Core Drilling with the Cordless Core EZ

As concrete gains popularity in the municipal, commercial and residential world, the need for specialized tools to work with this durable material increases.  Concrete core drills are a must-have for construction and utility workers alike.  Core drilling machines and core drilling bits are useful tools for cable installers, electricians, plumbers, and air conditioning technicians.

Core Drilling Machines

Core drilling machines are a form of drill used by a variety of industries, but particularly the concrete industry, that drill a hole and, upon removal of the drill bit, extracts a core sample.  A concrete core drill is equipped with a specialized bit that not only drills into the concrete, but because the core drill bit is hollow, it drills into the concrete and extracts the material, leaving a perfectly cylindrical hole with which to work.  These concrete core extractions may even be tested to determine strength and durability. While popular for use with concrete, core drilling machines are also good to use with wood, stone, and even ice.  These particular tools are useful for the installation of plumbing systems, and even for electrical wiring or cable installation.  Heating ventilation and air conditioning systems require large, cored-out holes for the creation of ducts, which aids in creating climate-controlled areas of homes and businesses.  With the right concrete drill bits, concrete drilling machines are able to cut neat, clean holes with diameters ranging from three-fourths of an inch to six feet.

As with all concrete cutting power tools and machines, it is important to use the proper safety gear when using core drill bits especially when dry cutting concrete.  Make sure you wear protective eye coverings and a mask or respirator over your nose and throat.  Dust particulates that are released while cutting can cause serious health problems when inhaled.

U.S.SAWS’ Cordless Core EZ

U.S.SAWS’ Cordless Core EZ is a top-of-the-line, high-precision core drilling machine.  This machine is lightweight, comparatively speaking, weighing in at sixty-five pounds.  No offset holes are required with this tool because traditional rigs are not necessary, as the Cordless Core EZ is mounted on a center guidepost.  The center guide post works by drilling an anchor hole, setting an anchor pin, removing the nuts from the anchor bolt, mounting the guidepost, adjusting the anchor point, and tightening the guidepost until it is secured and centered.  It’s important to ensure the guidepost is well lubricated and clean.  Then the gearbox and grinder are slid over the guidepost and locked in via the locking pin on the hex drive.  This guidepost allows for accurate and efficient drilling, by reducing vibration and supporting the weight of the core drilling machine throughout the entire drilling process.  The Cordless Core EZ makes easy work of all vertical drilling floors and horizontal drilling walls, with clear instructions for the easy removal of the related cores.  This entire unit comes with a wheeled carrying case for easy portability.

Core Drill Accessories

Besides supplying top-of-the-line core drilling machines, U.S.SAWS is also the place for all of your quality core drill accessories.  Better quality tools and accessories will increase the likelihood of the accurate and successful performance of the tools.  The Premium Core Bits are the right core drill bits for the Core EZ.  These high-end drill bits make easy work of advanced coring in concrete, brick, and block.  The drill bits are available in sizes ranging from three-inch bits to ten-inch bits.  U.S.SAWS also supplies a reputable Hudson Sprayer.   This 3.5-gallon sprayer makes the perfect water supply piece for your Core EZ for all of your wet cutting and wet drilling needs.  For all of those times you find yourself needing to drill at an angle, U.S.SAWS offers an Angle Drilling Washer, making the job that much easier. These washers are important to have, especially in those tight-fitting situations where angled holes are necessary.  Finally, the Cordless Core EZ’s mounted guide post system requires a top-rated concrete anchor to ensure stability.  U.S.SAWS offers a 3/8’-16 x 5” length zinc plated concrete anchor to ensure the guidepost system is secure.

Contact U.S.SAWS to discuss how we can make core drilling easier for you.

Handling a Walk Behind Saw

As the use of concrete rises to meet commercial, residential and municipal demand, the need for concrete cutting saws has expanded. Concrete has gained popularity due to its durability and erosion resistance, as well as the ease of sourcing materials to create concrete and its fireproof nature. Beyond that, the ability of the material to transform from a basic sidewalk into being used as luxuriously polished, high-end flooring at economical rates has gained acclaim from utility workers to interior designers.  In order to ensure the concrete is meeting the needs of its intended use, workers must ensure they are using the right tools to handle the job.  Concrete cutting is back-breaking work, and concrete workers around the world applauded the advent of the walk-behind saw.  These power saws offered an option beyond the general handheld saw for larger concrete cutting jobs.

What is a Walk Behind Saw Used For?

A walk-behind saw is exactly what it sounds like.  It is a large saw that has a frame, handle and wheels, allowing operators to use it from a standing position and walk forward or backward as necessary while sawing.  Many are even self-propelled.  Walk-behind saws are the perfect saws for cutting sidewalks or asphalt or even concrete flooring in warehouses or basements.  Many times these saws are used for repairs or modifications like additions are being done to commercial or residential buildings.  Walk-behind saws are also great for road workers who need to repair parking lots or patch up roadways.  Many of these power saws come with diamond blades for precision cutting.  Cutting a large and thick slab of concrete is made much easier through the use of a walk-behind saw with a diamond blade.  These concrete and asphalt cutting saws allow for larger engines with more torque, allowing operators to complete projects at a faster rate.

Safety Measures to Take While Operating a Walk Behind Saw

As with any saw, it is imperative for the operator to understand how each particular saw they intend to use works and take any precautions necessary in the operation of the saw to prevent injury.  Concrete cutting saws like walk behind saws come with a multitude of potential hazards and their instructions for use should be followed to the letter.  Serious or even fatal injuries can occur if these power saws are not handled appropriately.

