Introducing: The New Festool HKC55 18v Circular Saw & FSK Guide Rail System

May 6th, 2015

The latest release from Festool marks a new standard in portable circular sawing, thanks to the innovative FSK guide rail system. This mobile tool is ideal for making quick, easy and precise plunge-cuts and cross-cuts in timber.

Festool HKC55 Circular Saw

Around this time last year, Festool released the TSC55. This was their first cordless circular saw, and had been designed to provide a cordless alternative to the hugely popular TS55. This June, Festool will bring us another brand new cordless circular saw: the HKC55.

Festool refer to the HKC 55 as “not just a saw, but a mitre saw system”. This shows that their goal was to provide you with an easy way to make quick and clean repeat angle cuts, using a highly portable tool. It is ideal for increasing your mobility when working with timber, and demonstrates “exactly what a modern saw can achieve on the roof”.

The FSK guide rail system is the key, as it is very easy to set precise mitre angles to cut wherever the need occurs. Furthermore, the saw itself is smaller and more lightweight than the TSC55, which allows you to carry both saw and rail around in one hand. Despite this compact design the 18v battery and efficient brushless motor ensure that you still have enough power to make clean and fast cuts.

The Festool FSK guide rail system: the handy little miracle for repeat cross-cuts

When the HKC 55 is combined with the FSK guide rail you can achieve high levels of precision and exact angles, even for repeat cuts. These results would previously have required the use of a fixed saw, but are now achievable with this portable package.

Festool FSK Guide Rail Stop System

Above: fixed stop circled left, and adjustable stop circled right

The stop system is easy to use. Angles up to 60° left and right are marked along the rail, with a fixed stop at 0° on the opposite side. Simply slide the adjustable stop point to the correct angle marking, and the board will be at the correct angle relative to the saw when it is placed against both stops (see right for illustration). There are locks at common angles, to make angles even easier to set up and cut.

The saw can be attached to the rail in a single click: simply slide it onto the rail until the lever flicks out behind it to prevent it from sliding off backwards.

Once you have made your cut to the end of the rail you can make the saw retract back to the starting position that you set, thanks to an integrated rubber spring.

This new type of guide rail has the same durable construction as the existing FS range. It is available in three lengths: 250mm, 420mm, and 670mm. Overall, this system allows repeat cuts to be made with identical accuracy, in both directions. It makes the saw ideal for cutting roof battens for size and for serial angle cutting e.g. façade formwork.

Don’t worry if this system isn’t for you – the HKC55 is still compatible with all existing FS guide rails. This will allow you to perform larger tasks such as quickly and accurately cutting insulation boards to size. This saw also works very well without any guide rail at all.

The HKC 55: Fully-Festool Quality

The saw itself, ideal for both cross- and plunge-cutting, has all the markings of quality that you expect from a specialist like Festool.

As with the TS55 and TSC55, you can be certain of cutting precisely along the scribe mark, even with mitre angles of up to 50°. The hinged blade cover is easy to move when starting your cut, and features an integrated riving knife to prevent kickback. The blade itself is easy to change with one hand and without the use of tools, thanks to the FastFix interface.

Finally, the HKC55 falls under Festools “Service All-Inclusive” package, which offers a great range of features such as theft protection, 15-day money back guarantee, and a 10 year spare part availability promise. Don’t forget to register all of your tools online!

Festool HKC55 Saw KitThere will be three different Festool HKC 55 kits available. The saw will come packaged with:

1) Blade, accessory set and Systainer, but no batteries or charger (naked)

2) Two 5.2Ah Lithium-ion batteries, charger, blade, accessory set, Systainer, and FS1400/2 guide rail

3) Two 5.2Ah Lithium-ion batteries, charger, blade, accessory set, Systainer, and the new FSK420 cross-cutting guide rail

We think the last kit will be our favourite, but the naked option is great for people who have already bought into the Festool 18v system.

All that’s left is for you to get thinking about which one you might want, and contact us to place your pre-order!

Alice Cotton – Paslode Service & Repair – Stratford upon Avon

April 28th, 2015

The nailgun is working perfectly thank you and I found the service to be extremely straight forward and convenient. Despite not being local, collection and delivery was at a small extra cost and the communication was excellent. All in all, a very easy transaction and a working tool!

Kind regards,
Alice

Check out our Paslode Repair Service

Matt Lowe – Paslode Service & Repair – London

April 10th, 2015

I have nothing but good thing to say about your service….. Your colleagues were very polite and helpful, the collection and return service was second to none. My Tools returned in perfect working order. I shan’t hesitate to use you again and I shall recommend you to all my contacts.

