LENOX® Tools || The Science of Cutting: Making and Saving Tradesmen Money (Reciprocating Saw Blades)
This is a partnered post with LENOX® Tools.
It seems I can’t walk into a supply house (Electrical, Plumbing, or HVAC) without seeing a significant build-out around LENOX® Tools. As a carpenter, handyman and a remodeler, and as a consumer, I wonder why.
I mean – in all honesty, how much thought do I really give to the power tool accessories I purchase?
And I can’t say there has ever been any consistent pattern. Some days, and possibly because I am standing in those supply houses, it must be convenience. Other days, my purchases seem to be driven more by some previously formed “impression” around the “brand” I am eying.
With LENOX Tools, it’s a combination of both. It probably all started innocently enough when I grabbed a single saw blade at check-out. Later, I grew to respect, rely and even look for the brand, LENOX.
LENOX Tools :: The Gold Standard in Cutting
With a quick visit to the company’s About page, I learned that LENOX has been at it for more than 100 years. From that page, “Our company began in 1915 with a passion for bringing customers hacksaw blades that cut faster and last longer.”
Ironically, while the technology has evolved and sure the product offerings have, well, expanded too, that proposition has remained relatively unchanged. For 102 years now, a consistent theme stands out. Longer lasting blades keep tradesmen more productive, making them and saving them money, longer.
In this two-part article, I will look at the newest generations of Bi-Metal Hole Saws and Reciprocating Saw Blades from LENOX. First, we’ll look at the Carbide-Tipped or CT line of reciprocating saws blades. Then, in Part 2, we’ll see how advancements in blade design is extended also to their newest T3 hole saws.
Both product lines target three objectives – Faster Cutting, Longer Life (sound familiar?), plus Superior Durability. We’ll take a deeper dive into that in a bit, but first let’s look at some of the tasks we do on the day-to-day.
Talking the Tasks
Reciprocating saws aren’t complicated. We just load ‘em up and go, right? That is – until we have to wiggle our saw into a space, where, well, it isn’t supposed to go. It’s physics (or something), really – the girth of your saw, plus those cursed hands won’t let you get a squared-up approach on your cut. And this, perhaps, is where our recip blades prove their worth.
Our reciprocating saw blades have to flex. BUT they also have to be tough enough to give us a tight, clean and straight cut … all while fighting “pull-out”.
Moxie Mouth: Pull-out is when you prematurely remove a reciprocating blade from a cut before the blade has fully settled. In the end, pull-out is usually bad for a blade. It often leaves the blade kanked (yeah, it’s a word) beyond any further use.
Plumbers, electricians, HVAC technicians, carpenters, punch-out guys – it doesn’t matter what your trade is. We all must occasionally reach for a reciprocating saw, and we just hope and trust that it is loaded with the right blade.
LENOX CTTM Reciprocating Saw Blades
Remember LENOX is a maker of industrial tools – band saw and metal-cutting circular saw blades. You’ll be happy to know, too, that they are still at it with hacksaw blades (I love ‘em). But for home improvement pros, LENOX has gained their widest recognition as a go-to for power tool accessories.
My guess – any advancements in production (as I’ll discuss below) are informed by knowledge gleaned from both serving that industrial market and by making those cornerstone hacksaw blades.
Reciprocating Saw Blade Design :: Engineered For Tasks
In terms of Blade Design, LENOX engineers consider four factors – Material, Tooth Shape, Tooth Set, and Angle of Attack. And, of course, each blade is designed with a specific cutting situation in mind.
A quick look comparing two of the new offerings – the LENOX LAZER CTTM CARBIDE TIPPED RECIPROCATING SAW BLADES (for Heavy Metal) and the LENOX DEMOLITION CTTM CARBIDE TIPPED RECIPROCATING SAW BLADES reveal striking differences in blade shape. Compared to the DEMOLITION CT blade, which has aggressively angled teeth, the LAZER CT Heavy Metal blade has teeth that are more upright and somewhat dulled.
