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I like to do a bit of DIY and have got rather a fine collection of tools scattered around my home, garden and sheds. Most tools I have used many times indeed, such as power drills, drivers, sanders, chisels, saws and a few others. Although some tools I have looked at and wondered what on earth possessed my in buying them in the first place.
One lovely little tool that I have used quite a few times since getting my hands on it is in the saw range, but this no ordinary saw, nor is it a jigsaw or circular saw. But it is a saw that has more power than North Korean dictator and will cut through most materials like a hot knife through butter, that saw being a rather strange looking one that could be mistaken for an industrial road digger. The saw that I am talking about is from a well known tool maker that is easily recognised by the sharp colour of the casing that surround the beast of motors that make these tools as good as they are.
That company being DeWalt, which, if you've seen any tools from DeWalt then you'll already know how to recognise the well known branded name by the colour of the machines that they sell. If you have never heard of DeWalt then I'll tell you how to recognise them. It's by the yellow and black casing, which is mainly yellow and really does stand out from the crowd.
This saw is in fact the DeWalt DW304PK which, as I have said, is like no other saw that you have ever seen, or used.
* So what is so different about this saw then..?
Well, I'm glad you asked.
The main difference in this saw is the actual shape of it, it's not like your average saw that you may see in B&Q, (other tool selling shops are available).
Let's look at your normal power saws, such as a jigsaw, which have little blades that are designed to cut corners and maybe shapes out of the material you are cutting through. Jigsaws are more for smaller jobs that maybe need a little more precision and delicate to make the work look prettier when it's finished.
Then we have the circular saw which has a circular blade that spins around. This is designed to rip through larger pieces of material, such as sheets of wood, where a less fine finish is needed in a shorter time span.
As I said, this saw is completely different in looks yet has the power of the circular saw and gives you the delicacy of the jigsaw
I shall try and give you an idea of what I mean...
It is about 620mm long, from shoe to rear handle, (not including the blade itself), 275mm high and 120mm wide, weighing in at a hefty 4kg, or there abouts.
On one end there is the dangerous area, (if you're careless), where the blade is housed, which is slotted into a 'semi' floating shoe section.
Then, as we come along the saw, behind the blade housing, there is a black casing that is designed in such a way so that it can be held easily in your hand. Then, further back, we have the familiar yellow plastic housing that surrounds the motor itself, with the trigger guard area near the rear of the machine, and the trigger itself being near the top of the guard and the mains lead going into the saw on the lower part of the guard.
And to make you know what brand it actually is they have housed to motor and all the working bits in the usual DeWalt colour, that being mainly yellow with a few dashes of black.
So that's it for what it looks like. In fact, to be honest, when you first look at it it looks like it should be held by a professional hitman on his daily working life, being a rather big beast of a thing that has more teeth than a crocodiles mouth.
* So how do you actually use this saw then..?
Actually using it might seem like something that could scare the life out of you but it's so simple you'll wonder why you where so petrified by it in the first place.
All you have to do to get this going is take it out for a meal, maybe a drink, a bit of a dance.... No, seriously, this saw just need a blade locking it into place, and away you go.
You simply pull back the little catch near the shoe, which will release the blade clamp. You then put in a blade, in one of the four positions that it lets you place it in, and push the clamp back down, locking the blade securely in position.
The four positions that the blade can be slotted into the keyless clamp are either a vertical way or a horizontal way, with the blade being capable of being put in forwards or backwards, (sort of), so that you can cut in more places, even in the closest of areas from the ground.
Now you're almost ready to go.
You just then have to grab handle near the trigger with one hand, taking the weight of the machine with your other hand, and you're ready to start sawing. All you have to do then is pull the trigger, gently at first, until the blade gets to the right speed and you feel confident with the power coming from the motor.
That's it, you're ready to saw away anything that gets in your way.
* Can it actually do the job..?
Well, it can't do your taxes for the forthcoming tax year, neither can it create a nouvelle cuisine dinner for two on Valentines day, so if you want it to do anything like that then you're going to be very disappointed indeed.
But if you want it to saw through something so you don't have to put in too much effort then this one, with its 1050watts of power, will rip through most materials without breaking a sweat at all.
It can go from 0 to 2800rpm quicker than Jeremy Clarksons flapping lips as he explains the difference between under steer and over steer, and it can slice through up to 10mm of metal and 50mm of wood without any real trouble at all, although this depends on the sharpness of the blade, but a good blade and the power of this will handle the most stubborn of objects.
Then, to add a little safety and a bit more control, it has what is called an electric brake, which means that it stops in a split second once you've let go of the trigger. Plus, it has an all metal gear box for easier speed control and a fan cooled motor to help keep the entire unit easy to hold even after a long time of use..
