As a follow-up to my recent post regarding all things hammer, I’m writing this article to complement the previous post. This time it’s a comparison of three claw hammers rather than more on the evolution of the hammer which I covered pretty comprehensively in my last post. We’ve chosen three in an attempt to be scientific with our testing.
So, what’s so special about these hammers? Isn’t a hammer, JUST a hammer? Well, yes, it’s a hammer and essentially they’re the same thing; it’s used to hit things with! However (according to experts, designers, trade professionals and the manufacturer) , there are some interesting nuances between the three hammers I’m looking at. The first is a very popular old classic from Estwing, who you will know if you read my other blog post about hammers has been making hammers since 1923, their E3 claw hammer being one of the most popular hammers for professionals all over the planet. The second hammer I’ll be looking at is a new innovative design by Vaughan, an American company that’s been making hammers since 1869; it’s their Dalluge style straight claw titanium hammer! And finally our control or baseline for a reasonable everyday hammer, so I chose the Stanley 51-621 hammer created with a fibreglass handle to reduce vibration.
So let’s look at the three and their attributes.
The Stanley hammer 51-621
The heat treated forged high carbon steel curved claw head is fully polished and rim tempered for durability and safety.
The fibreglass handle absorbs shock and vibration and the textured rubber ensures a comfortable, secure grip.
High visibility yellow makes the hammer safe and easy-to-locate in work areas.
So, basically an everyday and cheap hammer, for around £12 inc VAT at your local shop or online. Not pretty to look at with a rubber grip and fibreglass handle that in reality does little to cushion the blows you land. Yes, it’s better than cheaper hammers, a little. But it doesn’t really match up to the other two. So this is our baseline hammer, everyone at home has something of this quality or slightly better.
The Estwing hammer E3/16
The Estwing E3 series curved claw hammers have a vinyl grip made from liquid vinyl bonded on to the shaft during production, offers the utmost in both comfort and durability, while reducing vibrations caused by impact.
The conventional carpenters’ curved claw hammer offers unsurpassed balance and temper.
Made in the USA from high quality steel.
As I’ve already said earlier, the Estwing E3 claw hammer is the go to tool of the professional, the workhorse of the construction site for the carpentry teams. The steel shaft goes the length of the hammer with the vinyl handle molded around it to create the soft handle. This hammer would set you back around £50! I’ve known carpenters who have their Estwing hammer for 20 years.
The Vaughan “Dalluge” style straight claw hammer
Weight: (16 oz.).
Handle length: 430mm (17 inch)
The lightweight DDT 16, with its patented deep “V” head design, provides faster, greater power at point of impact with less stress and arm fatigue.
The DDT 16 hammer features a patented titanium head with overstrike guard. It’s exclusive Double “D”™ Magnetic Nail Holder has the ability to hold both standard and duplex nails and provides increased reach for one-handed nail starting, while the Sidewinder™ Nail Puller provides extra leverage for removing nails without ripping up forms. For fast and easy tear downs and rip outs the Short Stack™ Claws on the DDT 16 hammer are reinforced to provide increased strength for prying. Heads made in China. Handles made in USA. Assembled in USA. MADE IN CHINA
So Titanium hammers have been around for a while now. You will get this Vaughan hammer from the internet or if you’re very lucky from a shop but it will set you back £220!! So it makes sense that you’d want to check it out before you put that kind of money into buying this hammer. Why does it cost 4 times the price of a regular high quality claw hammer and, what would it take to convince anyone to pay this much money for it?
The good, the bad and the not so bad…
In a direct comparison between the three hammers.
The Stanley is cheap, it’s rubber grip isn’t great but is usable, the fibreglass, anti-vibe handle doesn’t stop the softer vibrations and I suppose would do if you had nothing else to use. When we decided to do this test, we did think about using some kind of kenetic testing equipment to compare the impact force and the vibration carried back down the handle, but this equipment is really expensive and we decided against it. In the end the hammer is heavy and unforgiving. At around 10 nail mark your arms starts really feeling it, and honestly you want to take continue much longer…
The Estwing is heavy like the Stanley, but the handle feels much better in your hand. There’s a certain amount of anti-vibe through the vinyl grip but not much. It’s heavy but it hits nails perfectly, and once again is unforgiving in the long run. Around the continuous 10 nail mark again, your arm starts feeling it. It’s better with vibration than the Stanley.
The Titanium Vaughan hammer is much lighter, and the wooden handle helps with vibration, so lots of anti-vibe characteristics. So light you don’t feel any strain from hitting in 20 nails continuously!
So the bottom line? To me the titanium hammer isn’t just a fad, it does help with it’s weight and you won’t suffer from a sore wrist afterwards; or will need to nail twice to three times as many nails as the steel hammer to get the same effect. Saying this, the price IS a down side, so the titanium hammer is really just for the professional who works all day at hammering or a dedicated DIYer who doesn’t mind paying out the high price! But for most serious professionals it’s the trusty Estwing!
If you’re interested in trying and buying any of these three hammers here’s a link to each.
Stanley glassfibre hammer 51-621 hammer – £11.94 inc VAT
Estwing E3/16C Vinyl grip hammer – £49.26 inc VAT
Vaughan ‘Dalluge’ Style Straight Claw Titanium Hammer – £220.96 inc VAT
The modern day hammer has had an incredible evolution since its origins when man needed to hit and smash shells or bones to get food. Initially. I thought a post about the evolution of the hammer may be interesting, but I’ve found that hammers are much greater than just a hand tool, they are literally the great grandfather of every tool ever made!
A hammer is a tool for striking another object or substance, whether wood, metal, stone or anything else. The modern day hammer has many variations, looks and sizes. Creating an extremely versatile tool.
Then man created the hammer;
Archaeologists have now discovered the first appearance of a tool used as a hammer was 3.3 million years ago (149 found in Lake Turkana in northern Kenya in 2015) when a “hammer stone” was used to splinter more brittle stones like flint, into cutting and killing tools. After they began to perfect their technique, they formed and shaped axes, knives, then more intricate arrow heads and spear heads. Still later these proto-humans used the formed shards into carving tools for wood, to break open animal skulls, bones, shells and even make jewellery.