Eye protection, or even a face shield, should be worn to ensure no dust or debris gets in the eyes.  A mask to cover your mouth and nose or even a respirator is necessary.  Concrete cutting is well known for creating fine dust and particles in the air.  You definitely want to avoid getting that dust in your lungs.  Gloves will protect your hands from any cuts or heat that may be generated from using the saw.  Ensure you are not wearing loose-fitting clothing during the operation of the walk-behind saw.  Loose-fitting clothing increases the risk of entanglement in the blade.  Steel-toed boots offer a protective covering for your feet in case there are any issues with the blade.

Inspecting your saw prior to use is also helpful in preventing injury during use.  Ensure that the blade is properly fastened and check for cracks or warping prior to use.  Make sure there are no worn or missing parts to your saw.  During use, do not force the saw.  Forcing the saw may cause the blade to jam or break or even overheat.  It is also important to make sure there are no bystanders to avoid injuring them as well.

Understanding the material you will be cutting ensures you are using the proper tools for the job.  Having the proper tools helps protect you from injury.  Make sure you are using specialized wet blades for any wet cuts you plan to make.  Dry blades, obviously, should be used for dry cuts.

The FSB-150 Heavy Duty Walk Behind Air Saw

For utility and transportation workers needing to make street repairs or cut sidewalks, U.S.SAWS has the perfect Walk Behind Saw for the job.  The FSB-150 Heavy Duty Walk Behind Saw is a game-changer.  The FSB 150’s weight is perfectly balanced, removing any potential rocking motion from the saw.  Weighing in at 110 pounds, this walk-behind saw is compact for easy transportation, with a heavy-duty frame to reduce vibration.  This package through U.S.SAWS comes with a gearbox, 20” blade capacity, water feed kit, whip hose, oiler, wrenches, and 1 quart of ice-free oil.  This power saw is fume-free for use in confined spaces, protecting you from carbon monoxide inhalation.  As an added bonus, it is operational in water as well!

Contact U.S.SAWS today to locate the perfect concrete cutting, walk-behind saw to fit your needs.

Diamond Tooling: Best Applications

When we think of diamonds, our first inclination is to think about stunning diamonds set in gold or platinum and displayed in rings, necklaces, and even crowns across the world. However, diamonds are also one of the hardest materials on Earth, ranking as a 10 (out of 10) on the Mohs scale of hardness, lending itself to many more unique uses other than fantastic jewels.  For instance, diamonds make fantastic tools not only due to its hardness, but also because it is chemically inert, corrosion resistant, and abrasion resistant.

Diamond Tooling:  How Is It Used?

Diamonds are used in a wide range of cutting tools including saw blades, diamond chains, and diamond pipe beveling.  One industry that predominantly utilizes diamond tooling technology is the concrete grinding industry.  A growing trend among business owners and homeowners alike is concrete flooring.  Concrete is a versatile material that, when polished with a concrete diamond grinder, produces a beautifully smooth surface that can be sealed, coated, and/or painted at a reasonable cost.  Diamond grinders for concrete floors contain bits of diamond that repairs pits and divots in the concrete.  The size of the bits depends on the intensity of the job.  If you’re faced with a challenging job that requires intense grinding efforts, larger diamond bits are the best option.  If the purpose of the job is to polish, the smaller diamond bits are the right choice.

Synthetic diamonds are used in diamond tooling. Synthetic diamonds allow manufacturers to control the size and shape of the diamond bits.   Chips of diamond are then suspended in a bond, typically of resin, metal, carbides, or a hybrid.  The type of bond depends on the job.  Resin-bonded diamond tools are the most popular as they are the most aggressive and have the most applications.  Metal bonded diamonds are excellent for removing adhesives.  Carbide bonded diamonds are best for jobs involving sticky adhesives, where a smooth finish is required.

Diamond Blades

Diamond blades are the best tool for “cutting concrete,” be it for a sidewalk, flooring, or even countertop.  While we say the blades cut the diamonds, the process works less like a diamond “knife” and more like an intense friction that grinds a piece of concrete to create a “cut.”  Diamond blades are known for their durability and ease of use.  They are perfect for the construction crew or even the DIY homeowner.  The larger the slab of concrete the more difficult it is to cut, but with a diamond blade, cutting through slabs of concrete is a breeze.

Heat plays a major factor in the performance of a blade, and diamond blades are no different.  Diamond blades work best for wet-cutting concrete surfaces.  Wet cutting ensures the longevity of the diamond blade while reducing heat and reducing the number of dust particles in the air.  Dry cutting, generally with a segmented blade, is not off-limits with diamond blades, however, but it is usually used for smaller jobs and should be done outside due to the amount of dust created.

U.S.SAWS has a wide variety of diamond blade saws for all jobs great and small.

Diamond Chains

Chainsaws benefit from synthetic diamonds as well.  The chains contain utilizes diamond segments which are fused to the chain in place in the usual chainsaw teeth.  Much like the diamond blades, the diamond chains grind away materials in order to create a cut and are used with concrete, bricks, and stones.  The benefit of these diamond chains is that they are much safer to operate than the standard chainsaw as they do not produce any kickback.  Diamond chainsaws also use a long, flat guide bar that allows the saw to cut deeper than any circular blade. While diamond chains may come at a higher cost, the benefits reaped from no kickback and deeper, cleaner cuts make the price tag much more palatable.

U.S.SAWS offers multiple diamond chains and chainsaws, including a Heavy Duty Gas Concrete Chain Saw with ProForce Diamond Chain.  This incredibly versatile gas-powered saw offers guide bar lengths of 12” to 16” and uses a powerhead series of diamond chains.  It is best used on concrete and stone.

