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  1. #1
    Mary Ellen Guest

    Question Best Roof Ventilation Tool?

    Putting together the budget for next year. Time to replace the old, tired, inefficient chain saw we have been using for ventilation holes. What tool should we be looking at as a replacement?

    Most common roof is asphalt shingle. Most common decking is plywood. Very few industrial style rubber roofs. This is a small bedroom community. Average 3-4 structure calls per year?

    What tool would you recommend to get the job done right, done reasonably fast and that can be operated safely with training?


  2. #2
    Jolly Roger Guest


    We have Stihl 026 chain saws. After a fire, we simply replace the chain. Chains are about $10-15 each, so it's not like it's that big a deal. We tried the $200 chains, and found they are not one bit better than the inexpensive sets. We have the Stihl circular saw also. (I forgot the model number). We have metal and concrete cutting blades. The nice part about buying from the same company is for maintenence, everything is identical except for the cutting devices themselves. Same spark plugs, same fuel ratios, etc.

    My $0.02

    Jolly Roger

    Let's not let the honor, tradition, and pride of the fire service erode away.

    [This message has been edited by Jolly Roger (edited 11-28-2000).]

  3. #3
    ArmyTruckCompany Guest


    Have used a lot of different combinations, and have observed a lot of different combinations...For chainsaws, the absolute, best, no questions asked saw out there is the Cutters Edge- I forget the model number. It uses a Husqvarna motor, specially "tweaked" for fire dept use, and also has additional air filtration so that the motor does not "choke" in hostile environments. With this, purchase the BULLET chain. The reason the person in the previous post had back luck with the expensive chain is because that model Stihl will not propel a chain fast enough for FD use, hence the thrown teeth. The Cutters Edge saw can do this. Another good chainsaw combo is the Stihl 038 Magnum with the Cutters Edge 12" chain and bar. (Bullet chain again...)

    For circular saws, again, no questions- the Partner K700A....Not as big and clumsy as the K-1200, less weight and just slightly less horsepower. The blade- "The Warthog." You will use it once and throw rocks at everything else you have ever used. You will never use anything else again until something better comes out.

    Personally, I dont like the Stihl circular saws- WAY too heavy in my opinion. Good luck!!

    "Loyalty above all else, except honor."

  4. #4
    snowmankw77 Guest


    I just used a new Stihl saw that was designed for ventilation on the fire ground and i thought it was an exellent saw. I took it down through a simulated roof making the normal 4x4 cut in a matter of seconds. I don't remeber what the model number was though. I will find out and post it unless some one else knows the saw that i am talking about

    Matt Briskey
    Eastern Garrett County
    Station 80

    "What's in it for me?

    Hard Work
    Possible Death
    A deep and abiding feeling of personal satisfaction found in few aspects of life"

    "Nobody ever called the fire department when they did something smart!!"

    [This message has been edited by snowmankw77 (edited 11-28-2000).]

  5. #5
    bfd1071 Guest


    Pitched roof??? How about a pickheaded axe? A good roof man will cut a hole in no time with a good axe. Chainsaws .....not an a pitched roof.

    ** The opionions are mine and mine alone, they are not that of my dept or the local**

  6. #6
    SFD-129-3 Guest


    Our truck runs with the Cutters Edge D8 chainsaw and the Stihl circular. The Cutters edge cannot be beat. If you have used one after struggling with a Stihl that was meant for cutting firewood, you will never be without one. The are expensive up front and the chains have to be sent back to be sharpened correctly, but they save you valuable time on a roof.

  7. #7
    Capt68 Guest


    Hey BFD ever try a sledge hammer they work pretty good compared to an axe, try it sometime. Nothing bad just something neat you might like ... Ryan

    62 Engine 67 Truck ... The Pride of the West Side

  8. #8
    GBordas Guest


    I agree with BFD1071. The overall best tool is a pick-headed axe. We go to the roof with several tools; a partner saw (K-12)is the way to go for cutting all around, not just for venting roofs. In addition to the tools and saw, we carry a kit for the saw which carries different types of spare blades for different roof materials along with a wrench to change out the blades quickly and efficiently. (It is a lot easier maintenance than a chain-saw). But if the saw should ever fail,... Guess what? We've got our axes!