This embryonic hammer, was little more than a heavy elliptical stone between 300 grams to a kilo smoothly formed at the bottom of a river bed, or from the sea. The stone was used to hit an object, which was sitting on a large flat stone below it, like an anvil. If a more intricate point was needed, the stone hammer would be replaced with a smaller stone, bones, ivory and antlers using more finesse for finishing the new cutting tools.
Then around 30,000 BC, an incredible 3.27 million years later. The next stage of the hammer’s evolution came into being. The addition of a handle; the stone being tied to either a piece of wood or bone with leather, vine, sinew, hair or similar substance tying the head to the handle. Creating the more familiar modern day looking hammer, similar to those made by native americans in the 1800’s.
This addition may not seem a big one, but it enabled the user to have more control over what they were hitting, and the accuracy of the strike. It meant that this new hammer could be used for more intricate work and meant the creation of a more artisan society. With the advent of the handle this meant the hammers evolution to what we know today advanced exponentially. Having a handle also allowed the user to have less accidents with the wielded tool.Then hammer’s next advance was the coming of metal and the bronze age. Around 3,000 BC, 27,000 years after the last important update of the hammer. Hammer heads were forged with bronze, making them more durable as far as binding them was concerned. The first hammer heads were probably melted bronze bound with similar bindings to stones, and evolved with the onset of forging and casting processes. This allowed a hole to be put through the bronze to take the handle. With the invention of forges and casting other copper and bronze products were made including nails.
Bronze age hammer face. The hammer was fitted on to a piece of wood or bone, then used as a hammer.
Although iron was around in it’s raw form since the beginning of the bronze age, with meteroic iron. Which was found and used for tools such as hammers. It wasn’t until 1200 BC that iron was properly extracted and used to make tools and weapons. Making the old bronze hammers and equipment obsolete. Hammers started to evolve their shapes at this point in their history. Having round faces, square faces, cutting edges, reliefs, and so on. Among the new shapes of hammer the claw head was created for recovering bent or damaged nails for re-smelting. Also meaning you could reuse the precious iron or bronze nail.
Iron age (post medieval) hammer head.
The discovery of Steel was the advent of modern day hammers and tools. From the unrecognisable embryonic eliptical stone of 3million years previously. Originally created around 1800 BC, but spread across the world properly in the 11th century. The process was refined and augmented by the 1500’s with the birth of today’s standard of steel making.
From 1500’s on the evolution of industry came the evolution of the hammer, during which the refining of hammer types and their nuances was developed and experimented with to make a different hammer that was ideal for each job. Coachbuilding, house building, brick layers,blacksmiths, masons, miners and any number of other jobs.
A copy of a steel headed and handled hammer. (circa 1760)
The Hammer’s produced next were “forged” by the industrial revolution starting in 1760 and 1870 the explosion in industry and the need for tools to repair and maintain the new machinery created. Also mass product of hammers, made them all similar and had to be produced to the same standards. These processes also meant that wood, rubber, copper, lead, brass, hide and broze hammers and mallets were easier to make and made more popular. With these new industries came bespoke hammer product such as larger moving and slogging equipment.
With the coming of the new century in the 1900’s came the invention of new materials; Bakelite, casin, and new metal alloys mean hammer faces and handles could be used in a new and different ways. With the development of physics to explain why a hammer works and man has learned to make it more efficient at its job, and so the development of the hammer has continued to become advance, along with its aesthetics. Leading to the modern hammer we see today, made by companies like Stanley, Thor and Estwing, all founded in the early 1920’s. These commercial companies essentially creating the sophisticated hammers the we still see today, from the invention of massive powered steam or electric hammers, to the smallest archeological or surveyor’s hammers.
The modern claw hammer. Mass produced since the 1920’s
In the next post I shall go through the best modern hammers, who makes them and where to buy them.
Interesting news from the USA! Stanley/Black and Decker who own Stanley, Black and Decker, DeWalt, Porter Cable, and Facom to name a few. Are hoping to own another large part of the hand tooling industry. They’ve put in a $1.95 Billion offer for Newell brands which owns Lenox, Hilmor, Dymo and Irwin tools.
As a result of this bid it’s sent Stanley Black and Decker’s share prices through the roof. But what does this mean to you? And what does this mean to the tools in your tool box? Will they be the same? Will they be as good? Will the tool lines be streamlined? All good questions.
If we take Stanley as an example. When Black and Decker purchased Stanley, they were a world renouned brand and extremely popular; a popularity well earned from years of producing high quality tools. Unfortunately for some, the new company formed streamlined Stanley’s range. Getting rid of less used and more expensive items; including their Yankee driver range, various artisan files, planes, rules, and tapes. Many would say this is updating the company, and is progress to fit a fast passed and innovative industry. Most of the new stanley range of products is built to the same high standard, and is still very popular. With the influx of more in the way of power tools, many would say that Stanley is indeed on the front edge of innovation and is keeping the company current and viable.
Personally, I think Stanley products are still excellent and ever evoloving. If they’re not popular with the customers, why make them? So I believe that Irwin, Lenox, Hilmor and Dymo are in good hands with Stanley Black and Decker. They may get streamlined, but hopefully they’ll be around with their most popular products for another 100 years.
If and when the deal goes through, we shall see what happens with both Stanley and Irwin.
To Lang’s surprise, many people who buy tools don’t actually know who Rodcraft are. Well, I suppose this isn’t SO surprising as they are mainly European with only one main supplier (F G Langs!) who sell their goods in the UK.
So, as an attempt to help people with just who Rodcraft are, we’ve decided to write this post to explain and to help you discover them if you’ve never heard of them. If you have heard of them, we hope to be informative to how large a range of equipment they produce.
What do Rodcraft do? Well this is what Rodcraft say on their website.
Since 1974, the Rodcraft brand stands for high-quality products and services. Founded in Germany, Rodcraft has grown steadily to become one of the world’s leading brands of pneumatic tools and workshop equipment dedicated to the vehicle service and industrial maintenance applications.
Through constant investment in research and development, the Rodcraft products feature many patented designs such as our composite sander series and latest impact wrenches.
With a strong European-based distribution channel, and local sales offices around the world, Rodcraft covers over 80 countries on a daily basis. We are close to our clients and able to provide fast service and support.
To ensure and guarantee long-life performance, many strict testing and quality inspections are conducted through the tool and equipment design, production and assembly stages.
