You've got all those "first tier" tools--hammer, screwdriver, tape measure, etc. You've loaded up on "second tier" tools--cordless drill, cordless Sawzall, etc. Now it's time for the "third tier."
That's what I call it, anyway: tools that are super-cool to have, but not essential. The wet tile saw is one. Cordless paint sprayer. And now, the twin blade saw.
I began this piece as a critique of the RIDGID 5 inch TwinBlade, sent to me by RIDGID for review.
Then I realized that I had little else to compare with the RIDGID since it was my first experience with a twin blade saw. So, look at this as a primer on twin blade saws, featuring a DIY-friendly saw found at The Home Depot for about $149.00.
What Is a Twin Blade Saw?
Twin blade saws are just like your typical circular saws, except for one thing: two blades instead of one. Not only that, the two blades rotate in opposite directions.
Sounds crazy, but there is a method to this madness. Because these blades rotate in opposite directions, the saw has no mind of its own. This is in sharp contrast to single-blade circular saws, which always seem to be propelling you in one direction or another.
A twin blade saw is all about control. Cut forward, cut backward, cut up, or cut down--it's your choice. Kickback is not entirely eliminated but it is reduced.
Additionally, a twin blade saw delivers a cleaner, sharper cut than single-blade saws, even when fitted with toothy blades.
What Do You Use a Twin Blade Saw For?
Your twin blade saw will not replace your single-blade circular saw. For one thing, it will not cut as fast as the single-blade saws. But here are places you can use it:
- Plunge cuts. This means sticking the rotating blade straight into that board--something you cannot do with a single-blade saw. Or which you can do with a single-blade saw but with great danger and little control. Twin blade saws let you drop the saw down exactly where you want it and with perfect control.
- Cutting fine material. You can cut laminate or veneer with a twin blade saw and get clean cuts.
- Cut forward or backward.
- Cut metal without changing blades.
How Did the RIDGID 5 Inch TwinBlade Saw Do?
I decided to put the RIDGID right to the test by cutting up orphaned lumber that was cluttering up my parking area.
The RIDGID assembled quickly--fifteen minutes from opening box to plugging it in.
I was able to quickly cut these 5" wide boards with straight plunge cuts. The 10 amp motor ensured that the saw did not falter.
Then I began cutting Formica. Even though I was using ripping blades, they still produced admirably clean cuts. Imagine how good the cuts would look with finish blades!
The RIDGID TwinBlade balanced well in my hand, and I never felt tired.
No doubt you can buy more expensive twin blade saws--but why would you? My theory is that you should go inexpensive when buying these "third-tier" tools. You won't use them often enough to justify shelling out many hundreds of dollars for contractor-quality tools. In that light, the RIDGID 5 inch TwinBlade is just the ticket.