Diamond Cup Wheels

Another handy diamond-infused concrete tool is the diamond cup wheel.  Much like sandpaper, the diamond cup wheels are measured by grit.  The diamond cup wheel is mounted to the concrete grinder and used as an abrasive force to grind down concrete for a smooth finish.  Much like the diamond blade, diamond cup wheels may be used for wet or dry cutting.  They also come in a variety of grits depending on the job at hand, from adhesive removal to profiling hard surfaces.


U.S.SAWS is able to take care of all your diamond cup wheel needs, including a 5” 4 Single Row Quarter Round PCD Cup that is great for handheld grinders being used to remove thick coatings like epoxy or urethane.

Contact U.S.SAWS today to add some diamond power to your toolbox.


Top 5 Must Have Tools for an Underground Contractor

As an underground contractor, you know your role in installing and repairing various pipes and cables is vital to an area’s infrastructure. Getting the job done swiftly, efficiently, and correctly is mandatory. In order to get the job done, you need to ensure you have the best underground tools on hand to finish the project. The top five tools for any underground contractor’s toolbox are:

  1. An air-powered belly saw;
  2. A chainsaw;
  3. A cordless pipe beveller;
  4. A battery-powered valve exerciser; and
  5. A manhole cover lifter.


Without these tools, an underground contractor’s job becomes a lot harder. Let’s take a closer look at each of these underground tools.

What Is a Belly Saw and How Does it Help?

One underground tool that makes the job easier for underground contractors is the air-powered belly saw. These air-powered belly saws are a great option for contractors who need to cut underground pipes.  Belly saws are designed for easy and safe operation in tight spaces.  At U.S.SAWS, their belly saws are equipped with Tiger Tooth blades that remain shielded by a clamshell cover until it is time to cut, protecting the user from accidents.  The saws work by attaching the saw to the pipe itself using the saw’s strap.  The blade is then guided by four spring-loaded wheels to ensure a straight and accurate cut every time. Air-powered belly saws are a great underground tool that will allow you to cut through just about any material, including PVC, HDPE, ductile iron, cast iron.  Since these saws are air or hydraulically operated, they not only add the benefit of being exhaust-free, but also are operable in wet conditions. These saws can handle pipes with diameters up to 24 inches and only require 7 inches of clearance.

Chainsaws Built for Pipe Cutting

Air-powered chainsaws are versatile underground tools. There is one for every job.  They are safer than gas-powered or electric chainsaws, especially in wet or tight spaces. If you are looking to cut pipe for a demanding job with minimal excavation, an air-powered chainsaw may be the answer for you. These chainsaws come equipped with a pipe clamp to ensure no operator fatigue comes into play with little to no kickback. This pipe claim also allows for safe bottom-up cuts.  U.S.SAWS utilizes a PowerGrit chain that can be used to cut ductile iron, HDPE, PVC, cast iron, and the like. They also come with a concrete chain for concrete pipe, reinforced concrete, and concrete structures.  Square corners may be cut without overlapping cuts. Also, these chainsaws can cut irregular shapes, making them more adaptable to your needs than the belly saw.

The Cordless Pipe Beveller

A cordless pipe beveller is another must-have underground tool for an underground contractor. This handy item is a quick, easy, and safe way to cut and bevel any plastic pipe. For contractors working with sewer pipes, the cordless pipe bellever is an all-in-one solution. Its small size and battery operation allow it to make easy work of cuts and beveled edges in tight spaces without being tethered to an electrical cord.  The cordless pipe beveller is adjustable for all sizes of pipe and is a lightweight solution for work in trenches.   Some retailers, like U.S. Saws, offer reasonably priced cordless pipe bevellers that come equipped with a quality DeWalt 20V grinder, 16 flute beveller, two batteries, a charger, and a carrying case.

Battery Powered Valve Exerciser

Valve exercisers are a must-have tool for contractors working with waste and water facilities or municipal water departments.  The key to working with waste and water departments is being able to access the worksite and regulate the flow of water, and the valve exerciser is the way to do it.  The advent of the battery-operated valve exerciser made the process of opening and closing valves easier on the workers, making access to difficult locations easier with less manual labor.  The U.S.SAWS VEX-400 is a perfect example of a solid, portable valve exerciser with the power and safety features needed for successful valve work.  These exercisers are made of alloy aluminum and hardened steel which use a Metabo drill motor as their power source.  Safety features include a trigger handguard, stable foot base, overload protection, and a shear key that will break before the gearbox, preserving the integrity of the exerciser and its user.  This device has a rotation counter that tracks turns rotating in either direction, comes with three batteries for a full day’s work without the need for recharging, and has multiple extensions allowing the user access to a wide range of valve depths.  This powerful tool also has variable torque settings ranging up to 400 peak ft/lbs.  After use, it breaks down for easy transport in its carrying case.

Manhole Cover Lifter

The fifth and final must-have underground tool is the manhole cover lifter.  Most underground contractors, whether they are dealing with electricity, gas, telephone, waste removal, or water will come face to face with a manhole cover on the job.  Manhole covers have been known to weigh hundreds of pounds and can prove to be a real obstacle for workers.  There are many varying sizes and weights of manhole covers and companies like U.S.SAWS provide access to a variety of tools to meet any underground contractor’s manhole cover lifting needs. Magnetic manhole cover lifters are the most popular and take some of the risk of physical injury out of the removal of manhole covers. The U.S.SAWS ROBOTRON Utility 4 Magnet Break N’ Take is a handheld magnetic cover lifter that makes easy work manhole covers up to 325 pounds.  This underground tool utilizes neodymium magnets, which are among the strongest magnets in the world.  Heavy lifting jobs may require a Supreme Duty Collapsible Dolly with 10” hard wheels and a mega duty magnet will get the job done.  This lifting system can handle covers up to 900 pounds.  This heavy-duty manhole cover lifter keeps the operator at a safe distance while lifting, can fold down for easy transport, allows for two lift positions, and is compact and lightweight.  There are even manhole cover lifters with barriers for the protection of the worker and the general public.

