is paired with a rolling plate, water delivery system, vacuum attachment, and adjustable handle.
The handle is adjustable and folds down onto the saw, making for a compact tool. The large trigger on the handle has a soft-start feature, so when you hold the trigger, there is a delay before the blade winds up—a nice feature for safety.
To meet newer OSHA standards, the saw has a vacuum hose adapter that fits onto the upper handle and will accept 1 7/8- and 2 ½-inch hose ends. The saw also comes with a water delivery system that is very quick to install. Basically, the end slides into position behind the blade and one screw is tightened to hold it into place. One end of the blade wrench, which stores in the base plate, turns that screw. In practice, the water delivery system worked exceptionally well; we just turned the valve to start the flow of water and started cutting. Water doesn’t come gushing out but is controlled and does a great job of eliminating nearly all the dust.
The power cord attached to the handle features a GFCI switch to lower the risk of shock to the user. This is important because using water with an extension cord can be dangerous. Additionally, Skilsaw has designed the guard and foot brackets and fasteners to resist rust. Nice detail.
One thing I appreciate is that the wheels have a flat edge so this tool can be used up against a guide. I prefer cutting against a guide, even though the tool has a “pointer wheel” to help cut straight. My co-worker cuts straight without a guide; maybe I’ll just let him do the cutting.
We are typically placing concrete at 4 to 5 inches in depth. According to the Portland Cement Association, “contraction/control joints must be established to a depth of ¼ the slab thickness.” This saw cuts a maximum 2-inch depth with its 7-inch blade. Pushing 1 ½-inch depth was no problem for this saw.
Online I found the unit for about $540. I highly recommend this saw. It is easy to use and easy to store, does a great job meeting OSHA silica standards, and won’t break the bank.
This article originally appeared in Tools of the Trade.