It has a form of speed control, which isn't like your normal speed control, that being a button or a switch that lets you change the speed of the motor. This speed control is actually the trigger its self. In other words, the harder you press the trigger, the more speed you get from the motor.
* Is it noisy..?
Well, this depends on what your cutting through.
The saw itself is as loud as a jigsaw, or maybe a mid range lawnmower, so it's not going to disturb the neighbours too much if you just fire the saw up on its own. But when you start slicing through something like a fence post then the noise will get louder, and the shrapnel will fly
* What else do you get with this saw then..?
It does come in a blow moulded plastic carry case that has a place for everything and everything in its place. In that I mean that the saw fits inside the case with there being plenty of room for the wires and a few saw blades as well. Plus, it has a lovely little carrying handle and two strong metal clips to lock the case securely.
You only get one blade in the package but new blades can be bought at a good price so there's not real danger ever being without a cutting edge.
* My opinion...
I love this saw. It is one of the most useful saws that I have had the pleasure of ever having in my hands, (easy now, stop that thought ladies).
It is an Ian Botham of the sawing world, a complete all rounder that can tackle most jobs thrown at it.
I have used mine for tree felling, small trees of course and not really felling, I should have really said pruning those over hanging branches that get in my way.
I also used it for cutting up logs for an open fire, cutting through plastic tubing that I needed to get rid of but was stuck in situ and needed a few bits cut off so that I could get it out. I've also used it for cutting through thin metal objects like nails and screws that are embedded in places that I'm trying to take apart but just can't prise the two bits from each other.
It is amazing what this saw can actual do, from a simple cut through a '2 by 4' to a total destruction of a partitioning wall in your home, (just get permission from the householder before attempting to destroy their homes as when I did this my mate's mum went ballistic, threatening to use the saw to cut off my personal possessions. And we know what that means... that was in my drinking days mind you).
The trigger is pretty delicate and only needs the slightest of squeezes to get the motor running. Then, when you release the trigger, the brakes kick in quicker than Eric Cantona's integrating with the fans, stopping the motor in its track so that the blade becomes safe, usually even before you take the blade out of the wood that you're cutting, which makes life a little safer.
The blade fits in four ways, so to speak, slotting in two ways inside either of the two slots. The blade can be turned around in both slots so that the saw can be used in different positions. And all this takes is the simple lifting of a little lever and then snapping it back into place to lock the blade into position. When the blade is locked in position it stays in position. I would say that it doesn't move but it has to move up and down in order to give that cutting motion that helps slice through the material you aim it at.
You do need to use both hands to use this one properly as it is designed that way, one hand at the front, steadying the weight of the saw and directing it as it cuts. Then the other hand stays behind the guard and on the trigger area.
There's no way to use this with a single hand as it would be totally unsafe and I would not recommend doing so. Think "one armed man clinging from a rock face who suddenly gets an itchy bum..." and you get the general idea, sort of.
I have used this for long periods at a time, maybe five minutes with the motor running constantly, and the motor has never felt as if it was on the verge of overheating, nor has it ever faltered as I'm hanging up high in a tree, my trouser belt strapped around a flimsy branch, the only thing stopping me from tumbling to the ground below.
It has tackled all sorts of tasks too and manages to handle them all without too much trouble.
The blades aren't the smallest of things and can't really be used as jigsaw blades are used, but there size makes them ideal for blasting through logs, planks, door frames, fencing panels, posts... in fact, if you are intending to rip apart a house to renovate it then this saw should will come in very handy indeed.
* So what about the price then..?
This remarkable cutting tool sells for about £100, which may sound a lot but for the remarkable job it does and the fact that it can do a lot more than any other saw it is money well spent.
* Would I recommend this then..?
This all depends on what sort of work you intend to use this for.
If you have a lot of cutting to do, heavy cutting I mean, not just cutting a few twigs that have fallen into your garden, then I would say that this is without doubt something that you should think about investing in as it will rip through most wood in seconds and is easier to use than a circular saw and a lot safer to handle than a chainsaw. But if you only do a few odd jobs around the house and garden then you may not get value for money. Although as it is built to last it can always stay in the shed until you need to cut something up with it.
1050 Watt motor designed for heavy duty applications / 4 position blade clamp allows for flush cutting and increased versatility / With a 29 mm stroke length, the DW304PK delivers excellent cutting performance / Lever-action keyless blade clamp for quick and easy blade changing / Ideal for plumbers, electricians, heating, HVAC , and builders Applications Steel pipe cutting Cutting aerated concrete blocks,etc Cutting pallets with nails inside Plunge cutting for opening doors