Contact U.S.SAWS today to discuss updating your underground toolbox!

The 5 Best Tools for a Concrete Surface Prep Contractor

Concrete flooring is a rapidly growing trend for business owners and homeowners.  When prepped properly, concrete can be an inexpensive solution for beautiful and durable flooring.  However, much like any material, concrete flooring needs to be repaired and sometimes replaced.   Prior to any repair work or replacement that concrete surface will need to be prepped for the project with the proper concrete saw and other handy items.

The five best tools for a concrete surface prep contractor’s tool box are:

  1. A concrete grinder;
  2. A joint clean out saw;
  3. A dual component polymer pump;
  4. A gas powered dust collector; and
  5. An early entry saw

Let’s take a look at the benefits of each of these tools.

The Most Innovative Concrete Grinder on the Market

Every concrete surface prep contractor needs a concrete grinder to remove all of the inconsistencies and flaws in a concrete surface and provide a smooth and usable floor.  Even old concrete floors can be ground down and polished to a renewed perfection.   Long over are those days of back breaking handheld concrete grinders.  Modern technology has devised ways to create powerful grinders while also allowing the user to remain in an upright position.  The TC-7 Stand-Up Edge Grinder, available through U.S.SAWS, is the most innovative concrete grinder on the market.  This powerful machine will not only grind down high and uneven spots in the concrete but also functions as a polisher for concrete surfaces.  The TC-7 gives the operator total control, allowing for the front, back, and side to side adjustments, an adjustable outrigger wheel for various head pressure, a durable aluminum chassis, and a U-shaped frame allowing the operator to remain in a standing position, all with a shock-absorbing grip.

Joint Clean Out Saw

When resurfacing concrete, a joint clean-out saw is a concrete saw must for any surface prep contractor.  Concrete joints are widely used to control cracking in concrete slabs due to expansion and contraction of the concrete. The joints are placed in predetermined locations and are usually at a depth of ¼ of the thickness of the concrete slab.  When it’s time to resurface the concrete, these joints need to be cleaned out in order to properly grind and polish the concrete.  U.S.SAWS Mark-III Joint Clean-Out Saw is the tool for that job. This precision saw is designed to clean out the joints between the slabs, remove whatever filler was used, and make accurate cuts up to two inches deep.  This concrete saw makes accurate cuts by allowing the operator to see the blade, even though 98% of the blade is covered for dust control purposes.  You’re now able to see the blade but without a cloud of dust!  This saw blade is also adjustable and has a depth lock to prevent overcutting.

Easy to Use and Inexpensive to Maintain Dual Component Polymer Pump

Now that you know the must-have tool for cleaning out a concrete joint, we need to find the best tool for applying the new concrete filler into the freshly carved joints.  Dual component polymer pumps are the easiest tool for the job.  The dual-component system allows you to mix and dispense the polymer filler into the joints through the use of one device.  U.S.SAWS’ Dual Component Polymer Pump is an easy to use and economical option for surface prep contractors.  This polymer pump comes standard with a 1:1 component ratio, but also has a 2:1 component ratio available.  The aluminum mixing manifold is easy to clean.  The Dual Component Polymer Pump has two 6.5 gallon semi-transparent tanks that allow the contractor to keep easy tabs on material levels. If dispensing is a concern, this model’s dispensing wand has variable speed control and start/stop control allowing precise fill for each joint.  While this machine is not designed for single component polyurethates, it goes above and beyond for polyuria, polyaspartic and epoxy materials.

Gas Powered Dust Collector

Dust is inevitable with any concrete surface prep job.  While many of the above-listed tools have unique ways to minimize dust and maximize the operator’s vision, dust is still a factor that contractors have to handle not only for cleanliness on the job site, but also for health purposes.  Concrete dust is very fine and has the potential to make people sick if inhaled.  A gas-powered dust collector can make short work of the residue left behind from your concrete saw and has the power to remove those fine particles of concrete dust.  These dust collectors are not your run-of-the-mill home vacuum.  These are heavy-duty industrial vacuums equipped with high-power gas engines to clear out any leftover residue.   Gas-powered dust collectors are great for masonry and block saws as well as concrete.  The Ultra Vac 1250 – Gas Dust Collector is a great option for anyone using a concrete saw.  This vacuum system is constructed with all-steel tube framing and a polyethylene body that can take significant abuse.  Powered by a Honda GX240 gas engine, it has a 12.5 gallon dust bin for those large projects and a 25 foot hose with a 3 inch diameter.  The front also has front and rear handles for easy handling. Options for his dust collector include HEPA filters and Longopac bagging systems.

