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Cordless Circular saw for roofing

Discussion in 'Tools and Materials' started by frank999, 22 Jun 2019.

  1. frank999

    frank999

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    I am just about to start work on building some roofs.

    In the past I have used a 190mm corded circ saw, cord was a bit of a hassle, and the 190 blade meant some of the cuts were just short - requiring finishing with a handsaw, it also tended to chew through sets of carbon brushes.

    Have been looking at Cordless Circ saws for this job, I see loads of 165mm cordless saws, but not so many of the larger 190mm and 230mm.

    The saw will be in my hand all day, a 230mm I can imagine is quite a lump - and only needed for certain larger cuts - a sharp handsaw can be put to use where needed.

    I also see two battery, and single battery saws, presume my current Hitachi drill and driver batteries wont work, and specific high load batteries are required.

    Any recommendations for cordless circular saws for roofing appreciated.
     
  2. foxhole

    foxhole

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  3. frank999

    frank999

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    Thanks for the Stihl demonstration:


    ... an option - but ... 'could be neater' ...

    .. always fancied owning a chainsaw - just not for cutting structural timber.
     
  4. foxhole

    foxhole

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    My roofer cut all joints but two on the ground then carried them up , on his own , including 9x3 6m timbers , very impressed he was well over 60 and only a little guy.
     
  5. blup

    blup

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  6. frank999

    frank999

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  7. ntb

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  8. JobAndKnock

    JobAndKnock

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    165mm is a great size for smaller general work and with a brushless motor and thin kerf blades you get very good run time from an 18 volt 5Ah battery (I use a Makita DHS680 all the time - it often replaces my handsaw). Not big enough for roofing work, though.

    230/235mm is a great size for heavy carpentry (purlins, joists, beams, cutting out thick and/or nail embedded floors, etc - talking 8 x 3s and upwards here), but the saws themselves weigh a ton. Not surprising, really, when you consider that the average 110 volt models are 1600 to 1800 watts. Probably a bit on the heavy side for roofing as well, and AFAIK no cordless options and probably never will be, either (at least not for maybe a decade). First hand experience of these (Hilti WSC-85 and Bosch GKS85) tells me that they are a bit of a handful on all but flat roofs, plus being a royal PIA to drag around (size, weight), however nothing else I've tried will slice through 80mm thick 150 year old nail-embedded, metal tongued floorboards in a single pass like the Hilti will. The Hilti's plunge cut facility is also way safer, not to mention more accurate, than manual plunging/drop cutting into the material

    184/190mm is available in cordless. Milwaukee and DW offer brushless models, Makita *(with the DHS710) is still brushed, although for something different you may want to consider the Makita DRS780 (XSR01 in the USA). Just tried one of these and it ticks a lot of boxes - left side blade (which makes squaring and angle cuts with a speed square guide a doddle), blade forward position (like a traditional worm drive rip snorter) and lots of grunt from its' brushless motor. It features a 65mm depth of cut and takes dual batteries. Downside at the moment is that you'd need to import from the USA (plenty on ebay, though). I'm on Makita and I have six 5Ah batteries plus sundry others which makes the Makita an ideal choice. When mine actually arrives and I can get to thrash it a bit I may post some comments

    Only thing I'll say about cordless saws is that they are heavy on battery usage and you absolutely must use thin kerf blades and swap the blades when they start to go dull - because not doing either is a sure fire recipe for shortened run time. The upside is that they lack a cord, and the single battery models are really light. Stick with 5Ah or higher if you are looking for useable battery life and have TWO sets of batteries (the dual battery saws also require a dual battery charger for most effective usage)
     
    Last edited: 27 Jun 2019
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  10. JobAndKnock

    JobAndKnock

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    Problem in trade use is that the HSE hate them and class them the same as forestry (chain) saws - so require Kevlar pants, chainsaw boots, vizor, gloves, full training (mandatory under PUWER 98, around £300 to £350 I believe), oh, and your PL (and life) insurance goes up, too
     
    Last edited: 28 Jun 2019
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  11. frank999

    frank999

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    Thanks for that useful info - yes thought the larger saws might be more of a PIA, finishing the cut with a handsaw - whilst also a PIA will get the job done.
     
  12. opps

    opps

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    I am guessing that the Festool "chainsaw" is not subject to the same rulings.

    It auto stops when the power button is released and has something akin to a riving knife that runs along the rear of the chain and under the bottom.

    It is corded though (7.5m flex), has a depth of cut of 200mm and weighs 6.5Kg. It tilts up to 60 degrees and can be used freehand or on a Festool guide track. Oh and it can be connected to a dust extractor.

    Costs a grand though.
     
  13. JobAndKnock

    JobAndKnock

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    And unless things have changed it still isn't available in 110 volt (more or less mandatory for site work) and it has a flex - so probably NBG to the OP. Also a lot less convenient to handle than a "worm drive" framing saw (bigger). I don't know about acceptability - it would very much depend on whether or not you could get the tool through the risk assessment and method statement stages of a job. I'm waiting for the day when Festool (and for that matter Mafell, too) finally wakes up to the reality that if you want to sell stuff to the trade in the UK, then it needs to be 110 volt (just like in the USA) and that lugging a 110 to 230 volt step-up transformer around to power a tool is generally a no-go. Methinks I could be waiting a while

    For big cuts I use a deWalt DWE396 alligator saw, which benefits from taking a cautious approach. Can cut just under 12in and is much quicker than using a recip saw on the really big cuts. Straighter, too
     
    Last edited: 28 Jun 2019
  14. opps

    opps

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    Valid points. I hadn't considered the 110v thing, I don't do "site" work. All my work is domestic.

    The OP did state that he currently uses a corded circular saw, but yes he is looking for a cordless solution. Your suggestion of a cordless alligator saw sounds like a good solution.
     
  15. frank999

    frank999

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    deWalt DWE396 alligator saw

    Looks like a motorised hand saw ... much like a common reciprocating saw, but with a broader blade.

    Bit of lateral thinking ...
     
  16. JobAndKnock

    JobAndKnock

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    Slower than a circular saw, faster than a recip saw (more accurate, too). Ideal for cutting-out large beam and purlin ends when doing repairs (providing there are no nails embedded) where the 4 to 5mm kerf is of no odds. At least that's what I use mine for as it's the only tool I can think of to use on 450 x 200mm softwood beams. Not sure that I'd want to try it as a general roofing saw, though. At around £400 new they aren't cheap, although clean second hand ones can be had for under £200 (almost always 110 volt from what I've seen). Wood blades are about £45 a set - there are also blades for insulation blocks and Poroton (cellular clay blocks). Secondary usage could be cutting firewood especially as DW have very handily introduced a FlexVolt version. Don't yet know how good that is, though, as mine is a corded model.
     
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