Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Right Tools

   I've started siding the house.  I have to use the Hardiplank cement board siding due to the fire resistive codes for the area.  Only other option was stucco----which I'm doing for the level underneath the porch (pics of that later)
   This isn't the first time I've used the cementitious material---just the first time on my own house.  I really prefer the masonite type siding.  Cement board is very heavy.  It can chip.  Worst thing though is the dust---if you cut it with the diamond blade, this nasty silica dust gets everywhere.  Mesothelioma would take some of the fun out of building.
   Here's what it looks like cutting with a skilsaw---there's usually even more dust but it was windy when I took this (while sawing one handed.  Here, hold my beer and watch this)
   Northern Tools (an online supply company) had these shears made specifically for cutting this material.  It makes zero dust, just this somewhat annoying curly kerf material.  It cuts fast, and can cut some larger radius curves, too.
You also get staighter cuts, simply because you can see your pencil line that's normally lost in the dust cloud.

As I mentioned before, I'd only used this material on other people's houses, which meant I always had someone else to work with.  You really need someone to hold one end of the board to get it into place.  Northern Tools had an automatic recommendation ('Many customers also bought....') The kit wasn't expensive and got very good reviews from people that souunded credible, so I bought it.  It's two parts---the first is this metal clip that wedges behind the previous board to hold one end, offset away from the wall by an inch.

It's a pretty clever design.  That little metal tab holds the board.  After nailing the opposite end, you depress that little hump and the board slides down, leaving room to easily get the tool out again.
Here's the other part of the kit.  The back side has this slide-in part you set for the desired exposure of the lap siding.  I picked 7" showing, which makes for a good 1 1/4" overlap, so I can blind nail the board a good distance from the edge and still cover the nail with the next board.  The trim boards around the windows, doors, and corners are too thick for the shears to cut so I have to use the skilsaw for that still.


prestoffcenter said...

Can you use your tile saw for cutting that stuff? (when you have to)

Sure it'll get it all wet, but it might be able to handle it. (I don't really know the stuff)

flyingvan said...

Yes---the tile saw cuts it nicely. The problem is getting a 12' board onto the tray. I'm considering using the cut-offs to make shingles that will fill in the gables---if I do that I'll use the wet saw to cut 'dog ear' corners