Early Entry Saw

An early entry saw is a fine concrete saw to have for creating contraction joints in fresh concrete.  Early entry saws can cut into fresh concrete within 1 to 4 hours of finishing.  Having a properly cut joint is crucial to the quality of the concrete slab.  A poorly carved joint will not provide the proper plane needed to guide the stress crack.  The SRX-2000 Early Entry Saw by U.S.SAWS is an essential concrete saw for a prep surfacer’s toolbox.  This concrete saw allows for the sawing of crack control joints within one to two hours of concrete finishing.  Four-inch wide polyurethane wheels allow the saw to move across the freshly finished concrete without marking the surface.  Joint chipping and spalling are minimized via the skid plate.  The blade guard on this early entry saw is equipped with a vacuum port that controls dust while dry cutting the concrete.  The maximum cut depth for this saw is 1 and 5/8 inches and comes with an easy release depth control lever.  The folding handlebar compacts this concrete saw down for easy storage.

Contact U.S.SAWS today to discuss your concrete surface prop tool options!

How Tight Should a Chain Saw Be?

Great equipment can only be effective when it is used and maintained properly. It is crucial for the performance of your chain saw and for your personal safety to ensure your chain saw has the proper tension before use.  All chains are susceptible to stretching and sagging over time. The potential extent of the stretching is dependent on the specific type of chain saw you use. Tension that is too loose and tension that is too tight each come with their own risks.  In order to avoid those dangers, it is recommended that you check your chain saw before initial use on a project and also a few times during operation to make sure your chain saw is running optimally.

How to Tell if Your Chain Saw Has the Proper Tension?

As with everything in life, your chain saw requires balance.  Ideally, your chain saw chain should have the perfect tension for the job for which it is intended.  Each task requires a different tension.  For instance, concrete and iron ductile cutting chain saws require a looser tension than wood cutting chain saws.  Generally speaking, the chain should be a little loose on the chain saw guide bar, but not loose enough that the drive links come out of the bar nose. The bar links should feel like they are raising up, but not actually come out of the guide bar.

Testing the tension of the chain is a fairly easy task.  Gently pull the chain away from the guide bar to see if the links remain engaged. They will want to lift up slightly, but not enough to become dislodged from the guide bar.   Moving the chain around the guide bar with your hands is also a common way to test the tension of the chain saw chain.  A properly tensioned chain saw will move smoothly with little force.  If the chain is too loose and comes off the bar, you will need to tighten up the chain before use following the guidelines outside in the manufacturer’s manual.  You also need to ensure the chain is not too tight.  If there is no give to the chain when you pull up slightly, and it sits rigidly along the guide bar, the tension needs to be adjusted to loosen it up before use. In this instance, you should also consult the manufacturer’s manual to ensure you are properly tightening the chain.

The Danger of Running a Chain Saw with the Wrong Tension

It is important to reiterate here that monitoring the tension of your chain saw is critical to extending the life of your chain saw, as well as safeguarding you from potentially severe injury.  Loose chains and tight chains are both potentially dangerous.  Loose chains can cause warps in the guide bar, which then may lead to a string of other rapidly worn parts.  A safety issue with loose chains involves derailment.  If the chain is too loose, your run the risk of the chain coming off the guide bar completely, which may cause severe injury to the user, including a loss of limbs or digits or even a severe cut to the face.  Kickback is also a serious issue with loosely tensioned chain saw chains which can cause severe injuries.  Chain saw chains whose tensions are set too tight also open various parts to premature wear by applying too much stress, including the clutch and the bearings, or even damaging the motor, both of which are vital to operating the chain saw.  Chains that are too tight may cause the chain saw to heat up, which is also damaging to the other components and maybe a fire hazard as well.

Each chain saw from U.S.SAWS comes complete with a manual that outlines the proper method to test and adjust chain saw chain tension and to properly maintain your chain saw to ensure the longevity and safety of your tool.

How to Lift a Manhole Cover

Manholes play a vital role in the maintenance of your area’s infrastructure, and their concepts date back to the Roman civilization.  Many of our everyday utility needs, including electricity, gas, telephone, waste removal, and water, come from underground wires, pipes, drains, and sewers. Manholes are openings in the ground that provide utility workers easier access to the systems they monitor. These manholes are equipped with a heavy cover that requires certain tools to remove. Easy and quick access to these areas is imperative for the maintenance of our public utility systems.

Manholes have four primary purposes.  The first purpose is to provide easy and quick access to speed up inspections of storm drains and sewers, as well as for maintenance and blockage removal of these areas.  Second, sewers require the ventilation of gases to ensure no gas buildup occurs which may be potentially dangerous.  Third, manholes allow workers to change the setup of the sewer system, including joining systems or changing the direction of the underground flow.  Finally, manholes help with the actual laying of the sewer lines in consistent and convenient lengths.

Manhole covers are a crucial piece of the manhole as it protects the public and the utility system from any injury.  Historically, manhole covers were made out of varying forms of cast iron, many with unique patterns and designs.  Cast iron has been a popular choice for manhole covers due to its economy and durability.  The heavyweight of the manhole cover helps hold the cover in place as heavy vehicles drive over them.  A serious issue with the use of cast iron manhole covers is the weight of the cover, which has been known to cause injury to utility workers trying to hurry to remove it.

Using a Manhole Cover Lifter

Cast iron manhole covers are heavy and can weigh more than 250 pounds. Removing a manhole cover can be difficult, especially if it has been wedged, or even cemented, in place for an extended period of time. Manhole cover lifters come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from simple manhole cover hooks, or keys as they are sometimes called, to heavy-duty magnetic lifters with dollies.  Manhole cover keys are a practical approach to small, lighter manhole covers and come in a variety of sizes.  Ensuring you have the right kind of hook on your lifter for the specific manhole cover hole is important or you will not be able to remove the cover.  Manhole cover keys require you to use proper lifting techniques to avoid injury. Magnetic manhole cover lifters take some of the risk of physical injury out of the removal of manhole covers.  Of course, these magnetic lifters come in various shapes and sizes depending on the type of cover you need to remove.  Once you have the right lifter for the job, make sure the area is free of dirt and debris that would make the manhole cover difficult to dislodge, also ensure any magnets you are using are free of debris.  Some magnetic manhole cover lifters are multi-purpose tools that come equipped with hammers or scrapers to help dislodge stuck covers. Operating a magnetic manhole cover lifter requires the placement of the magnets on the manhole cover and then pulling back to remove the cover from the manhole.   Some magnetic lifters are able to turn off the magnets or have a quick unlock system that will release the manhole cover from the lifter when the job is done.