As discussed above, one of the most important aspects in the saw blades we select is the ability of the blade to flex and bend with each cut. Of the two, and as you can imagine, the DEMOLITION CT is noticeably more flexible.
Engineering at Work :: Angle of Attack and Tooth Set
Teeth, specifically, vary by cutting application – angle, height, and overall shape. But common between both blades, an aggressive downward cutting angle originating at the blade’s shank. In doing this, engineers keep more of the blade in contact with your material as you work. By creating a staggered plane here, each stoke removes new material – the blade doing more of the work for you.
Looking downward at these blades (turned up) reveals also the staggering of teeth. Teeth are set to the left and right (as with most blades from other reputable makers). This detail both minimizes heat and also widens the blade’s cutting area. Noticeable also on LENOX’s hole saws, staggered teeth allow material to be ejected quicker, keeping friction down, and blades ultimately cooler while in use.
These two aspects of LENOX blade design (angle of attack and tooth set) encourage sharper cutting over a longer life.
So what Exactly Is CT? :: Superior Durability
If you were wondering, CT stands for “carbide tipped” as indicated here. Basically, carbide is used along the entire cutting surface.
Well, JB, what is the value of having carbide tipped blades?
Carbide steel as a material is heralded for both its chemical and performance properties. By welding carbide, along the blade, to super hardened steel, it’s LENOX’s best effort to prevent tooth loss and promote longer cutting.
In fact, LENOX says, this allows blades to last up to 10x longer over previous iterations. And quite simply, by lasting longer, you’ll experience less need for change-outs – keeping you more productive, for longer, in the field.
LAZER CT Heavy Metal Blades
LAZER CTTM reciprocating saw blades are designed to perform when cutting “difficult” metals like Cast Iron or Stainless Steel. Each tooth is precision ground to quickly cut through thicker metal profiles. A taller blade profile of the LAZER CT delivers accuracy and consistency. Most standard bi-metal reciprocating saw blades simply aren’t sturdy enough, nor do they have the tooth design needed to get through tougher metals.
DEMOLITION CT Blades
DEMOLITION CTTM blades are designed for, well, demo. And while there is no shortage of options on the market, these blades perform exceptionally well in nail-embedded wood. You’ll also notice with these blades they are also slightly thicker than competitors. Improved blade thickness helps increase control and accuracy, making it a more reliable option on your jobs. Reliability is, of course, vital at this stage in any project. I mean – none of us ever want to add time here, because demo, after all, isn’t usually what we are getting paid for.
The DEMOLITION CT blades have 6TPI and are available in 6”, 9”, and 12” lengths. LAZER CT blades have 8TPI and are available in 4”, 6”, and 9” lengths.
For more on the discussion of blade design, or as LENOX would have it – the Mastery of the Blade. The video linked there explains the rationale behind blade design.
Note: Each of the individual pages linked above contain the tech spec, including a handy, graphically-based selection guide. (Included below.)
LENOX :: Saving Time & Making Money
The thickness on their newest reciprocating saw blades increases durability by improving blade strength. With stronger blades, we see less broken (or kanked :~)) blades and less tooth loss. This makes for more accurate and efficient cutting, while simultaneously minimizing the need to load replacements.
Some benefits in themselves may be, well, beyond obvious. Stronger blades save us money (and sure, time is money). With increased blade durability, you’ll simply find yourself purchasing blades less frequently.
The longer lifespan of these blades doesn’t just mean you’ll get your money’s worth, though, it means more cuts made when you need to make them. As LENOX puts it – “These blades are engineered to perform fast for people who do not have time to waste on the job.”
To Learn More
To learn more about these and other tools, visit LENOX Power Tools Accessories, here.
We’ll continue this discussion in Part 2. There I’ll focus on the latest advancements with LENOX hole saws.
Thanks for reading and please click through. ~jb