The World of Concrete is just a couple weeks away and one of the most functional but underutilized concrete tools is the Concrete Chain Saw. The down side for these saws is that the chains are a bit pricey, we won’t disagree it is definitely cheaper to use a standard circular diamond saw blade. However a handheld 14” cut-off saw ($699-$1199) can only cut into material with a depth of 5”. The smallest (& cheapest) diamond chainsaw 680ES-12 ($1399) can actually cut a full 12” depth of concrete and these saws can go all the way up to 25” cutting depth. It can be a little misleading, side by side, 14” cut-off saw next to a 14” chain saw, while the measurements in the titles are the same these tools are very different.The most important thing to keep in mind, a Concrete Chainsaw is not a replacement for a cut-off saw! Almost never do you want to use a chainsaw without first pre-cutting as much as you can with a cut-off saw. If you can pre-cut 5” into an 8” poured wall, you just saved about 60% chain life and a lot of money. A 12” chain is $339, while a diamond wheel is as low as $50 (14” Delux-Cut Blade) these days. Again the chainsaws work hand in hand (not either or) for cutting through thicker concrete, make clean corner cuts, eliminate over cutting and doing it all handheld with little setup time.
We have found trouble with setup, confusion on replacement chains, price intimidation and other factors lead to this option being overlooked and either skipping out on work, doing costly workarounds or having to hire the task out. With some basic training and a little practice on non-critical material these are very consistent and reliable machines. If you stop by the ICS booth at World of Concrete show typically they’ll let you go to town cutting concrete with their machines and chains.
ICS also have diamond chains that will work on most of their saws for cut utility pipe, called PowerGrit. Again there are similar blades with this technology for cut-off saws like the Core Cut A to Z Blade or the Milwaukee STEELHEAD diamond blades we posted last week. Again smart money is to uses the PowerGrit utility chainsaw in conjunction with a cut-off. For cuts 5” and under, use a circular diamond blade on a cut-off saw but for larger cuts or hard to reach cuts use the chainsaw with PowerGrit chain. These saws and the correct accessories should always be thought of together to most cost effectively make cuts.
For more info on concrete cutting or concrete core drilling applications give the pros at Ohio Power Tool a call 800-242-4424 and they will be happy to help you find the right tool or accessory for the job. See the ICS Chainsaw face-off in a National Geographic series below.
Showdown of the Unbeatables – ICS Chainsaw – National Geographic
The Torch vs Diamond Chainsaw – National Geographic