U.S.SAWS Manhole Lifter Solutions

Companies like U.S.SAWS have developed a variety of manhole cover lifters that provide solutions for all types and sizes of manhole covers, from handheld magnetic cover lifters to full system lifters with dollies, as well as any accessories you may need.  The Megatron 5 Magnet Break N’ Take is a handheld magnetic cover lifter that makes easy work of any manhole cover up to 350 pounds.  This tool utilizes neodymium magnets, which are among the strongest magnets in the world.

For those heavy lifting jobs, a Supreme Duty Collapsible Dolly with 10” hard wheels and a mega duty magnet will get the job done.  This lifting system can handle covers up to 900 pounds.  This heavy-duty manhole cover lifter keeps the operator at a safe distance while lifting, can fold down for easy transport, allows for two lift positions, and is compact and lightweight.

There are many accessories out there to enhance both the practical and safety features of magnetic manhole cover lifters.  The orange 42” Manhole Barrier offers more visibility of the worker and protection for the worker and the general public.  The Twin Magnet Spreader Bar allows you to add an additional magnet to your lifting system for increased stability and lifting force when lifting large or uneven lids.

Contact U.S.SAWS today to discuss your manhole cover lifting needs!

The Trick to Cutting Concrete is Choosing the Right Saw

When it comes to concrete construction jobs, choosing the right concrete cutting saw is key to getting the job done right. Whether that job calls for cutting out windows and doorways, cutting through floor slabs and walls, cleaning out or replacing control joints, drilling perfectly round holes or even cutting straight lines and decorative designs into concrete, there’s a concrete cutting tool specifically designed to get the job done.

Walk-Behind Concrete Saws

Operated much like a lawnmower, walk-behind concrete saws are generally used for sidewalks, driveways, basement and warehouse flooring and even asphalt. They offer much higher horsepower and faster cutting than their handheld counterparts, with blade sizes ranging anywhere between 14 to 32 inches, like this heavy-duty walk-behind air saw featuring 20 inches of blade capacity.

You’ll also find a few different types of walk-behind concrete saws, including early-entry, joint clean-out and crack-chasing saws. Early-entry concrete saws are designed to be much lighter than conventional sawing equipment so they can be used on younger concrete, often as early as the concrete has set.

For jobs that call for cleaning out control joints or routing out cracks, opt for a joint clean-out or a crack-chasing saw. Join clean-out saws are designed for cleaning out existing joints, preparing new joints or removing deteriorating joint material, and can also be used for removing epoxy, polyurea and polyurethane joint filling material. Crack-chasing saws, like the CC-100 model from U.S.SAWS, are ideal for jobs that require routing out random cracks in concrete or asphalt surfaces prior to filling with sealant.

Handheld Concrete Saws

As the name suggests, handheld saws are operated by hand, making them more lightweight and portable than walk-behind saws. They are often best used for smaller jobs, like cutting wall openings, or for quick cuts that don’t require a certain level of accuracy. Handheld concrete saws are further categorized into two different types: chainsaws and hand saws.

Concrete Chainsaws

When it comes to making plunge-cuts for creating joints, cutting out windows and doorways and cutting through floor slabs and walls, the concrete chainsaw is a major contender. Designed to be used just like a wood-cutting chainsaw, these handheld saws use specially designed chains for cutting through concrete, including standard concrete chains used for dry-sawing, like the TwinMAX-32 Plus from U.S.Saws, and diamond chains used for wet-sawing, like the 20″ ProForce Concrete Diamond Chain. In terms of power options, you’ll find plenty to choose from, including heavy-duty gas-powered models like this beauty or like this beauty and air-powered chainsaws like this model by U.S.SAWS.

Concrete Hand Saws

Also known as cut-off saws, concrete hand saws are often the go-to tool for most concrete cutting jobs. Available in gas, hydraulic, electric and air-powered models, concrete hand saws are preferred for their speed, portability and accessibility. Air-powered hand saws, like this model from U.S.SAWS, serve as an environmentally-friendly and safe alternative to their gas-powered counterparts but also deliver less power. For jobs that require exceptional power, a gas-powered concrete hand saw is the way to go, like this Husqvarna K1260-14 7.8hp Saw featuring an impressive 7.8 hp output and 14-inch blade guard.

Types of Concrete Saw Blades

In addition to choosing the right saw for the job, another trick to concrete cutting is choosing the right blade for the job. Just chainsaws, concrete hand saws can be used for both dry-sawing and wet-sawing, and each method requires a specific type of blade.

Designed to prevent overheating during dry-cutting. abrasive blades are commonly used for jobs requiring shallow, intermittent cutting and are the preferred choice for indoor jobs due to easy cleanup. However, they also reduce in size with continued use, making them better suited for smaller jobs.

