Early summer saw a number of NWSSA members at a granite seminar organized by Hank Nelson and hosted by Judy and Kirk McLean. I ambitiously bring forth a 1200 lb piece of Fraser River salt and pepper. Envisioning the Rites of Spring joyously filling the ears and large fuzzy bumblebees tumbling around the cushy and aromatic centers of large peonies in a sun filled garden is as easy as sitting on the patio beside Judy’s ecstatic flower garden. Transforming this granite block into a garden seat resembling a peony blossom, luring the casual stroller to sit and smell the fragrance of the Season . . . the sculptor is the eternal optimist!
The 7 inch angle grinder that diced and sliced so easily on a Sierra white granite lantern is shamefully slow in parting ¼-inch deep cuts in this hard Canadian stone. Clearly it is time for a more efficient tool.
I query seminar participants and begin the search; larger blade, more power, water for cooling continuous cuts and reducing dust. It’s a good list. I remain adverse to combining water and electric if personal contact is involved, so consider an air- or gas-powered tool. Later, I talk with construction trades, rental shops, query the web and yes, I discuss it with my wife.
The search continues. Tom Small carries a new gas-powered 14-inch cut-off saw into Camp Brotherhood. Connecting to the water hose, he apologizes for the well-worn blade . . seems he broke in the saw removing enough granite to gravel an average driveway. The saw fires easily with a compression release. The 20-pound tool balances nicely as I begin a flat cut to about 5 inch depth. Quarter roll the boulder. Follow the kerf for guidance and continue around the stone. Sweet! The hook is set!
Several manufacturers produce gas-powered cutoff saws with similar specifications: 70cc, 4.5 hp, 20 lbs, 14 inch blade(5 inch cut), water cooled cutting, prefiltered air cleaner, decompression starting, reversible cutting arm, ergonomic design, vibration damping. Similar prices around $900 for the saw and $200 to $300 for the 14” diamond blade. Oh yeah, and another $30 for some good hearing protection, ‘cause none of these guys are proud enough of noise levels to publish them. The gloves, goggles and respirator are already in my toolbag, inspiration is pushing me out the door. I’m thinking, I hear a saw in my future.