This week we attended a media event near Baltimore, Maryland courtesy of Lenox to check out some of their cutting and drilling products up close. Three new products, in particular, filled the docket. These included Lenox Lazer CT & Demo CT carbide-tipped reciprocating saw blades, Speed Slot carbide-tipped hole saws, and new Lenox Vari-Bit step drill bits. These Lenox Carbide Blades, Step Drill Bits and Hole Saws mark some serious improvements over prior models.
First Up: National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF)
Before we jumped into direct hands-on with the tools, we visited the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) headquarters. There we saw some sobering memorials to fallen firefighters from the 1800s all the way to modern times.
For those of us who saw the Twin Towers fall, perhaps the most quieting moments came when we saw the “To Lift a Nation” monument sculpted by Stan Watts. It depicts the three firefighters who raised the flag at ground zero following the events of September 11, 2001. The depiction reads:
Three firemen raised a flag at ground zero in silent tribute to those brave firefighters who answered the call. This noble flag is raised permanently in honor of those heroes and all who serve this great nation. May God contibue to bless America.
Our tour wrapped up with Lenox presenting a check to the NFFF.
New Lenox Carbide Blades
Lenox Lazer CT Carbide-tipped Reciprocating Saw Blades
A rolling change has updated the Lenox Lazer CT Carbide Thick Metal Reciprocating Blades (which we reviewed back in May of 2018). The new Lazer CT Carbide-tipped thick metal recip blades are now rated to last 5 times longer than the model they replace (or 50X longer than 10 TPI Lenox bi-metal blades). Leno credits a new titanium-based coating on the blade and teeth with the upgraded performance.
The blades feature welded teeth with a custom carbide blend to reduce tooth loss while also reducing heat buildup. The 8 TPI teeth also have a titanium coating to make them even more wear-resistant. The goal is to keep them as sharp as possible for as long as possible.
Lenox tested the blades by cutting apart a small Plymouth hatchback.
We did our own demonstrations shortly thereafter using the blade to cut through B pillars, door hinges, and opening up the hatchback. Our friends @Toolaholic and @ToolPig had the most fun of the entire group running many of these tests while we snapped video and photos!
Lenox grinds the carbide teeth of these blades specifically to handle various materials, including stainless, cast iron, and of course steel.
Right away you notice the height of these blades and how thick Lenox made the base steel. As with any reciprocating saw blade, wobble and flexibility don’t help when you want a clean, straight cut. The geometry and rigidity of these blades help them cut more accurately. They’re almost 1/16-inch thick!
You can order these blades in single, 3-packs, and 5-packs in 4-, 6-, 9-, and 12-inch lengths.
Lenox Demo CT Carbide-tipped Recip Saw Blades
Anyone who’s done a lot of demo work knows that carbide teeth change the game. The new Lenox Demo CT Carbide-tipped recip saw blades add welded carbide blades and some new blade geometry for even better cutting than their prior blades. Lenox again claims up to 50 times more life—this time comparing them to their 6 TPI bi-metal recip saw blades when cutting wood with nails.
We’ve recently seen these blades in action, and they sliced through a sandwich of 2×10, OSB, peel-and-stick, nails, and doubled-up architectural shingles with very little difficulty.
Lenox Speed Slot Carbide-tipped Hole Saws
Lenox Speed Slot hole saws have existed for more than 8 years, but the company keeps tweaking the products and adding options. New Lenox Speed Slot carbide-tipped hole saws use carbide tips for quick drilling in wood, steel, stainless, cast iron, and more.
They feature an aggressive tooth design that’s welded to the cutting edge—not braised. These hole saws continue to feature the Speed Slot design that makes it simple to remove wood plugs. Lenox demoed the new 2-inch carbide-tipped hole saws on a sandwich of 2X lumber, nails, and stainless steel. The hole saw had to work hard, but got through the material—not many carbide hole saws can pull this off.
These Lenox hole saws come in various kits as well as individual SKUs with sizes from 11/16 to 6-inch diameters. Each blade also includes a recommended RPM for cutting through various materials.
Lenox Vari-Bit Step Drill Bits
The new Lenox Vari-bit step drill bits come impact-rated with a 1/4-inch hex shank. These bits target MEP (mechanical, electrical, and plumbing) users as well as general contractors for cutting pan decking, roofing, etc. They should also appeal to anyone involved in metal fabrication. Lenox designed these bits for drilling holes in steel, sheet metal, ducts, stainless, aluminum, copper, brass, plastics, and abrasives.
Two types of step bits exist in the market. You have premium coated bits made with cobalt steel and which often utilize dual flute spirals. Lenox chose not to focus on this range, choosing instead to target the standard uncoated step bit range. This gives these new bits a lower price point and more target users.
Basically, with these bits, Lenox put the priority on bit life and speed.
Based on industry surveys, Lenox determined users wanted three key things. This included compatibility with impact drivers, minimized drift, and a quick initial breakthrough of the bit into the material.
The new Power Drive tip geometry handles the initial penetration and minimizes drift. They also went ahead and utilized a dual flute geometry with laser etched sizes. We tested these bits out and found them to do what they said. You can set them in place fairly easily with some practice, and the tip penetrates metal very quickly. They also make xlean holes with very little to no burrs.
Lenox makes 9 individual bits up to 1-3/8 inches in size. Some have up to 13 steps. They also made two extensions including a standard (set screw) model and a quick-change version.
The new Lenox Vari-Bit step drill bits come in a variety of sizes as well as three trade-specific kits (two general-purpose kits and one for electricians).
Wrapping it Up
We look forward to getting these accessories in for further testing. In fact, we already have the new Laser CT reciprocating saw blades and have been doing some intensive testing that corroborates much of what we saw at this event. In the near future. we’ll release some additional articles and comparisons against similar products from Milwaukee Tool, Diablo, and others.