When buying a Rodcraft product, you can be sure you are choosing quality and performance and getting one of the best designs available on the market today.
So now you know the background. Rodcraft have been around for 40 years, and in a very competitive European market place. They have only just begun to touch the UK marketplace.
What range of products do Rodcraft produce?
From small 1/4inch capacity air drills RC4105 to massive 1 1/2 inch drive impact air wrenches RC2530; Die grinders, angle grinders, percussion tools, sanders, screwdrivers, drills, impact drivers, impact wrenches, impact sockets, jacks, lights and other accessories and workshop equipment.
In Germany Rodcraft is synonymous with Desoutter and Chicago Pneumatic, known for their well built and presicion made products. Their most popular product being the 1/2 inch drive RC2277 The Beast; boasting 1250 Nm maximum real torque in reverse, Aluminum alloy clutch housing, Twin hammer mechanism, Full teasing trigger, NEW power setting system : 1 hand-operation, 1 position in reverse & 3 positions in forward and 360° swivel air inlet! Making it a must product for any car, bike or truck servicing center or garage when it’s so well priced @ £267.94 plus VAT (-30% discount from Langs.) £187.56 plus VAT!
So if you didn’t know who Rodcraft were, you may be surprised at how big their range is and what may interest you from their products. Take a look at Rodcraft’s website for more information http://www.rodcraft.com Or http://www.langsindustrial.com for UK prices and availability.
Hello Ladies and Gentlemen,
Normally I wouldn’t post on here for personal appeals, but I think this is worthwhile. Let me repost what has happened.
From Louise Fuller
Still haven’t found owner 😢😢😢
1.6 k shares so far!!
Please keep sharing! If owner isn’t found she will be going to a loving new home! Just wanted to give the owners a chance to come forward!
Found this cat tonight scared and in the middle of the road outside Favourite Chicken Shop Becontree DAGENHAM.. took her vets and isn’t chipped, she has also recently had a major operation so she isn’t a stray. Need to find the owner!! PLEASE SHARE!!! Inbox me if you are the owner please!
So if anyone can help with finding this cats home please contact Louise Fuller on the facebook link above.
Thank you for your assistance from all at F G Langs Ltd.
Continuing on from our previous post “Batteries: Past, Present and Future”. We see from the news that DeWalt has finally put a Duel voltage battery 18v/54v and various tools on the market as of Autumn 2016. And later on 60V and 120V. Is this only a gimmick? A chance for DeWalt and other power tool companies (who follow suit) to cash in with the newest “must have” but may not be the innovation it claims to be?
DeWalt have been creating power tools for a long time; it’s mother company Black and Decker have been synonymous with tools for over 100, finally merging with Stanley tools in 2010 to become the biggest tool company in the world. So they have the backing and development ability to make this new product state of the art. But is it? Cynically speaking, is this really that much of an innovation and what does it provide for its users, how much does it cost and is it really worth buying, or will there be another “better” product just around the corner? To answer all these questions we will have to look at the nature of the power tool industry and remember the underlying truths about these companies;
1 . they are in business to make money! However, sales are dependent on the quality of the product they’re selling. Too expensive and it will fail, even if it’s a excellent product.
2. built in obsolescence! Yes, the company will give you a guarantee but only on the tool, not on the battery! They build products to last for 2 years (some 3 years), yes they may last longer, sometimes to the detriment of a company. Meaning, there is a massive amount of money tied up in spares, accessories, maintenance, call out, repairs and so on. Many companies get more incoming from this area; try building your powertool from scratch using just spares and you’ll find you’ve paid £500 for a £150 drill.
3. Every time a new technology is made, the company rarely makes the technology backward compatible. Does this make your previous set of tools obsolete too?
What are it’s selling points?
What DeWalt say about this technology:
Engineered a new type of battery…..Reinventing the way current flows….A revolutionary new technology….Unlike anything that has ever been seen before…..The transformation of raw power to supply a bigger force…..The power of Mains electricity in your hands….This is the dawn of a power revolution…..DeWalt XR flexvolt; the game just changed.
XR FLEXVOLT is a range of 54V power tools that offer runtime and performance which has never been seen before – for the first time, professionnal tradesmen can reliably undertake heavy-duty construction applications without the need for mains power.
This innovation means that you can have 54V power across a whole range of tools without the inconvenience of a cable. DEWALT XR FLEXVOLT is the only battery on the market that can switch from 54V to 18V, making it backward-compatible with your existing XR powertools.
What does this mean to you and me as customers?
So this answers my 3rd point regarding backward compatibility, so this could be a massive difference from other powertool upgrades with the news that you can use this battery in your current XR powertools. Of course, you must have XR powertools for this to be of any use. So you won’t need to get rid of every tool you have and buy a whole new range, just purchase the newer batteries and charger, to upgrade your present tool kit.
Having much more power than before 54Volt and being able to run it for up to twice as long as DeWalt’s previous batteries.
Being able to run larger saws, breakers, grinders and tools that cordless tools wouldn’t be used for. It will help for running time of your tool, meaning you won’t be worried about the battery dying on you at the worst time possible.
Changing from 18v to 54v means you’ll be able to use the battery in DeWalt’s new range of tools in 2017 which will incorporate this and higher voltages.
The battery automatically changes voltage to the tool, so you won’t have to remember to it before each use of the battery. You know you’d forget! I know I would!
Obviously we’ll have to see how reliable this new battery system is, but the base technology (Lithium Ion) is tried and tested. If it is half a good as DeWalt are hyping, then it will be worth waiting for; much more power, much longer working, and much higher reliability.
Pricing…..The DCB546-XJ 6AH Battery has a list price of £234.21 plus VAT! (£281.05 inc VAT) So pretty pricey, when you look at the DCB182 4AH Battery has a list price of £224.54 (£269.45 inc VAT) However, you can find the 18Volt 4Ah battery for around £100 commercially! If this turns out to be the case for the similarly priced new flexvolt battery then yeah £130 would be well worth the cost. An extra 2 hours of work for your extra £20-£40 investment.
So the bottom line….
As with all technology before it’s been proved, it’s going to be a risk.
However, DeWalt does have a proven record, with only a few glitches along the way. Many people love DeWalt and will buy this product just because it’s yellow, black and got the DeWalt logo on the side.
