We use rebar to reinforce concrete because it makes an incredibly strong structure. I would call it “tough as nails,” but rebar is, of course, tougher than nails. Since every job we do requires custom work, we have to fabricate that incredibly tough rebar on the jobsite. We need tools like the BN Products Cutting Edge Saw that are even tougher than rebar, and there are only a few of those around. Plus, cutting rebar usually winds up a messy, loud business.
Traditionally, we’ve used bolt cutters, hacksaws, chop saws with abrasive wheels, torches, angle grinders, and even circular saws. Each of those options can get the job done, but when choosing the best option, we have a few things to consider. How much muscle does the tool require? Does spark generation present a fire hazard? How much debris does a particular tool generate? How much noise? Are any of these methods the safest choice? Sure, all these methods work, but is there a better way?
The BN Products Cutting Edge Saw claims, emphatically, yes, there is a better option. And, their solution has even earned a 2011 World of Concrete Innovation Award to back up that claim. Supposedly, this saw cuts flush with a surface and doesn’t leave burs on the end of the rebar. Plus, since this saw uses a cold-cut blade, you shouldn’t have to worry about burning yourself on fresh-cut rebar.
On paper, the BN Products Cutting Edge Saw sounds like it might be the best rebar cutter for the job. But manufacturer claims and real-world performance can sometimes differ pretty drastically. As it happens, I’ve been working a job that requires a whole lot of rebar cutting. Basically, this job will put the saw through its paces, and I will be able to tell you if the Cutting Edge Saw actually is the best option for cutting rebar.
First things first, the Cutting Edge Saw has kind of a unique design. It resembles an angle grinder with a metal shroud, but it’s a good deal more stout. The shroud covers almost the entirety of a 24-tooth carbide blade which, in itself, also has an unusual design. The shroud has a 7/8″ X 7/8″ opening with some flexible flaps on the top of the shroud, to guide you cut and keep metal shards from flying upward toward your eyes.
One of the big selling points of this rebar cutter revolves around the ability to cut as flush as possible. As you can see, there’s the smallest bit of space between the blade guard and the cutting position of the blade. While it doesn’t cut 100% flush, the Cutting Edge Saw does give you the ability to cut off rebar nearly flush with the work surface. For all intents and purposes, that’s usually good enough. If you need to, you can always grind the 3/16″ that remains without too much hassle.
BN Products also includes a multi-positional auxiliary handle that can attach to the left, right, or top of the head. It’s possible to cut without the handle, but like a grinder, you want to maintain stability through the entire cut.
The blade spins at 2,000 RPM and cuts, rather than melts, the metal. When you use a blade that makes cold cuts, the material remains cool to the touch immediately after the cut. Plus, cold cutting blades won’t deform the end of the metal through heat generation.
Additionally, cooler cuts result in longer blade life. The company reports users are getting 400 or so cuts on Grade 60 rebar in the field. Replacement blades run $25 – $40, depending on where you shop.
I’ve been talking about the BN Products Cutting Edge Saw’s ability to cut rebar until now, but its capability extends to threaded rod, coil rod, EMT conduit, pipe, tubing, burglar bars, and so on.
One of the benefits of making cold cuts is that, in applications involving threaded rod, you can install a nut immediately after a cut.
From a safety perspective, the Cutting Edge Saw makes a lot of sense. First of all, a flush cut piece of rebar removes a lot of the risk of potential impalement on the job site.
Secondly, the blade shroud makes cutting yourself virtually impossible; the opening in the guard is small enough that you’d actually have to be trying to hurt yourself. Plus, the shroud collects a good amount of the metal waste, funneling it through the dust port. That means fewer metal shards for your eyeballs or other body parts to come in contact with.
Additionally, unlike abrasive wheels and torches, which leave your metal blazing hot, this cold-cutting Cutting Edge Saw doesn’t leave you at risk of burning yourself. As a matter of fact, you might not run the risk of burning anything. While using the saw, I saw almost zero sparks fly from the metal. That’s a favorable change from the shower of sparks, and the associated mess, that comes with other rebar-cutting methods.
Finally, and this seems like a really big deal for someone who has already had one rogue bur cut them down to the tendon, the cold-cutting Saw from BN Products won’t leave burs on the cut rebar. I have the scars to prove how welcome of a change this is.
The Bottom Line
I haven’t seen any rebar cutters that can handle cutting with nearly the ease and finesse of the BN Products Cutting Edge Saw. It creates cold cuts without burs, and can cut nearly flush to the work surface. It generates few, if any, sparks, And, though I haven’t mentioned it yet, this is one of the quieter options on the market when it comes to hacking through rebar. Most other tools can’t pull any of this off.
Of course, on those bigger jobs that require a lot of rebar cut to the same length, I’m still stuck bundling rebar together and cutting it all at once with a power cutter. However, for a single cut at a time, the Cutting Edge Saw is definitely the right tool for the job.
The Cutting Edge Saw has a solid, comfortable build. The low RPM and cold cut blade make for a high-quality cut, even if it is in a material where that might not be the highest priority. At $299, there might be cheaper options, but I doubt you’ll find something that works this well and doesn’t put you at great bodily risk. After finishing this project, my opinion hasn’t changed. I still can’t think of a better option for tackling rebar than the Cutting Edge Saw.
Well, unless you want to go cordless. In that case, Makita has a potent option with a nearly identical design.
BN Products Cutting Edge Saw Features
- 3-Position removable side handle
- Rotating trigger handle provides the operator with multiple cutting positions and increased maneuverability
- Cuts a variety of materials including rebar, all-thread rod, coil rod, EMT conduit, pipe, tubing, burglar bars and more
- Designed to cleanly cut the material FLUSH with the surface
- Unique flush-cutting blade guard greatly reduces blade exposure
- Double insulated power harness
- ETL/UL Certified & Listed
- Emits minimal cutting sparks
- Cut material is burr-free and cool to the touch
- One year warranty
- TCT Cutting Blades have a limited warranty
BN Products Cutting Edge Saw Specifications
- Model: BN Products BNCE-20
- Voltage: 120
- Amps: 9
- Watts: 1100
- Blade Size: 4.375 inches (110 mm)
- Blade Type: (2 ea.) Tungsten Carbide Tipped
- Number of Teeth (Blade): 24
- Kerf: 1.6 mm
- No Load RPM: 2,000
- Depth of Cut: 0.86″ (21.8 mm)
- Cord Length: 10 ft. (3 m)
- Tool Length: 20.3 inches (515 mm)
- Width: 5.5 inches (140 mm)
- Height: 3.9 inches (99 mm)
- Weight: 7.6 pounds (3.5 kg)
- Price: $294.99