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John Bridge's Review of the Felker FHS-4 Tile Cutting Hand Saw

John P. Bridge   (9-4-2005)

Need a little wet saw to cut a little bit of tile? The Felker FHS-4 could be the saw for you. A small hand-held circular saw fitted with a 4-inch blade, The FHS-4 can cut through miles of tile if you have the time and the patience to guide it. Sure, a full-size portable wet saw will do the job in less than half the time, but dollar for dollar it's hard to beat this handy (and rather cute) little tool.

One of the weak points on similar saws that I have owned has been the water connection to the saw. All are purported to connect to a standard garden hose, but doing so inevitably pops the small tube out of the connector. So instead the saw has to be attached to a wet saw pump. The lower pressure allows water to flow into the saw without causing a tubing failure. It's a pain.

Not so with the FHS-4, which includes heavy-duty brass connections at the saw end of the tube and also where the tube attaches to the garden hose. Make the connection, turn the hose bib on at a trickle, and you're in business.

Anybody and any saw can cut a piece of ceramic tile. Trust me on that. However, we took things a bit farther while testing the FHS-4. I had occasion to build a block wall as an adjunct to a shower I was working on, and I needed a 45 degree turn on the end of the wall to accommodate an angled doorway. As a mud man I could have built up the end of the wall with mortar and fragments of concrete block, but that would have taken several sessions over the course of a couple days.

I decided to use the FHS-4 to cut the ends of some of the blocks at the desired angle. My helper, Albert Nelson did the cutting. He first cut several blocks in half. These would be used on alternating courses as the wall went up. We were not overly concerned with accuracy, as the end of the wall could be trued up with mortar.

It is necessary to cut in from both sides of the blocks, as the maximum depth of cut for the FHS-4 is slightly more than an inch. The saw, however, goes through the blocks effortlessly.

 

Once Albert had cut the required number of "halves," he proceeded to angle the ends of all the blocks that would be installed at the door opening. We needed to lay up 10 courses of eight-inch blocks, so angles had to be cut into 5 full blocks and 5 halves.

The first cut is made right at the outside corner of the block. It takes just a little experimentation to get the blade gauge lined up just right. Once you're set to go, though, it takes only about 30 seconds to make the cut. Don't try to force it. Let the saw do the work. The little motor has the capability.

Since the blocks are 3-1/2 inches thick, the second cut is made that distance in on the reverse side. You can see that the FHS-4 is throwing quite a bit of spray in all directions, but this is typical of all wet saws. If you were going to be doing something like this all day long you would probably want to wear your rain gear.

Nice work, eh? Cutting the ten blocks, including set-up time and additional time to stand and admire the Felker FHS-4, took about half an hour and saved us several hours of mud work in truing up the door opening.

The saw worked flawlessly, never bogging down at all. As I said earlier, you could do the job much more quickly on a larger tile saw or brick cutting saw, but not for the small price of the FHS-4 -- and it wouldn't be as much fun, either.

Here is the completed block wall looking from the angled end. The cuts are not perfect, but they are more than acceptable. We ultimately covered the inside of the wall with Schluter Kerdi membrane and tiled it along with the rest of the shower.

The Felker FHS-4 will soon be available in the Tile Your World Store for less than $100. Blade and carrying case are included. It's a steal.

 

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Copyright 2005 by John P. Bridge