Kind Regards,

Matt Lowe
Logunn Construction LTD

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David Bebbington – Paslode Service & Repair – Stafford

March 31st, 2015

I was very pleased with the service i received from Kelvin power tools. The paslode gun was picked up when you said and quote to repair was the day you received it, repaired and sent back all in one week

Thank you.
David Bebbington

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Dennis Geddes – Paslode Service & Repair – Northampton

March 9th, 2015

I was very impressed with the whole service with Kelvin Power Tools from been given a date and time for the courier to collect and return my nail gun, and the communication was excellent throughout the whole repair service. Many thanks, would definitely recommend Kelvin Power Tools.

Kind regards,
Dennis Geddes

Check out our Paslode Repair Service

Tarren Daden – Paslode Service & Repair – London

March 5th, 2015

Yes the service I received was 1st class !! No faults what so ever and you kept me informed.

Your collection & delivery service for £10 is great value and saves me losing a day at work taking the gun to be repaired.

I have already recommended Kelvin Power Tools to  everyone I know !

Keep up the good work.

Many thanks,
Tarren Daden

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Andrew Speakman – Paslode Service & Repair – Maidenhead, Berks

March 2nd, 2015

I have been entirely satisfied with the service received from Kelvin Power Tools. Fast, efficient and friendly service. I will be using them again.

Andrew Speakman
Speakman Roofing Contractor

Check out our Paslode Repair Service

Mandy Smith – Paslode Service & Repair – Boston, Lincs

February 25th, 2015

We were very pleased with your service, and the very quick turn around on our repair.

Regards
Mandy Smith

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Stay Safe on Site: Hand Arm Vibration

January 28th, 2015

Hand Arm Vibration

There are many health and safety issues relevant to the construction industry. Working at height, operating plant and machinery, and wearing the correct PPE are just a few, but one of the most important issues is that of hand arm vibration.

The results of Hand-Arm-Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) may not be as sudden or as devastating as an injury caused by a fall or an accident with a piece of heavy machinery, but they are just as important. The effects of over-exposure to high vibration levels can still have a serious and life-long impact. This damage is preventable, but once the damage is done it is permanent.

What is Hand-Arm-Vibration Syndrome?

The Symptoms

When using power tools or machinery regularly for long periods of time, the vibration levels begin to have an effect on your body. Your hands may begin to tingle, or you may feel pins and needles or numbness. But these short-term sensations are not the only effects. You may even feel no short-term effects at all for months or even years, but still be at risk of long-term damage.

If you are exposed to these high vibration levels for too long they begin to damage your blood vessels by narrowing them, thereby restricting the circulation to the fingers. Vibration levels can also damage your nerves, muscles, bones and joints. This can eventually lead to severe pain, loss of sensation in your extremities, fingers going white due to certain everyday triggers, reduced grip strength, fine motor control problems, and involuntary muscle spasms.

Vibration White Finger

The hand of someone with VWF

These are the classic symptoms of Vibration White Finger (VWF), which is the most common form of Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome. These symptoms can come and go, but are very often permanent. VWF is a secondary form of Raynaud’s Syndrome.

It is also possible for hand-arm vibration to cause Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS), due to the entrapment or compression of nerves in the wrist. Symptoms of this nerve disorder include pain, tingling, numbness and weakness in parts of the hand. CTS can also be caused by repetitive gripping and twisting motions.

The Consequences

The lack of strength, sensation and control in your hands and fingers due to HAVS makes it too dangerous for you to use power tools, leaving you unable to work and earn a living.

Not only that, but the damage may also stop you from performing many leisure activities like gardening. The damage may even prevent you from something as simple as watching outdoor sports, as the cold could provoke a painful attack.

It is clear to see the hand-arm vibration exposure can ruin your quality of life. It is therefore very important to make sure that you do not end up another one of its many victims.

Which tools and tasks are likely to cause a problem for me?

You are at risk of developing HAVS when using power tools, or holding workpieces that are being processed by stationary machinery. This is not an exhaustive list, but these are the most common tools that put users at risk:

>  Chainsaws

>  Grinders (all types and sizes, e.g. angle, die, straight, etc.)

>  Hand-fed equipment (e.g. pedestal linishers, grinders)

>  Impact drills

>  Scaling hammers, including needle scalers

>  Pedestrian controlled equipment including mowers, floor saws, floor polishers

>  Powered hammers for chipping, demolition, road breaking etc.

>  Sanders and polishers

>  Hand-held saws for concrete, metal, ground clearance etc.

(Source PDF)

And the risk of using these tools may be greater than you realise. Regular and frequent use of modern, well-designed, well-maintained hammer-action tools is likely to result in risk after just 15 minutes. This risk becomes critical after one hour of use. For non-hammer-action tools the risk begins at one hour of usage, and becomes critical at roughly four hours of use. (Source PDF).