Most others are interested in the tool build quality, its longevity, its reliablity, and to these people I say if these products are discounted resonably and are the products they’re claimed to be then they’ll be worth purchasing.
Alternatively, you may want to just purchase the battery and charger as a step into the latest technology of 54Volts which will be widely available and easy to upgrade into through 2017 and beyond. So if it’s really as good as DeWalt say, then yes, it’ll be an awesome innovation to a more powerful new, more reliable set of power tools for the next 5 years. It will also be a perfect way to upgrade your current powertool’s performance, even if they don’t buy the new powertools.
The first XR Flexvolt products we’ll see are: (all naked or with 2 batteries and a charger)
This full-size 216mm Mitre Saw is powered by a single XR FLEXVOLT battery but still offers the same power as an equivalent corded saw. In addition to an impressive capacity of 270 x 60mm, it also offers up to 140 cuts of 75 x 50mm pine on a single battery. A built-in XPS LED provides long term accuracy and clear cut line, even in bright sunlight. XR FLEXVOLT tools combine the flexibility and convenience of cordless with all the power and performance of the corded equivalent. Whatever your trade, XR FLEXVOLT will change the way you work.
Features and Benefits:
- The classic saw design improved and updated for the modern cordless user
- XPS shadow line cut indicator provides fast accurate alignment of the blade while illuminating the workpiece for increased productivity, no adjustment required
- Improved dust extraction efficiency
- The base and fence have been machined to meet the accuracy of the most demanding applications
- Head lock functions allow the head to be fixed restricting the traverse function for trim applications and ease of transportation
- Integrated positive mitre stops at 15 – 22.5 – 30 – 45 degrees, quick release mitre mechanism up to 50 degrees
- Sliding left hand fence with measuring scale for improved material support and management
- Compact internal rail design for huge cutting capacity in a highly transportable format
Voltage – 54
Blade speed – 6300rpm
Blade diameter – 216mm
Blade bore – 30mm
Bevel capacity – 48°
Mitre capacity left and right – 50 / 50°
Cutting capacity at 90 deg / 45 deg W x H – 173mm x 62mm
Cutting capacity at 90 deg / 90 deg W x H – 270mm x 62mm
Cutting capacity at 45 deg / 90 deg W x H – 189mm x 62mm
Max. cutting capacity at 45 deg/ 45 deg – 190 x 48mm
Max. depth of cut (saws) – 80mm
Weight – 14kg
Depth – 550mm
Length – 490mm
TCT tooth saw blade
2 x 54V FLEXVOLT batteries
List price – £1142.11 plus VAT (inc batteries and charger)
List price – £713.16 plus VAT (naked)
A World’s first, the 54V XR FLEXVOLT Table Saw provides complete freedom of movement on a construction site. Key features include a 610mm rip capacity, 65mm depth of cut, and outstanding runtime. The product applications include fitting solid wood flooring, general sizing of panels, concrete form work, sizing timber for joinery, fitting out decks and much more. On a single battery, it can saw up to 50 metres of 18mm OSB. XR FLEXVOLT tools combine the flexibility and convenience of cordless with all the power and performance of the corded equivalent. Whatever your trade, XR FLEXVOLT will change the way you work.
Features and Benefits:
- 22kg weight and optimised footprint make this the most portable table saw in its class
- Steel roll cage protects saw against drops and jobsite knocks
- Rack and pinion fence system, front and rear fence lock and large clear scales combine to give an extremely accurate and easy to use saw
- Powerful 54V motor for high performance in all applications
- Fence system provides 610mm of rip capacity in a portable design for cutting large sheet material to size
- Cast table top design to ensure accuracy and precision
- Overload protection system ensures powerful
Blade speed – 5800rpm
Blade diameter – 210mm
Blade bore – 30mm
Bevel capacity – -3 to 48°
Max ripping capacity right – 610mm
Max ripping capacity left – 318mm
Max. depth of cut at 90 deg – 65mm
Max. depth of cut at 45 deg – 45mm
Table size – 485 x 485mm
Depth – 605mm
Length – 605mm
Height – 330mm
Sound power – 100 dBA
Sound power uncertainty – 3
Weight – 22kg
2 x XR Flexvolt 54V 6.0Ah batteries
DCB118 fast charger
Soft carry bag
24 tooth series 30 saw blade
2 blade spanners
Dust port reducer
List price – £1428.95 plus VAT (inc batteries and charger)
List price – £989.47 plus VAT (naked)
The Dewalt DCG414 is a powerful XR Lithium-ion premium angle grinder fitted with a powerful, maintenance free brushless motor for maximum power and durability. Powered by the 18/54V XR FLEXVOLT battery. This cordless, heavy duty construction angle grinder has all the accuracy, capacity and power of corded with the freedom of cordless.
Features and Benefits:
- 54V Brushless motor enables improved performance in demanding applications
- Electronic Brake stops the wheel quickly when the trigger is disengaged
- Electronic Clutch reduces the kickback reaction in the event of a pinch or stall
- Rubber overmold provides enhanced grip and comfort
- Recessed spindle lock design allows max depth of cut and greater protection to button when using in confined spaces
- Two position side handle offers greater comfort and control
Power Input – 1 Watts
No Load Speed – 7000 rpm
Max. Disc Diameter – 125 mm
Spindle Thread – M14
Weight – 2.2 kg
Length – 400 mm
Height – 125 mm
Hand/Arm Vibration – Grinding – 5.9 m/s²
2 position side handle
Keyless protective guard
2 x 54V XR Flexvolt Li-Ion battery packs with state of charge indicator
List price – £831.58 plus VAT (inc batteries and charger)
List price – £389.47 plus VAT (naked)
The Dewalt DCS575 is a powerful XR Lithium-ion premium circular saw fitted with a high torque motor for maximum power on the job site. Powered by the 18/54V XR FLEXVOLT battery. This cordless, heavy duty construction circular saw has all the accuracy, capacity and power of corded with the freedom of cordless.