Unlike abrasive blades, diamond blades do not reduce in size with continuous usage, making them ideal for bigger jobs but prone to overheating and unsuitable for dry-sawing. Best used for wet-sawing, diamond blades feature layered segments of diamond particles that drop off with each use to reveal a fresh row of particles until the blade is ready to be replaced. They’re often preferred for their precise cutting abilities, durability and minimal dust production with the wet-sawing technique, but also require more clean-up due to the sludge-like mixture accumulated by dust and water.

More Concrete Cutting Tools

Some concrete cutting jobs require a tool with a specific set of skills. For example, a concrete hand saw could be an option for cutting straight lines or etching designs into concrete, but would also require extremely steady hands and a high level of accuracy. And when it comes to cutting perfectly round holes into concrete, none of the aforementioned concrete saws are fit for the job. This is where core drillers and decorative concrete saws come in.

Concrete Core Drillers

When the job calls for running cable lines, HVAC ducting and sprinkler systems through concrete structures, a concrete core driller is the best tool for the job. Specifically designed to cleanly drill holes into concrete, these handy tools come in a few different options, including electric-powered models like this high precision drilling machine from U.S.SAWS, and cordless models like the Cordless Core EZ Kit, complete with batteries, a battery charger, a gearbox and wheeled case for easy portability.

More on Concrete Construction Tools

Concrete cutting saws aren’t the only tools to consider when planning a construction job. When it comes to grinding down uneven concrete slabs, leveling out joints, removing stubborn glue, smoothing and polishing surfaces, or even cleaning industrial contaminants, a concrete grinder is another solid investment. Learn more in our guide to choosing the right concrete grinder.

Choosing the Right Concrete Floor Grinder

Why You Need a Concrete Floor Grinder

When it comes to all-in-one construction tools, a concrete floor grinder is a must. Whether the job involves grinding down uneven concrete slabs, leveling joints, removing stubborn tile or vinyl glue, smoothing and polishing surfaces, or even cleaning industrial contaminants, these powerful machines eliminate the need for chemical etching, making quick work out of concrete surfacing jobs both big and small, However, not all concrete grinders are created equally, which means choosing the best one for the job is key to getting it done right.

Which Floor Grinder is Right for You?

Concrete floor grinders come available in two different sizes: handheld and stand-up. Handheld floor grinders are great for tight spaces but can be limiting when used for bigger projects. On the other hand, stand-up grinders are usually about the size of a standard vacuum and offer several advantages over their handheld counterpart, including getting the job done faster and easier.

Weight is an important factor in concrete surface grinding and polishing. While handheld grinders may come with the convenience of portability at a lower price, they come with the additional cost of time and labor – not to mention a much larger margin for error.

Applying even weight distribution when grinding or polishing a concrete surface can be challenging to achieve when using a handheld grinder – especially when its operation requires getting on the hands and knees. On the other hand, stand-up concrete grinders allow users to keep their feet on the ground while the machine’s weight does the work for them, making them ideal for both large jobs or simply getting any job done more efficiently.

When it comes to choosing the best concrete floor grinder for your needs, you’ll also find two different types to choose from: planetary and rotary. The main difference between the two is in the configuration of the machine’s grinding discs and weight.

Planetary vs. Rotary Concrete Grinders

Named for its similarity to how the solar system works, planetary grinders are configured with one large plate that serves as the central point to several smaller discs that rotate at different speeds using belts and pulleys. The smaller discs do all of the grinding and polishing while the large plate stays in its central position, never coming into contact with the floor. Planetary grinders are generally lightweight and easy to maneuver in a straight line, making them an excellent option for less intensive tasks like smoothing a garage floor.

Rotary concrete grinders are much heavier than their planetary counterparts and are best used for larger, more aggressive jobs. Instead of a belt and pulley system, rotary grinders use heavy-duty geared construction. When it comes to plate configuration, rotary grinders use either one or two large rotating discs or several small rotating discs that directly grind or polish the floor. While the heavier weight can help speed up the process, it also makes the machine much harder to maneuver, thus requiring a higher skill level.

While both have their pros and cons depending on the job, one of the most significant advantages planetary grinders have over rotary grinders is the ability to cover larger surface areas with its multiple rotating discs evenly. This gives the machine much better balance compared to its one- or two-headed counterpart, thus offering more even weight distribution and less operator fatigue. When you add its ease of use to its lighter weight, it’s obvious the planetary grinder is the way to go. The next step is finding the best one to get the job done.

Introducing the VSG-10 Stand Up Variable Speed Grinder 242

If you’re looking for the best concrete grinder for both large and small jobs, then look no further than the VSG-10 Stand Up Variable Speed Grinder by U.S.SAWS. Built with a 115V motor to make finding a power supply easy, the VSG-10 is configured with a large grinding plate that fits either 3 or 6 “fast change” diamond segments available in various bonds grits. Complete with Velcro resin holders, you’ll find that any 3″ resin, ceramic or hybrid tooling works great with this powerful yet lightweight machine that requires no more than two people to lift up or down a flight of stairs.

Coming in at 175 pounds, this lightweight champion can handle both large and small jobs, from quickly prepping or polishing a 2-3 car garage to serving as an edger in tight spaces where larger grinders just won’t fit. It also makes an excellent coating removal tool when used with PCD segments. For example, the 2 Quarter Round PCD Fast Change Removal Wing is ideal for aggressive jobs like removing thick coatings, epoxy, urethane, and other membranes. At the same time, the #16/20 Grit Premium Double Bar Wing is ideal for smoothing and cleaning, and coating removal, depending on the grit selected.


When it comes to getting the job done faster, easier, and more efficiently, there’s no better concrete floor grinder than the VSG-10 Stand Up Variable Speed Grinder from U.S.SAWS.

