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Recip. Saw, Spray Bottle?

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  • Recip. Saw, Spray Bottle?

    My dept. just acquired two DeWalt 24volt recip. saws. Two officers I know on other dept.s using recip. saws advised me to use a spray bottle with a water/soap solution when cutting metal. One of our officers claims research shows there is no benefit from this, and it may be a waste of time. Please respond with any advise, one way or the other. Thanks.

  • #2
    Depends on the blade you are planning on using. The newer specially developed blades for rescue purpoposes you dont need to use any solution. A soap and water solution will help cool the blade and give you longer life but in reality use it once on a incident and change it over. That way you dont have to mess with any bottles and you will always have a good sharp tool to use when you need it most.


    • #3
      Assuming we are cutting a vehicle, we try to disconnect the battery whenever possible prior to making any cuts. Manufacturers have put more and more conduits into their "A" and "B" posts than ever. That said, once the hood is opened and the battery disconnected I advise pulling the dipstick and swiping the oil onto the sawzall blade as the cuts are being made.
      Of course you can bring oil, soap or whatever with you, but if you didn't or don't, it's there for the taking.
      Forget the research and tell me your cuts don't move quicker when the blade is oiled.

      I concur with G Jansen, blades are used once and replaced. A used blade has no place on an incident ready saw.


      • #4
        A Posting From Ron Moore, Forum Moderator

        Dave posted a question about blade lubrication that I receive frequently from firefighters attending my University of Extrication seminars. It seems that as more and more crews purchase reciprocating saws, the question of lubrication comes up.

        What I found when I did my two-year research project for the recent 5-part series on recip saws is that there is nothing technically 'wrong' with lubricating any kind of recip saw blade. it stems from machine shops that must lubricate their bandsaw blades because they cut metal all day in a factory.

        If you do lubricate at a crash scene, make sure it is soapy water and not an oil-based product that will heat up due to friction and create an unpleasant smell and light colored smoke.

        In my humble opinion however, lubricating recip blades is a waste of personnel and time at extrication scenes. My research showed that for the common vehicle crash cuts of A-, B- or C-pillars, Nader pins, even door hinges, there was no noticeable difference in time to complete the cut when cutting dry compared to a wet cut. Try it at your department. You'll wee that dry cuts are just as quick as wet ones.

        I use only the newest generation of saw blades from Milwaukee, DeWalt, and Lenox for example. These are ruggedized blades and they are 'shot' when you're done cutting but so what. I don't know of any rescue team that starts out at an extrication scene with used blades in their recip saw.

        What I object to the most about saw blade lubrication is that the department that lubricates is saying that they have so many fire rescue personnel on scene that they have extra people with nothing better to do than to look over your shoulder and drip water onto your blade. That's not good use of personnel in my opinion. Shouldn't the lubrication person being doing something useful?

        If you insist on lubricating blades, OK. Just make sure you use soapy water. If you accept the new train of thought and cut dry, you're my kind of rescuer. Have demolition-type blades in your inventory, use a good saw and use it properly, be aggressive, and get the job done. When it's all over, trash the blade.

        Save the spray bottle for cleaning the bugs off the windshield of the rescue truck!

        Ron Moore,
        Fire Training Manager
        Plano (TX) Fire Rescue
        <[email protected]>


        • #5
          I have to say I do agree with the lack of benefit - I haven't noticed a difference in time in cutting with my folks either.

          I have heard two interesting points brought up recently about this and I'd like to see if Ron or anyone else has heard the same.

          1) The soap/water combo is a degreaser - I've been told it works it's way into the motor and breaks down the lubricants. Without proper PM this can shorten motor life.

          2) I've also been told that all that water ending up in the motor can cause parts to rust prematurely and also shorten motor life.

          Anyone had experience with these things happening?

          Susan Bednar
          Captain - Forsyth Rescue
          North Carolina Strike Force 1


          • #6

            Unless the recip saw is your only piece of equipment used for extrication and blade life is important to you, I would say definitely lubricate the blades during use.

            Otherwise, if you purchased the new generation recip saws with the chuckless, quick blade change system, keep changing the blades. Even if you have an older model saw, don't waste the important manpower to do what the saw was intended to do in the first place. I have never seen a person hosing down a demolition saw while it was cutting a fence or a rollup security gate. Sort of the the same thing right????

            Also Captain Bednar brought up an interesting point. These are electrical or battery operated devices. Some are more weatherproof than others but the water or oil must do something to the internal workings of the motor over time. I have to look at the owners manual and see if it says anything about cautions to keep oil or water away from the unit.

            Rescue Lt. Kevin C. (aka Pokey)


            • #7
              "1) The soap/water combo is a degreaser"

              The same applies to de-squeeker and antiseize stuff like WD-40 and mouse milk.

