It’s always fun to get a new tool and put it into the hands of somebody who really knows how to use it. Last month we got to toss a Bosch SDS-Max demo hammer to our friend Tata, who works at Tiger Concrete and Screed (TCS), a concrete company based in Lakeland, Florida. Tata works with his seven brothers and they got to see the article. Needless to say, they were a little jealous. So this month we interviewed Sergio Aceves, Tata’s older brother on his use of the Hitachi H41MB SDS-max demolition hammer. We’re just trying to keep the peace, you know?
Pro Tool Reviews: That was some impressive wheelbarrow work there.
Sergio Aceves: Well…(smiling)…it has to get done.
PTR: I know we’re at a shopping mall, but what’s being done here? It looks like you’re adding on a new store.
Sergio: Yeah, we demoed an existing mall anchor—down to the dirt. There was some selective demo of nearby retail space as well. They’re going to rebuild it with a new Sports Authority and also add a new movie theater.
PTR: So what kind of work did TCS do for the new space?
Sergio: Part of rebuilding the new site involved digging and pouring new footers. Since the building used to end here, we had to pour concrete right next to the current footers. That will let us plant new steel and add on to the structure. And we also have to pour a new slab and mechanical pads. The movie theater is detached and self-standing, so it has lots of block construction and its own foundation work.
PTR: So we gave you this new Hitachi H41MB Demo Hammer to use. Is it the right size for this kind of work?
Sergio: Well, I was able to use it to chip away excess concrete and block leftover from the demo. A smaller chipping hammer like this is great for when a regular hammer can’t do the work. I also used it to clean around the outside edge of the old floor, since it connects to the new foundation.
PTR: Did you use the H41MB on anything else?
Sergio: Last week we took it to a Lowe’s in Tampa where we’re doing some work. We’re putting a trench drain into some existing concrete pavement to handle some puddling.
PTR: Puddling in Florida? You mean it actually rains here?
Sergio: (laughing) Oh man, drainage on concrete is a huge issue. [At Lowe’s] we saw cut two lines about 20 feet long and then used a larger demo hammer plus the Hitachi to chip out the concrete in between. It was around 6″ thick in that area. If it were over 6–8″ deep we probably would have gone with just the larger hammer, but the Hitachi helped us clean up the edges while the big hammer kept going. It really sped up the job.
PTR: What did you like about it in particular?
Sergio: It’s light, but it still puts out some good power. The trigger and lock are all in the same place and the vibration wasn’t bad. The bits go in easy, too, and you can move the handle around quick to get a better grip on the tool. You can also rotate the bit in the tool, like when you’re using a wider chisel. Most of the time we just move the tool, but sometimes you can’t, and so you just turn the bit in the shank.
PTR: How does this compare to other hammers you use?
Sergio: Well, we use a lot of bigger hammers—DeWalt, Bosch, Makita—and that’s good for the thicker pads we need to knock out. We also use a DeWalt 12 lb hammer, which I think is a bit heavier and longer than this one. I actually like Hitachi’s handle, because it comes right off the shaft. The smaller DeWalt we use has a smoother D-shaped handle. I think the Hitachi feels better when you have to pick it up and move it around more, and the DeWalt is slightly more comfortable when you’re staying in one place. They’re both pretty good, though.
PTR: So you’d tell your friends to use this tool?
Sergio: For smaller work, yeah. It won’t replace a big hammer, but this is compact, so it’s easy to pull off your truck when you don’t need the bigger tool.
PTR: You’re going to give that Hitachi back to us, right?
The speed and efficiency with which these tilt wall construction structures go up is mind-blowing. It’s so fast you might overlook it if you’re not involved in that kind of work. Having the right tools is why these storefronts and buildings can go up seemingly overnight. We’re really developing an appreciation for the guys who work hard to build this stuff. Thanks, Sergio.