Made from CNC-machined aluminum, InnovaTools’ bidirectional cut-off tool brings smoother cutting efficiency to most Tapco and Van Mark brakes, while the Anvil extensions restore your brake's full cutting capacity.

I regularly use a metal brake for bending flashing and trim. Over the past year or so, I’ve been using several accessories from InnovaTools—including a two-way cutter and a pair of Anvil extensions—on a Tapco Max-i-mum XL brake. Installing the Anvil extensions was simple and, once installed, they can be easily adjusted using an Allen key to ensure perfect alignment with the brake rails. After adding the two-way cutting tool to the brake and spending a few minutes fine-tuning my setup and making a few cuts, I was impressed with how much smoother they made the cutting process and how they solved several problems commonly experienced when a metal brake is used.

For example, when cutting metal stock to size on a 10‑foot 6-inch brake, I typically want to rip it in 10-foot lengths. To start the rip, a cut-off tool generally takes up the first 4 to 6 1/2 inches of the right side of the brake. That doesn’t leave enough brake for the cut-off tool to finish a 10-foot cut while still in contact with the anvil rail, requiring extra support to prevent camming on the rail. This makes it hard to rip long stock down with any efficiency and creates extra wear.

The Anvil extensions ($97 per pair) are a simple but elegant solution to this problem, improving the cutting capacity and efficiency of the brake by allowing for the use of the entire brake length. With the extensions, I was able to start and end cutting material outside of the brake itself, eliminating the cam or twist that can occur on the cut-off tool as a cut is finished. And as a bonus, the built-in stop on the extensions prevents the cut-off tool from running off the end of the brake.

The Anvil extensions add 6 inches to both sides of the brake, and have built-in stops that prevent the cutter from coming off the rail.

As the name implies, the two-way cutter ($525) can cut in both directions. When I first saw this tool, I thought that it looked like a fancy high-tech—but not particularly useful—gadget compared with other cut-off tools I have seen or used in the past. However, now that I have used it, my opinion has changed. I have one word to describe this tool now: efficiency.

I encountered a bit of a learning curve when I first started out with the cut-off tool, mostly because of muscle memory and having done tasks a certain way for so long. But after using it for a little while, I could operate it easily with no issues and found that it reduced the number of steps I had to take to rip stock. For example, with more traditional cutters, I can rip stock only from right to left on the brake because of how the cutters are set up. With the two-way cutter, I can cut from either direction, which eliminates the steps wasted walking back to the right side of the brake to reposition the cutter and start a new cut.

The two-way cutter allows you to start cuts from either the left side or the right side of the brake; when you're finished, the cutter flips up and out of the way.

The two-way cutter offers a couple of other benefits. One is that the cutter is set up with a 1-inch offset, which makes calculating the rip width easy when I’m laying out cuts. Second, the two-way cutter can be flipped up and out of the way, allowing it to remain on the brake while I’m bending stock, a feature that is not standard with traditional cutters. The InnovaTools Anvil extensions and two-way cutter are an excellent duo that will make anyone’s metal brake work more efficient.

Photos by Aron Jones