In 2015, over 594,000 people in the UK spent more than £4,000 on a fitted kitchen. Here John Cove, marketing manager at power tool accessories and hand tool specialist, Starrett, explains how contractors can make the most of the boom.
Homeowners are increasingly prioritising the kitchen over other areas of the home due to the rising popularity of open plan living and multifunctional spaces. With such a rise in demand, kitchen installers are increasingly faced with challenging design requirements and materials that can often feel like an impossible jigsaw puzzle. Choosing the right jigsaw blade can be the missing piece that ultimately improves installation methods and quality of finish.
Because the current industry trend for sleek, minimalist and
contemporary kitchens shows no sign of slowing down, kitchen contractors and installers are being faced with an ever-expanding range of materials. Wood, metal, plastic, ceramics, stone and fibreglass are all common parts of a homeowner’s design requirements, making the need for high quality power tools and accessories greater than ever.
While jigsaws are amongst the most popular power tools used by kitchen fitters, due to the tool's resilience and powerful performance, frequent chipping of coated surfaces, including worktops and kitchen shelving, is a common problem for installers. Innovative technologies and materials, including Starrett’s patented bimetal material and Dual Cut blades, provide the perfect solution for multipurpose cutting that creates the highest quality finishes in the easiest way possible.
Tool manufacturers have for decades used bimetal materials — the layering of one type of metal on top of another — in the manufacture of saw blades for a wide range of industries. Bimetal fulfills a wide range of installation requirements by taking advantage of the flexibility of both hard and soft materials.
Starrett’s bimetal unique technology is a patented process which takes the production of bimetal material to a new level. Benefits for installers include much stronger teeth, improved heat resistance and greater blade life, when compared against competitive bimetal products.
No chipping to the edge of the cut
It is widely understood amongst installers that damage to the edge of the material being cut can be the bane of any installation. Because jigsaw blades are prone to chipping the coated surface of a material as the blade leaves the cut, many installers choose to cut from the underside of the material or cover the coating in masking tape in an attempt to combat this problem. This adds substantial time and risk to any job, in addition the rise in sleek kitchen designs has resulted in underneath edges often being left exposed as part of the interior style, meaning that chipping of the undersides of edging, shelving and other surfaces could be visible. In an attempt to combat chipping on the top surface, many jigsaw blade manufacturers offer blades with the teeth reversed so that the jigsaw cuts on the downstroke rather than the usual upstroke.
Although this might initially appear to be a solution, the design specification of the blade makes installer use difficult. The downcut positioning can cause the blades to cut off straight vertically due to the sheer pressure of the blades pushing away from the machine. Even though the cuts might slant by only a few millimetres, the installation of sinks and other appliances can become a significant problem.
To combat this issue, the Starrett BU310T jigsaw blade cuts as normal on the upward stroke of the machine but features ground teeth which create exceptional sharpness for a high profile finish. There is also no set on the teeth of the blade which limits further the potential for chipping of the surface coating. The result is a worktop cut straight, and cut from the top with a high quality, chip free surface finish.
Starrett’s bespoke Dual Cut jigsaw blades are uniquely developed to prevent the chipping of coated surfaces and slanting to create a polished finish on both sides of the material. The Dual Cut blade’s teeth are variable in size, with the spacing between the teeth also variable to prevent chipping on both sides, making it the ideal tool to cut shelf board and other similar materials.
As the teeth point toward the centre of the blade, rather than downwards like traditional blades, resistance, durability and productivity for straight, curved and complex contour cuts is much simpler and more straightforward.
As latest materials and aesthetics provide kitchen fitters with the opportunity to create installations that push traditional design boundaries, jigsaw blades that increase efficiency and reduce time scales provide the final piece of the puzzle for installers. The 594,000 people in the UK spending more than £4000 on a kitchen can sleep soundly, safe in the knowledge that the result will look every bit as good as they expect.