Make sure that you always check the manufacturer’s vibration figures, so that you know exactly when you are at risk.

Do Power Tool Manufactures Make Tools To Help Mitigate the risk?

As more research into the causes and effects of HAVS has been done and technology has improved, many manufacturers have begun to produce products specifically designed to combat the effects and increase your safety at work.

Metabo VibraTechSince 2005, Metabo’s “VibraTech” anti-vibration handle has been included as standard with all angle grinders. Thanks to the cushioning zone created by the large volume of elastomer material inside the VibraTech handle, the operator suffers up to 60% less hand-arm-vibration. This substantial and noticeable reduction in vibration levels allows you to work longer and more effectively, using less force and producing more precise results.

Makita’s “AVT” technology is another good way to reduce the risk of injury. The AVT mechanism works by transferring air around a series of chambers, which causes a counterbalance to be pushed in the opposite direction of the piston. This cancels out the vibrations that would otherwise have been caused by the piston.

Some Makita AVT tools also feature shock-absorbing handles for extra protection. As vibrations travel down the handle, it is shifted in all directions thanks to a ball joint that functions as a fulcrum. The rubber dampeners then soak up this movement, which in turn lowers the vibration levels that are transferred to the user.

Makita AVT

Most manufacturers now provide a range of tools with varying levels of vibration protection. Though these new anti-vibration tools often cost a little more, they pay for themselves not only by allowing you to work for longer but also by preventing you from suffering the symptoms listed earlier in this article.

What can I do to ensure that my coworkers and I stay safe?

Even if you do purchase an anti-vibration tool, you should still take great care not to exceed the limits on hand-arm vibration.

The Health and Safety Executive has an excellent hand-arm vibration exposure calculator to help you manage your risk, as well as “Ready Reckoner” chart that is simple to use. HSE has also produced a good guide to help you find out everything you need to know about the risks of vibration at work. So make sure that you read up on the facts and learn how to recognise the warning signs!

Finally, here is some basic advice that you should follow when working with power tools to ensure your safety:

Vibration Training>  Always use the right tool for the job, to minimise working time and vibration exposure

>  Check the vibration levels of your power tools, and make sure that you know the recommended maximum usage time

>  Check your tools for wear and damage that could increase their vibration levels

>  Reduce the time you spend continuously operating the tool

>  Encourage good circulation by keeping warm and dry, and exercising your fingers during breaks

Talk to your employer or the HSE if you have any further concerns, and make sure to spread the warning amongst your coworkers to ensure that everyone in construction remains safe and injury-free.

 

References:

http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg296.pdf

http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg175.pdf

http://www.raynauds.org.uk/associated-conditions/vibration-white-finger

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vibration_white_finger

Infographic: The Essential Guide to Bosch Drill Bits

January 14th, 2015

Most of you already know that Bosch have an extensive range of power tools, with names and codes that can be very confusing. Well, it turns out that their accessories are no different! There are many different Bosch drill bit types at different price points, all for different materials and different specific tasks.

Have you ever had a drilling mishap that resulted in a broken bit or damaged materials? Are you often unsatisfied by the speed of your drilling, or the quality of the results? Do you ever wonder if you’re really using the right bit for the job?

Then you need brush up on your knowledge with our Essential Guide to Bosch Drill Bits!

 

Click the image below to enlarge.

Bosch Drill Bits Infographic

 

Some Definitions

SDS-plus:  These bits have shanks with 2 open grooves that are held by driving wedges, and 2 closed grooves held by locking balls. This design allows the drill bit to slip in and lock with no tightening needed (it can be released just as easily), which greatly improves efficiency.

The design also allows the bit to move backwards and forwards freely. This means that the chuck does not need to be moved as much, and the drill can therefore provide more power with less effort from the user.

SDS-Max: These drill bits are similar to SDS-Plus, but are for much more heavy-duty machines. They have 3 open grooves instead of 2, and locking segments rather than locking balls. The drill bit still simply slips in and locks without tightening, and still moves backwards and forwards freely.

HSS: This stands for “high speed steel”. Bits made from this material are very hard and have high heat resistance. This allows them to drill into a range of materials including metal, hardwood and hard plastics. They have come to replace carbon steel bits, as they cut at a higher speed.

Conclusion

Based on the rather substantial list above, I think it’s clear that Bosch have an extensive range of drill bits for use in every material. Whatever the task and whatever your priorities, Bosch have a drill bit range to suit.

If your focus is on getting the most bang for your buck, then the basic ranges still pack enough punch to get the job done quickly and to a high standard. If you want to splash out and get the best bit available, then there are many ranges that are jam-packed with features that improve speed, finish, and user-friendliness.

If this post has given you a hankering for some new drill bits, then you can check out our range right here!

What drill bits do you most commonly use, and why?