Features and Benefits:
- Scale for precise cutting depth setting to 67 mm
- General purpose ripping, cross-cutting and bevelling circular saw for wood and other construction materials
- High torque motor for durability and power for cutting job site and joinery materials
- Stable block construction for low vibration running and long service life
- Additional handle for safe two-handed work
- Variable adjustment of the bevel angle to 57 degrees
No Load Speed – 5800 rpm
Blade Diameter – 190 mm
Blade Bore – 30 mm
Bevel Capacity – 57 °
Max. Depth of Cut at 90º – 67 mm
Max. Depth of Cut at 45º – 49 mm
Weight – 4.0 kg
Precision 24 tooth saw blade
Dust Extraction Spout
2x 54v XR FlexVolt Batteries
List price – £831.58 plus VAT (inc batteries and charger)
List price – £389.47 plus VAT (naked)
The Dewalt DCS397 is a powerful XR Lithium-ion premium alligator saw fitted with a powerful, maintenance free brushless motor for maximum power and durability. Powered by the 18/54V XR FLEXVOLT battery. This cordless, heavy duty construction alligator saw has all the accuracy, capacity and power of corded with the freedom of cordless.
Features and Benefits:
- New 54V FLEXVOLT Li-Ion saw enables corded performance from a cordless tool.
- Ideal for cutting Class 12 clay block (Poroton).
- Durable high power Brushless motor for the toughest applications.
- Two long life and durable saw blades running in opposite directions so the material will not move while cutting.
- Dust sealed gearcase and bearings for increased durability.
- Aluminium gearcase housing for lower weight and excellent durability.
Battery chemistry – Li-Ion
Voltage – 54 V
No Load Stroke Rate – 2400 spm
Stroke Length – 40 mm
Blade Length – 43.0 cm
TCT Class12, set of blades
2 x 54V FLEXVOLT batteries
1 x Battery Charger
List price – £1073.68 plus VAT (inc batteries and charger)
List price – £673.68 plus VAT (naked)
The Dewalt DCS388 is a powerful XR Lithium-ion premium reciprocating saw, an efficient cordless solution for wood and metal installation trimming and demolition cutting applications. Powered by the 18/54V XR FLEXVOLT battery. This cordless, heavy duty construction reciprocating saw has all the accuracy, capacity and power of corded with the freedom of cordless.
Features and Benefits:
- Lever action keyless blade clamp for quick and easy blade changes
- Intelligent variable speed trigger, lock off switch and electronic motor brake for quick controlled cuts and enhanced work safety
- Two position blade clamp allows for flush cutting and increased versatility
- Pivoting adjustable shoe with open top for high stability and blade visibility during a cut
- Improved ergonomic design
No load stroke rate – 0-3000spm
Stroke rate – 28.6mm
Max. cutting capacity wood – 300mm
Max. cutting capacity steel sections and pipe – 130mm
Max. cutting capacity PVC – 160mm
Weight – 3.6kg
Hand Arm Vibration cutting wood – 12 m/s 2
Uncertainty K 1 Vibration – 2.3 m/s 2
Sound Pressure – 86dB(A)
Sound Pressure Uncertainty – 3dB(A)
Sound Power – 97dB(A)
Sound Power Uncertainty – 3
DCS388 – 54v XR FLEXVOLT Reciprocating Saw
2 x XR FLEXVOLT 54V 6.0Ah battery packs with state of charge indicator
Heavy duty kit box
List price – £831.58 plus VAT (inc batteries and charger)
List price – £389.47 plus VAT (naked)
All these products will be available in Autum this year! So if you’re off to trade shows this year you’ll see them being demonstated.
Buy your new XR Flexvolt from F G Langs (Grays) Ltd, phone us today!
Take a look at this new battery and tools for yourself – http://www.dewalt.co.uk/
The different types of battery, what they’re used for and how they work.
Basic battery science and history.
There are actually quite a few battery types in the world and they work in much the same way. They’re in two parts; a cathode (positive pole), an anode (negative pole), with an energised liquid (an electrolyte, usually an acid) floating around both poles. When the circuit is activated the energised liquid wants to get rid of its charges, this creates a current of electrons from negative to positive, creating electricity from the positive electrode.
The most basic form of this was discovered by Alessandro Volta; which is where the word Volts is derived from. Volta experimented using sulphuric acid, copper and zinc to create the first batteries. This developed over time.
The first mass produced commercial batteries (which are still used today) were Lead acid batteries, developed by Gaston Planté consisting of a Lead anode, a Lead Dioxide Cathode and sulphuric acid as the electrolyte. The good thing about this type of battery was that it could be charged quickly and could be recharged after its energy was depleted.
Around 1900 the first alkaline battery (NiCad – Nickel Cadmium) was created by Waldemar Jungner another battery still used today. It was commercialised in 1910 and is still used today to power tools and household batteries today.
In the late 1980’s the first Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries were produced as a substitude for the NiCad battery. These newer batteries had a greater charge and lasted longer than the older NiCad battery, they were also not as toxic to the environment. Used for much smaller components, computers and electronics.
The newest innovations in batteries are Lithium, Lithium Ion and finally in the late 1990’s the Lithium polymer battery (Used in today’s mobile phones.)
So how does this help with your battery?
Well, lets take them in order, of discovery and the drawbacks of each.
The Lead acid battery.
This battery is generally pretty heavy, and can be dangerous is overcharged or charged wrongly, boiling the electrolyte! The charge held is much less than other newer, more developed batteries like the NiCad. But it can be recharged to it’s former charge levels, however will dissipate from the solution over time. It’s a reliable performer, especially in it’s newer gel form.
The NiCad battery.
The greatest factor controlling this battery’s life-span is heat. If you purchase a new drill with a NiCad battery you will have lots of uses out of it. However, you will discover that if you recharge the battery while it’s hot, the battery won’t charge as effectively. This will become a cycle of reduced effectiveness over time. This can be described as “battery memory effect”; the battery doesn’t charge to the capacity at factory and gradually reduces over time. This effect is also induced of overcharging the battery!
Sometimes the battery can be “restored” by the use of a diagnostic charger, a deep charge then discharge cycle or by being put into a freezer and then charged.
The NiMH battery.
Sudden drop off of power rather than a slow drop off with NiCad. Temperature can not be subzero else the battery can be damaged. However, this battery is very good for discharging high amounts of energy if needed over a long period of time.
The Lithium, Lithium Ion and Lithium Polymer batteries.
