Concrete cutting tools such as a diamond chainsaw and concrete disc/circular saw are like other tools in the trades. They are designed to make construction work convenient. Manufacturers such as Husqvarna produces these tools, along with the tools is the maintenance and care guide. Being an owner, you are responsible to know how to maintain and service your tools.
This is especially true if they are part of your livelihood. As with any tools, you need to maintain them so that you can rely on them when construction work comes. Have you ever seen a video where a tool underwent sudden freak catastrophic failure, and someone loses a limb? Did the tool in the video look well-maintained? I doubt.
Protecting yourself from harm is a natural instinct. You know that a chainsaw can kick randomly, and it is a great way to lose fingers if one isn’t paying proper attention when cutting.
Regular Maintenance is Necessary
One of the best ways to prevent needless injuries is to maintain tools. Concrete tools, specifically, have some unique requirements when compared to other tools. You may leave a circular saw for cutting wood in a dusty shop for a short bit; this isn’t a problem and won’t negatively affect the life of the saw or its blade. But this is not applicable for a concrete saw.
Concrete contains chemicals that help prevent corrosion of the steel and rebar that reinforces buildings. Leaving these curatives on your blades can quickly wear down the blade and can easily damage the mechanics. Letting the concrete dry upon the tool leads to a host of health issues during handling as well.
Not to mention concrete is a pain to clean off once it dries on the tools. Are you willing to clean those dried concrete for hours? Of course not. Don’t needlessly create more work for yourself.
In the case of the concrete saw, you can easily clean the concrete and its residue off the blade or external housing of the saw with a shop rag and a non-abrasive cleaner if needed. Just remove the blade and do the cleaning.
If you aren’t certain on how to clean the chain, check with your manufacturer for the best way to clean your specific tool.
Concrete contains nitrates and chromates that are added to protect the underlying steel from corrosion. Concrete is also acidic (high pH, 12.5 and even higher. It is comparable to lye). Both of these factors need to be taken into consideration when working with concrete. High levels of pH exposure can cause damage to you and your tools over time.
Plasticizers are often added to concrete to add levels of weather resistance to the mixture. These are harmful to your tools if you let them set and don’t clean them immediately. Don’t let these additives build up and wear out, or worse, dull your tools.
Cutting anything with a dull blade is an accident waiting to happen. Often, it can be difficult to know if your blade/chain is dull and needs replacement. Letting concrete build up on your tools and not cleaning or storing them properly exacerbates the wear and tear on both the tool and the blade/chain itself.
Proper Storing of Your Tools is a Must
Storing your tools in a dry place out of the weather is key to both preventing wear and tear as well as preventing damage caused by working with concrete, in general. Cutting on hard objects like concrete adds heat and stress to the blade and the motor of the tool, even though they are designed to withstand certain levels of such treatment.
In addition, rest your tool every two hours of solid cutting. When we push our tools to the maximum, we need to rest them as well. Store concrete tools in a dry, (never put them away wet or damp) non-humid location away from the weather.
Do not store your tools directly under the sun or in a place where temperatures fluctuate radically (such as in the tool box on the back of a work truck.) Storing for small periods, like over lunch, is fine. Storing overnight or between shifts (5+ hours) in such an environment is damaging to the tools and lowers its lifespan.
Responsible tool use is something we all learnt, sadly tool maintenance is not. It is everyone’s job to prevent tool related injuries. Clean your blade every time you need to do so. Simply making the effort whenever possible will add years of safe use to your concrete cutters.
Not having to replace those diamond dusted chains as often would go a long way toward that sweet new work truck though, just saying. Having all your limbs intact to drive it wouldn’t be so bad either.