    Be safe

    [This message has been edited by GBordas (edited 11-28-2000).]

  9. #9
    MFD636 Guest


    Small community? Tight budget? Head down to your local hardware store & pick up a cordless reciprocating saw (commonly known as a "saws-all").It's lightweight,low maintenance,easy to use,and fast! This is the tool of choice on my dept. for wood/shingle roofs. It also comes in handy at auto-X scenes.

  10. #10
    Detroit Fire Guest

    Thumbs up

    Way to go Boston nothing like a good Pick Head Axe or a good 20lb sledg these are all we use in Detroit. They are light, never stalls if smoke gets in the carb. and easy to replace if stolen.

    [This message has been edited by Detroit Fire (edited 11-28-2000).]

  11. #11
    Jim M. Guest


    I hate to go against tradition, but isn't a saw of some type much safer to use on a pitched roof than an axe? I think I remember a study showing fewer injuries. Anyone else think the same way?

  12. #12
    bfd1071 Guest


    Bringing a saw to a pitched roof seems a little more dangerous then an AXE. A Axe has no moving parts. If you should slip on the rood, what is the first thing you do? You grip tight whatever you have in your hand, the trigger to the saw. On a Pitched roof, I'll take the axe over a high speed saw.

    ** The opionions are mine and mine alone, they are not that of my dept or the local**

  13. #13
    Jim M. Guest


    bfd1071; I'm sure you see many more fires than I do. I agree with your comment about the spining saw being a dangerous tool but, what has your experience been as far as your personal stability on a pitched roof? I think I'm less likely to fall if I'm leaning forward making a cut vs. the up and down momentum of my torso swinging an axe or a sledgehammer. My body seems more stable. Just a thought. Wish I could remember where I read what I think I remember reading about relative safety.

    Remember, it IS as bad as you think and they ARE out to get you!

  14. #14
    fireman703 Guest


    I have never been one to follow tradition for traditions sake. I try to think out of the box. If I was a contractor and had to put in a skyligtht what tool would I use. Portable, lightweight, safe. My choice is a sawzall that has both battery and electric cord capabilities. I go to the roof with a pickhead axe to start the hole and if something happens to the sawzall. With the right blade put in for the job, I will have a large hole cut quickly. I can be in many different body positions on the roof ladder to accomplish this. The tool is lightwieght and fast. I dont want to stand on any roof if I can help it. In my earlier days I partially went through a roof into a burning attic. I now try spread out my weight on more than my feet and be very stable with little movement. I use the cord on MVA's and other cutting jobs where a cord is not a hinderence.

  15. #15
    SFD-129-3 Guest


    Anybody want to race? I'll take my saw, you take your axe, and we'll see who cuts a 4'x4' and on the ground first. Any extra time on a roof isn't a good thing. Cut your hole and get off there. The Cutters Edge also has the depth guage and blade cover so you can lean it into your cut without coming into contact with any of the blade.
    I wholeheartedly feel the chainsaw, properly used, is the safest and quickest metheod ever. Do you really want to swing an axe to make a trench cut?

    [This message has been edited by SFD-129-3 (edited 11-30-2000).]

  16. #16
    paets Guest


    We have had success with the Echo Quik-vent.

  17. #17
    Hamy91 Guest

    Thumbs up

    I prefer the T-N-T tool, otherwise known as the Denver tool, to the pick-headed axe. It is several tools in one. Sledge, axe, closet hook, and pry bar. It is heavy duty and comes in several different sizes.

    Another good roof tool is a circular saw. Not a k-12 but an all around craftsman circular saw. They are inexpesive and easy to replace. They are also very easy to use on a pitched roof. Not as bulky or heavy. If you truely have plywood decking this tool can really be effective.

    Now for all you chain saw fans out there I am still loving the chain saw for several opperations. I just happened to have seen the circular saw in use and I was very impressed with it speed. I could cut a hole much faster with it than I could with the chain saw


    FIrefighters are the chosen people.