The biggest pro for this battery is its capacity, up to 50% higher than the NiCad battery of equal size. It can be recharged at any point in it’s battery capacity without any adverse effects. However because of the battery’s internal resistance it can not deliver a high yeald of energy quickly in the same way NiCad and NiMH batteries can.
Other good points are the Lithium polymer battery can be moulded and is very versatile with it’s size delivering constant charge throughout its life.
The future…And what’s likely to be powering your drill within the next 20 years.
Yes, a form of graphite made of honeycomb sheets is at the center of this battery. It’s in development and could mean a revolution is battery efficiency, size and durability. This means future batteries could be miniturised to nano proportions. Companies are already looking into using graphene for electric car batteries, giving them a 500 – 600 mile range before needing to recharged.
Yep, foam. You read that right. Using a copper foam substructure a company called Prieto has develped a battery that is much more durable, has a higher capacity and is much smaller than anything before it.
This battery has 40 times the capacity of a similarly sized Lithium Ion battery! Using Aluminium, air and water! Believe it or not, these batteries will be released in 2016 for commercial use. So could be running your mobile phone within the next 5 years if developers get their hands on it and developing the battery.
So watch this space!
Today we will delve into the world of drill bit identification. Essential if you want to use the right drill bit for the right purpose. Looking in your toolbox and wondering how you got a collection of so many drill bits and should you buy new ones or try to use the ones you already own?
Yes, there are many types and forms of drill bits for many different uses. If you’ve never drilled into any kind of material or even if you’re a professional then this list may be a handy guide to identifying drill bits stuffed into your toolbox and when they are best used.
So before we start, he’s a quick run down of the main types of drill bits.
Metal drill bits
Wood drill bits
Masonry drill bits
Tile/glass drill bits
As I say, there are many different drill bits however they fit into the following families; Wood and timber and plastics, Masonry and stone, Tiles and glass, Metals and other materials.
Metal drill bits
Traditional split point metal drill bits were originally designed to be used with milling machines, lathes or pillar drills. Their use was adopted by hand rotary drills over the years, however this is why most drill bits snap. With the use of a machine the factors of keeping the drill bit straight, constant pressure and exact speed can be controlled, whereas while hand drilling all these factors are constantly changing no matter how professional or for how many years you have used drill bits.
In general Metal cutting drill bits can also be used on many other materials, such as wood, timber, plastic, various metals up to and including steel, rubber and other more dense materials.
You will find that some drill bits have an additional coating TiN, or TiCN. This is only for dissipation of heat quicker from the surface of the drill bit, and does not aid in the cut.
Tip: When using a metal cutting bit to cut metal always use a lubricant to aid with the cut. The purpose of the lubricant is to cut down on friction between the drill and the material being cut. Therefore cutting down heat and helping the drill to cut through the material.
Warning: NEVER use WD40! WD40 creates a thin film of oil over whatever you’ve sprayed it on and stops squeaks, but will not help with your drilling lubrication. As soon as the drill gets hot the WD40 will dissipate. Drilling lubricant is specifically for purpose.
Wood drill bits
Unlike the metal drill bit, there’s many different types of bit that can drill wood and timber. We’ll go throught most of them in this post. Also unlike wood no lubricant is used with wood, although beeswax can be used to lubricate anything cutting through wood.
Masonry drill bits
Once again with the masonry drill bit, lubricant isn’t really used. Sometimes water is used with the harder types of slate or more dense materials.
Glass/Tile drill bits
Unlike masonry drill bits many glass and tile drill bits are ostensibly used with water as a lubricant.
So on to our topic. The A to Z of drill bits and what they are used for and how to spot them.
A is for Auger
The auger drill bit is basically a wood bit. Using the principle of the archimedes screw the drill takes the material from the front of the drill to the rear, it has a small screw type point which burrows into the wood or timber keeping the drill in the wood while the cutting face shaves off the wood.
B is for Brad Point.
The brad point, dowel or lip and spur bit, is similar in design to the auger bit. The tip is the major difference, as it has three points, one on each of the initial cutting faces and one in the middle of the tip. Unlike the auger this bit does not pull the bit into the wood.
C is for Centre drill.
The centre drill has a tip on both sides and is basically used for countersinking. Also this is our first HSS drill bit, so can be used with steel, other metals, woods and plastics. Generally if it’s HSS (meaning High Speed Steel) then it will cut a multitude of different materials.
C is for Cobalt drill bits.
This drill bit is a metal drilling bit, but is for harder materials, HSCo High speed cobalt.
C is for Conical drill.
The conical or cone drill like the step drill is used for making holes bigger. Usually only for sheet material, otherwise you will end up with a tapered hole. Also another steel and other metals drill bit, although may only have one cutting face. The cone drill is more accurate with its cut than the step drill as the step drill has to forced through the material down each step.
C is for Counterbore.
Similar to the countersink, but for socket cap screws so they fit flush with a flat surface. Usually used together with a standard drill bit to drill the center hole to length.
C is for Countersink.
Now, like wood drill bits there are many different types and for different purposes. All either for wood or for metal. There are just four examples above. The two on the left are metal countersinks (A three flute HSS, then a deburring countersink) and the two on the right are dedicated wood countersinks (A rose head countersink and a drill countersink combination).
D is for Diamond drill.
There’s a lot of myths concerning diamond drill bits. Yes diamond is hard so potentially would make a very good drill bit, however it doesn’t have a good cutting edge to cut steel, wood and so on. It’s used for cutting tiles, glass and similar materials, and it’s used abrasively, like a carbide grit holesaw or core drill, which is also diamond.
They could never get a sharp enough edge, and big enough diamond to cut into hardened steel to make it worthwhile. The bit would cost a fortune!
F is for Flat bit.
The flat bit is probably the most common drill bit around. It’s for wood and usually has the size printed on it. It has two cutting edges on either side and a point at the front for keeping the drill steady in the material. It’s also known as the spade bit.
There is also a type of flat bit which is a cross between an auger and a flat bit, called an expansive bit. This has a fitting attached so the size of the drill bit can be changed to the size of the hole you need it to be.
F is for Forstner bit.
The Forstner drill bit is another version of wood bit. However it has more teeth around the cutting edge, aiding to a cleaner finish. Or as in the example above just a much larger cutting edge.
G is for Glass or tile Drill.