              If you're going to use stuff to try and make it more efficient or for whatever reason, use what the machine shops use - cutting oil. If soap and water were better than that stuff the machine shops would use soap and water.

              Fresh blades for each incident are the way to go.

              How much cutting are you going to do anyway?

              Dry cut and keep going.

              [This message has been edited by S. Cook (edited July 02, 2000).]


              • #8
                I wacked 4 posts on a subaru atation wagon a few weeks ago dry cutting with a Porter Cable Tiger saw and a Lennox 650R blade in less than 2 minutes. Havent used lubricants in a few years on our baldes and we get the job done. My question is, if you are gonna use the blade..generally its a write off. Who cares if it weakens if its getting ****canned when the call is over. They cut great dry, the best part is that the spray bottle holder is now a second saw user or any other tool for that matter..makes much faster work I think.

                The information presented herin is simply my opinion and does not represent the opinion or view of my employer(s) or any department/agency to which I belong.


                • #9
                  Any of the supposed people in the "Know" that I have talked to tell me that the Lubricating the Blade has more to do with Blade Life than cutting efficiency. As Ron has pointed out what impact does this have on your personnel utilization? this is an oft over looked and critical issue for all of us. Can we make a much more productive use of our Rescue Personnel than to take "an extra person" to Lubricate while we cut? Maybe you are in a Personnel Rich department but a lot of aren't think about that aspect of this whole debate

                  Carl D. Avery


                  • #10
                    A question for Ron (or anyone else) re: "demolition blades". Local Home Depot carries lots of blades but nothing labelled quite like that. Speciality item? Supplier?? Make or model #'s???


                    • #11
                      Try going to a local contractor tool supply company, if you still have difficulty email me and I will point you in the right direction.

                      I use Milwaukee Torch Blades with a 14 TPI, they are excellent blades for cutting metal. These will far outlast the economy blades in the do it yourself section of the local hardware store.

                      Any store that sells Milwaukee can order them for you, most likely they don't stock them because of the price. Don't be fooled by price, you buy cheap and you'll be replacing blades constantly during your rescue.

                      I have been working with Milwaukee promoting getting back to the basics, and they are using the blades that I like the most for their new Extrication Series Sawzalls corded and cordless.

                      They are now including Torch and Ax Blades in each kit. When I was teaching at Expo this year, the Milwaukee representative gave both "Ax" and Torch blades away to the students to bring back to their departments.

                      The Ax Blade is a wood demolition blade that I like for cutting windshields and the new laminated glazing called Enhanced Protective Glass or EPG. This will be used in Amerian vehicles within the next year or two. Ron Moore and I worked together testing EPG and we used Milwaukee Ax blades with excellent results. These are made of the same gauge as the Torch blades.

                      There are actually two gauges available for Torch, there is a havier gauge that is used in Europe, the tang is different but will be accepted in the keyed chuck. It will not fit into the quick lock style chucks.

                      Milwaukee blades like any other will fit in to the competitors saws. Good luck!

                      Photo Courtesy of EPGAA, Enhanced Protective Glass or EPG
                      Ron Shaw http://www.extrication.com

                      [This message has been edited by Ron Shaw (edited July 29, 2000).]


                      • #12

                        Any chance of an explanation of this new type of glass?

                        What are its properties? Is it a form of laminated glass? How do we recognise it? etc......

                        John Hardcastle
                        (Is it set to cross the Atlantic in the near future or can we rest easy for the requisite 5 years or so?!!)


                        • #13
                          I am not a expert on the subject glass but basically it is laminated glass just like your windshield. It is now starting to be used in rear and side windows.

                          The easiest way to identify it is just take your spring loaed punch to it. If it shatters it's your standard tempered glass, if it leaves a small star(like a BB shot)in your windshield then its the new glass and start cutting it like you would your windshield.

                          Hope this helps.

                          Just one man's view from the flames.


                          • #14
                            As to the EPG, I worked with RON and RON in Springfield,Mass on the testing. the EPG is infact a Laminated glazing vertually identical to current glazing used in Windshields. This Glazing is being used on some high end European Luxury Cars (AUDIS, VOLVO etc.) The glass responds to most of the techniques we use on windshields. One technique that seems to work well is to cut along the base of the window then bow the window out a bit and slide it out of its track. If the window is bonded in place you will have to cut out on all sides or take actions that are similar to windshield removals. AND as Hosekey 21 points out. the Easiest way to spot the product is as he described.if you see the "BB" hole and a small spider web you are dealing with EPG. This is a relatively FIREFIGHTER FRIENDLY INOVATION as we already know how to deal with Laminated Glass

                            Carl D. Avery


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