    My views do not reflect that of my department or the United States Air Force

    [This message has been edited by Hamy91 (edited 11-30-2000).]

  18. #18
    M G Guest


    I was taught to use an axe on roofs that are pitched higher than you can comfortably walk. If you know where to strike with the axe you will do some serious and fast cutting. I like the axe myself, if I have to use a saw its a chainsaw. Thats the saw I've used most and trained on most.

    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.

  19. #19
    RSQLT43 Guest


    We have a Tempest VentMaster chain saw, it works very well. For venting a gable, we use a cordless sawzall. If you want to get fancy you can purchase a DeWalt 24 volt CORDLESS 6 1/4 IN. circular saw, this is the only tool mentioned so far that is safely operated with one hand.

    This tool will not choke out due to smoke, and there is no cord to trip over.

    [This message has been edited by RSQLT43 (edited 11-30-2000).]

  20. #20
    ME93 Guest


    The cutters edge is the only way to go. As far as pitched roofs are concerned. It all depends on the pitch you are working on. If its to steep you should be using a roof ladder anyway. Now you have a good foothold for your quick and efficient cutters edge. Get it cut and get on to the other tasks.

    Fishers Fire Dept.
    Local 416

  21. #21
    ENGINE18-3 Guest


    I'm with BFD1071---- Nothing beats the reliability of an axe. Never have to worry about it not starting when you get on the roof. And you can get through the roof pretty quick with enough practice.

    The statements above are my own opinions

    FF Greg Grudzinski
    Oaklyn Fire Dept.
    Station 18-3

  22. #22
    calpyro Guest


    My favorite tool is a high powered chainsaw with a 24" bar equipped with a vent chain like Cutters Edge Bullet Chain. The saw my trucks carry are the Sthil 046 Magnum. This saw has more power than the Cutters Edge unit, at a fraction of the price. Count me in on a race with the axe crowd. My truckmen can set the brake, and be back on the ground with a 4X4 hole in five minutes.......ready to find another job on the fire.

  23. #23
    smokeater-n-hellraiser Guest


    You alosh have to think of reliability guys. If you pick up a chain saw or a sawsall or a circular saw, you are playing a numbers game. Granted, normally they won't fail. What if you get up there, you are al set, you have guys doing an intereior attack in a room that is about five minutes away from a flashover, and the unit breaks? I am all for power tools, but always have someone bring an axe and/or sledge up the ladder behind you. And know how to use them properly.

    "I hate it when someone says something is impossible, because then I have to go and find a way to do it."
    Stay safe, boys and girls. It's for keeps out there.

  24. #24
    Staylow Guest


    Like Boston, everyone on our trucks ALWAYS carries a pick head axe with them on the fire ground at all times. Yeah the gas saws are faster and do have their place, but the axe is the bread and butter tool. It has nothing to do with tradition. An axe will never fail, and with practice and training will do the same quality work, but a bit slower as I have said. If your department does not use, or rarely uses a pick head axe then get them and practice. Become proficient. You will be surprised what they can do in the right hands. It is the best all around truck tool.

    As far as chains saws are concerned, the best I have used is the Cutters Edge. It is worth the money. Do not waste your money on any other product.

    Stay Safe!

  25. #25
    DED1645 Guest


    We actually carry a variety of tools. We have the old school pickheaded ax and the Dever tool. We also carry two K-12's(one gas and one electric). K-12's are pretty heavy and have an incredible amount of torque when the blades get going. We have a Stihl vent saw which I prefer myself. Don't waste your money on those $100-$200 titanium and diamond chains like Jolly Roger stated. They are not worth it. Stay with the shelf $10-$15 chains and buy extra. They do the same job at a 10th of the price.

    If you have the upper body strength and good balance you can vent as quickly as a saw. If you are trench cutting you obviously will need saws.

    David DeCant
    New Jersey, USA
    Career or volunteer we are all brothers. Just feel good for the good you do for others.

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