Easily recognised because of the brazed on carbide tip and the look of the tip being flat without any noticable cutting edge. Was originally invented to be used by hand, and very slowly with a lot of pressure. Lubricated with water to cool the tip down. A common problem with using this drill be is running the drill too fast without any lubrication.
A good tip for starting the drill on the slippery tile or glass is to put scotch tap or cellotape across the tile where you want to drill, then the drill will grip on the tape until it starts to cut into the material.
H is for Hexagon shank drill bits.
These type of drill bits come in many types, including pozi, philips, slotted and actually metal, masonry and wood drill bits. The hexagon shank helps the drill bit to stop spinning in the chuck or can be used in a bit holder type driver, usually magnetic. It’s not recommended to use screwdriver bits in a power drill as these are not clutched to use them, this will lead to the screw head or the driver bit being rounded off or damaged.
H is for Holesaw bits.
Used in combination with drill bits to create holes, this type of drill/saw has many different types from Bi-metal; cutting through steel sheet, plastics, other metals and wood. Cobalt; cutting into harder materials and steels. TCT grit; cutting into very hard materials. Diamond grit; cutting into tiles, glass, slate, ceramics and similar materials.
H is for HSS (high speed steel) drill bits.
The most common type of Steel and other metal cutting drill bit. Before HSS was invented they used Carbon steel drill bits to try to drill metals, but this was found to be next to useless. The picture shows an HSS morse tapered shank drill bit.
M is for Masonry drill bits.
Once again there are quite a few different types of masonry drill bits, later you’ll see SDS which uses a clip-in system. Basically masonry drill bits have a carbide tip brazed onto the front of the drill shaft. Very similar to the SDS, TCT and glass drill bits. However, the masonry drill bit has it’s faces and flutes ground in a different way so it can drill into masonry, breeze block, concrete, asphelt and many other similar abrasive surfaces.
M is for Metal drill bits.
Basically because this section is so large, I’ve clumped them all in together. I could probably do a post just on different types of Metal drill bits, from double ended body drills (which are basically drill bits on both ends), to HSS, to HSco, to Tin coatings, Ticn coatings, fast spiral(for Stainless Steel and hard materials.) , slow spiral(for softer materials like brass) Blacksmith’s drill bits which have a reduced shank, left hand or right handed spirals the list goes on. Starting with Carbon steel (very flimsy drill bits) all the way up to armour piercing (you have to pass a MOD test to be able to buy these, and need to account for them) There are many drill bits around, the above picture is of a TiN coating on a HSS drill bit, one of the popular drill bits around, the TiN coating is suppose to disburse the heat and extend the life of the drill bit.
M is for Multi-construction or a does-it-all drill bit.
Basically this drill bit has been designed to drill through everything except tiles/glass. Masonry, steel, wood, plastic. There is only one problem with this drill type, and that is that once you’ve cut throught masonry of any kind, you will file the edge off and it won’t cut through wood, metal or plastic very well any more. Rendering the drill bit useless except for masonry.
S is for SawDrill.
The saw drill is an interesting bit. it has teeth one either side of it’s cutting flutes enabling it to saw through material sideways. Very useful for softer materials like wood and plastics or sheet materials.
S is for SDS Drill.
The SDS plus drill bit is probably the most common of SDS drills and is a push fit system fitting into a dedicated masonry drill. As well as masonry, there a bits that can drill into reinforced concrete and drill through the rebar material.
Once again there’s many myths and misunderstandings about what SDS stands for. It doesn’t mean “Special Direct System”, “slotted drive system” or “special direct system” as it was created in Germany by Bosch.
SDS actually stands for “Spannen Durch System” and was created by Bosch in the 1970’s, although Bosch international have changed its meaning in English speaking countries to to mean “special direct system” in order to keep the SDS title uniform across the world.
S is for Spot Weld Drill.
There are a few types of spot weld drill bits. The two above are the main versions. On the left is a drill bit guided spot weld drill. On the right is a HSCo (cobalt) drill bit which is harder than HSS. The drill on the right tends to only have a single flute. Both are used to go through the usually harder and/or thicker material of a weld or spot weld.
S is for StepDrill.
As stated above with the conedrill, the stepdrill is for opening holes in sheet material. The advantage of the stepdrill is that the steps on the drill are parallel, and therefore the hole won’t be tapered.
T is for TCT Precision drill.
Basically another drill for drilling very hard materials. Tungstan Carbide is man made and grown into drill tips, which like the tile/glass drill mentioned earlier are brazed onto a steel shaft. The major difference between the TCT and glass drill is the that the TCT drill has been sharpened and honed to a sharp edge on both cutting faces. This makes TCT bits one of the best drills for drilling very hard metal surfaces.
So there we have it! A comprehensive list of the available drill bits and how to tell them apart.
I shall add a new post to this in a couple of days that will have a close up of the different types of drill bit tips. Masonry, Steel, and wood.
What should be the first thing you look for in your drill?
Well, it depends on the jobs you’re going to do with it.
Firstly, is the drill up to the job? It may be a gorgeous looking yellow or blue drill with 20 plus torque settings, and a hammer setting, but is it too much, will you ever use it and all the professional extras that come with it? Would it be better to have a more compact version, a cordless drill, or a drill without hammer on?
Hopefully we can help you decide what to buy and whether it really is value for money.
But first a few common Errors made by users of drills:
1 – The hammer setting.
Do you need the hammer setting on? Do you need a hammer setting at all? Only if you’re using the drill for drilling masonry. Never have the hammer on to drill wood, steel or tiles of any kind! If you do you will ruin the drill bit, and the drill.
Blindingly obvious – Never use the hammer setting on tiles…..unless you want to smash them. Never use the hammer setting on steel or wood; if you do you will not get a clean hole after use.
2 – The wrong type of drill bits.
Stone, asphalt, masonry, and breeze blocks are abrasive, therefore will damage your steel/metal drill bit if using them on any of these materials. Yes, there are all purpose drill bits that say they”ll do any material like Bosch’s multipurpose drill bits. However once used on masonry, you will find they will have their edge abrased and dulled, and won’t be able to use them as effectively on steel, brass, aluminium, plastic or even wood afterwards. Equally if you use a masonry drill
Blindingly obvious – Check the drill bit before using it: Check the box, of package if you still have it. If it has an arrow-point look, this is a tile drill bit. If it has a single step to a lower size, this will be a piloted bit (possibly for wood, or metal)
3 – The wrong speed settings.
