Using a Saw Guide to Cut Cement Fiber Siding
Recently I was involved in building an Insulated Concrete Foam Block house with Cement Fiber siding.
The house was a tall single story with an attached 2 car garage and shaped like a B1 bomber. The center section of the house was taller than the wings. It had a flat roof with a 2/12 pitch and 2 foot eaves.
The exterior was designed to look like large blocks of stone 4 feet square, with a standard running bond pattern and 3/16″ joints. Where the roof extended over patios and entries the ceiling underneath was sheathed to match the pattern on the walls. Needless to say, we had a lot of trapezoids, triangles and nondescript geometric shapes to create.
With over 250 sheets of 4 x 8 siding panels to cut into various patterns we would need a cutting system that we could set up on site, make cuts quickly to keep up with the installers, and above all, be impervious to concrete dust. Most of the Track saws, Rail saws and Panel saws have moving parts, bearings or rails that work fine with wood dust in a shop. Concrete dust, however, has a tendency to reduce the life of these systems dramatically. In addition our project required we work outdoors in occasional rain with a steady bit of foot traffic to and from the adjoining Frisbee Park. We would need to set up and tear down our gear every day.
The saw guide we used is made by Pharoah. The way it works is, you cut the guide to fit your saw, and then you clamp the guide down on your layout points using spring clamps. Your saw rides on top of the guide. No surface scratching, minimal surface lifting and no need to snap layout lines.
With no moving parts we didn’t have to worry about mechanical failure, lubricating rails, bearings or checking tool accuracy. There was absolutely no maintenance time involved with the guide. Using the 4 foot and 8 foot guides, we were able to stage up a work area in a matter of minutes. The guides are made from recycled materials and are waterproof and weatherproof so clean up is just a matter of hosing them off with water.
With over 1,000 feet of cutting we were able to keep our production costs and set up time down to a fraction of what other systems would have been. The simplicity of these guides is what makes them function so well. For more information see our a demonstration video.