U.S.SAWS: Coast-To-Coast Experts in Specialty Tools

US Saws holds a unique position in North America’s concrete cutting and grinding industry. It is a medium-sized company focusing on customized machinery and accessories and enjoying the advantage of creativity and flexibility that the industry’s behemoths can only envy. Andrei Bushmarin reports from its factory in Santa Ana, Calif.

North America is a trendsetter and arguably the world’s biggest market in surface preparation. It boasts numerous players all jostling for a leading position in the industry. In order to survive and thrive in this cutthroat environment, suppliers need to offer first-rate products backed by superior service. It was around this principle that US Saws’ founders built their company. Three musketeers the original firm, called Sawtec, was established by Bill Glynn Sr, Warren Duncan, and Bruce Root in 1991. Friends since high school, Glynn and Root gained experience in construction machinery working at a company called Sinco, which manufactured air-powered saws. Sinco was also the first supplier in the US to sell dry diamond blades. New Zealand-born Duncan is an engineer with a degree from Auckland University and many patents to his name. He already had considerable experience of surface preparation in the early 90s, when the industry was still in its infancy. But, the growth potential was obvious. Duncan met Glynn on a construction project in New York, and they soon decided to launch their own surface preparation company, Sawtec. Several years later its steady progress attracted the attention of US Filter/Blastrac. In 1998, Blastrac acquired the controlling interest in Sawtec. Three years later, Duncan, Glynn, and Root joined forces again and set up US Saws. Because a non-competition agreement with Blastrac precluded them serving the surface preparation industry, US Saws focused on equipment and tools for underground utilities. Solutions for the water and sewer sector currently remain a core business for the company. Generation change and buyout In 2011, Glynn’s sons Dave and Bill Jr. joined the company, having previously gained considerable experience of surface national sales of equipment for underground utilities, product development, and finance. Coast-to-coast coverage US Saws maintains three depots strategically positioned to provide full service across North America. All manufacturing is done at the factory in Santa Ana, where some of the company’s most loyal customers are based. As the majority of its business is on the East Coast, the company set up its headquarters and main sales office in Tampa, Fla. The company also runs a small sales and stock facility in Connecticut to address the needs of customers in the Northeast. Keeping manufacturing and sales facilities apart was a conscious decision aimed at helping each department focus on its respective tasks. A trailblazer in surface preparation expertise and solutions for underground utilities are the two legs that US Saws stand on. In the surface preparation business, accounting for some 40 percent of sales, the company enjoys the reputation of an innovator. In the late 1990s, US Saws invented and patented technology of dust-free grinding of industrial floors, built around an in house designed vacuum shroud. This was a groundbreaking invention that put the company ahead of its rivals and became a signature product. US Saws was also the first to develop stand up versions of hand grinders. Thanks to the smart design, the system gives the feel of a hand-held machine while providing the benefit of standing. The most current model incorporates pitch and roll control of the grinding head from a standing position. US Saws currently offers a full range of grinder vacuum shrouds along with a choice of joint cleanout saws, crack chasing saws, dust collectors, and two-part joint filler pumps. The CC100 walk-behind crack chaser has a height adjustment within the wheel directly beside the blade. This solution allows the entire machine to pivot at the blade without the influence of castors, which increases reliability. Dave Glynn says that customers often spark the most original of the company’s ideas; all the manufacturer has to do is listen to The extensive field experience that Dave and Bill Jr. have gained during their tenure as contractors also help them better understand users’ needs and requirements.

Bright outlook for the industry The company is upbeat about the surface preparation industry’s prospects. According to Dave Glynn, it will continue to grow at a steady pace as polished concrete and epoxy coatings are becoming increasingly popular with homeowners and managers of industrial facilities. Polished concrete has proven itself as a sustainable flooring solution while the resinous flooring market, boasting innovative systems with metallic reflectors and other decorative elements, is constantly expanding, particularly in the high-end residential market. There will always be a demand for coatings among owners of food-processing facilities, airplane hangars, and parking garages. Another positive trend, notes Dave, is that more people are becoming educated on the importance of surface preparation. As such, they are less inclined to economize when carrying out a renovation. New horizons are beckoning Having secured its position in North America’s market, US Saws is now looking to expand internationally on a larger scale. Currently, its overseas sales account for about 1 percent, so the company is looking for partners outside the US. Apart from comprehensive expertise in surface preparation, US Saws has other innovative solutions to offer to domestic and international customers. The Core-EZ core drilling system and cordless valve exerciser are examples. The Core-EZ is a mounted handheld system effectively combining the precision of a rig-mounted drill with compactness and ease of operation of a hand-held machine. It breaks down to a compact size making transportation and set-up much easier. The system is fixed on to a wall at the center of the core so there are no additional mounting holes that would need patching-up once the job is done. The Core-EZ delivers cordless drilling in reinforced concrete with a 78.7-in (200mm) core bit up to 112.2 in (285mm), which is unmatched by competing systems. The manufacturer foresees a bright future for it, particularly with heavy-duty drillers. A battery-powered version is available on sites without mains electricity. The valve exerciser is US Saws’ fastest-growing product in the water and sewer division. Featuring a foot restraint, the battery-powered machine is portable and powerful. It turns in forward and reverse directions, and has a counter to count turns on the valve. Another niche product from US Saws is a line of air-powered saws. According to the company, air saws are a viable alternative in situations when gas, hydraulics or electricity cannot be used. These machines will be on display at the World of Concrete show in January 2018 along with a new joint saw, a redesigned dust shroud for hand grinders, and a new joint fill polyurea pump.


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