Most people won’t know, but high quality drill bits like Dormer, Gurhing, and others were designed to be used in pillar drills, lathes, milling machines or other non-handheld machines and at exact speeds and pressures to get the exact drilling finish desired. Usually in a handheld drill people will go too fast for the size of the drill bit, meaning they “burn the bit out”, blunt it or break it.
A good rule would be the larger the bit, the slower the rpm of the drill, and visa versa, the smaller the drill bit the faster the speed you will need from the drill.
e.g. using 3mm drill bit in steel you would need 1580 rpm. Whereas a 25mm drill bit should go 210 rpm! Many people have one speed for both!
4 – Too much/not enough pressure.
You do need constant and even pressure on the drill bit, basically simulating the pillar drill. Too much and break the drill bit, too little and you will skate on the surface of the material, and blunt your drill bit. As with the rpm, pressure is size related, the larger the drill bit, the more pressure.
5 – Piloting.
This means using a smaller drill bit to pilot your final sized hole. This is very important for both steel and wood. If you don’t pilot wood, it will split when you put your woodscrew or other fixing into it.
Masonry and tiles doesn’t need to be piloted.
6 – Lubricant.
Lubricant is required when drilling steel or other metals, this aides to cool the drill bit. The problem with drill bits is they are heated to temper them, and therefore heating them again will reverse the tempering process. If you don’t use lubricant, you will find your drill bit useless if it continually heats and cools with each use.
Diamond and tile drills need lubricant too. Usually water, with better diamond drills you will find they come with a water reservoir that can be used in situ on the fitted tiles.
Lubricant not only cools the drill bit, it acts as a catalyst to cutting and catches the swarf created from the waste materials.
NEVER use WD40 or similar aerosol lubricants!
WD40 is a joint lubricant, and when it gets hot evaporates and therefore useless. 3-in-1 oil is better, but a dedicated lubricant such as Molyslip’s MWS, (metal working spray) or MWF (Metal working fluid) are ideal for this job. Dormer have their own product (Dormer SuperCut) which is just as good.
7 – Patience.
Sometimes it will take a lot of time for you to finish your hole, especially if you’re drilling a very large one. If you’re using a diamond drill that’s 200mm diameter, it won’t be fast and you’ll be there a long time. You’re basically using the abrasive of the diamond to cut through the granite, masonry, breeze blocks or whatever you’re drilling.
8 – Having the drill on reverse.
Yes, this is a very common error. Everyone has done it, make sure you have the drill bit is spinning to the right, unless you have a left handed drill bit! If it spins to the left it will not cut into the material and will just heat up against the surface of the material you’re cutting.
9 – Drill recognition: Choosing the right drill bit.
As, said earlier, don’t use the a masonry drill bit for steel or a steel drill bit for masonry. Easy drill bit recognition.
Look at the tip of your drill bit:
Arrow point – if it has an arrow point it’s for tiles. (this point is usually tungsten carbide)
Segmented teeth – This one is tricky. If they are sharp then it’s for wood or metals. (Starrett holesaws) or can be tungsten carbide for metals or masonry.
A split point/single point with two slow spirals – Usually for brass or plastics.
A split point/single point with fast spirals – Usually for stainless steel or harder materials.
A bit with a brazed tip – This is tungsten carbide tipped. Either for masonry if it’s blunt.
A bit with a brazed tip, with a sharp point This is a precision steel/hardened materials drill bit. This will cost a lot more than a standard drill bit for metals.
Segmented flat/sparkly teeth – This is diamond, generally only used in a dedicated drill.
I shall write a more comprehensive list at a later date.
10 – Covering the ventilation holes while drilling!
Very commonly done. Your tool needs air to go through it to cool the motor while it runs. Don’t put your hands over the air holes or it won’t work, it will heat your drill up and burn it the armature or coils out.
11 – Not cleaning the tool after use.
Another common problem. After using your drill, clean the ventilation slots (see no 10), the chuck, and anywhere that’s got material on it. Your drill will last many years longer if it can function the way it’s designed to.
12 – Choosing the right type of power drill.
Let’s think about cordless drills, which are limited to battery life and power. Mains, or 3 phase drills are constant and don’t need their components changed as quickly. If you have a 2AH, the drill may last around 2 hours before you have to charge it again, and so on.
Another thing to consider is the power from a battery. It will NOT be as powerful as a mains drill even with Lithium Ion batteries. So may be limited in this regard. Especially if you want to drill large or many holes.
Costly in comparison with a mains machine of the same power.
Never drop the charger! The charger is most delicate part of this package, if it’s dropped you can no longer charge your tool.
No leads. If you don’t have many power outlets to take your drill from then this is a big advantage.
Ease of access. Go anywhere and use your drill, up a tower, down a drain.
Even with batteries and charger it’s lighter than the mains drill.
Cordless machines are usually drivers too! So you can use them to drive in your screws.
Going the standard mains powered drill way?
There are many advantages highlighted above to using a mains drill. If this is the way you decide to proceed then you will need to make decisions about whether you want a clutched machine, (this will stop your arms from being ripped off if the drill snatches.) braked stop, (which means the drill will stop by braking the drill rather than gradually slowing down) whether you want a keyed or keyless chuck or whether you want an all rounder or a dedicated machine.
Going SDS or dedicated hammer drill?
SDS stands for Spannen Durch System and was created by Bosch in 1975, translated to English it means “Clamping System”; It uses ball bearings to clamp the drill bit into the chuck allowing it to be used vigorously by the hammer action of the drill.
If you’re drilling metal, you will not need a hammer drill.
If you’re drilling masonry, will this be the only type of material you’re drilling? If so would a dedicated SDS machine be the way to go? It may be better to get an all around machine if you’re using it for many materials.
After all this you will need to consider the power you need for your machine.
Choosing the right Wattage
Looking at the difference between DIY and Professional machines the first thing you will see is the difference in price. If the DIY machines are as good, then why the difference in price? Many! They show their wattage in a different way. The components are better quality in the Professional machines. Check the rating plate on the side of the machines before buying them, to get a better idea of their specifications.
Hope this helps. We shall post our drill review soon.