Cool Stuff At The LENOX Media Event
LENOX Media Event
LENOX Tools recently invited Construction Pro Tips to tour their plant in East Longmeadow, Massachusetts. Along with CPT, there was a mix of about a dozen traditional media types as well as YouTube and social media luminaries. They let us walk the factory floor and check out all the cool robots. And they gave us access to smart engineer types in their R&D facilities.
What was all the hoopla about? Jigsaw blades
LENOX gathered us together to announce their new generation of jigsaw blades. They recently invested millions of dollars into research and new equipment to improve their already top-notch jigsaw blade lineup. After the presentation they let us try them for ourselves.
LENOX wood-cutting blades
How do you improve a wood-cutting jigsaw blade? Creating a blade that cuts cleaner and lasts longer is a good place to start. LENOX did this by optimizing the angles of the cutting teeth. They also strengthened the tangs with a process called Power Blast, in which they blast the blade tangs (the non-cutting end) with tiny beads of ceramic, similar to sandblasting. The impact of the ceramic beads increases the density and strength of the metal without changing the dimension of the tang.
LENOX wood blade demonstration
The proof was in the laminate. They showed us how the new wood blades cut through three pieces of super-hard laminate flooring. Compared with the Bosch blades, the Lenox wood blades cut smoother and faster and produced less burning (lower stack).
LENOX metal-cutting blades
LENOX applied the same Power Blast technology to the tangs of their metal-cutting blades as well. They also borrowed the Power Arc feature from their line of reciprocating saw blades. Power Arc blades have a slight curve or arc. This arc changes the angle of attack on every stroke. Think about when you cut with a handsaw (not often anymore, I know). The saw cuts faster when you periodically change the angle of the saw in relation to the cutting surface. They did not introduce Power Arc into the wood-cutting jigsaw blades because the arc’s aggressive cut tends to leave a rougher cut. Rough cuts are typically not a problem with a recip saw blade, but most jigsaw blade users are looking for as little tear-out as possible.
LENOX metal-cutting blade demonstration
Several of our group tried out the blade by cutting through 3/16-in. steel flat stock. The LENOX blades cut consistently faster than the blades of its main competitor, Bosch. LENOX also claims that their blades will outlast Bosch blades by more than 7X.
LENOX factory floor
Mark Petersen listening to LENOX product | Construction Pro Tips
A few observations from the LENOX factory floor: First, the whole operation looked well run and organized. Second, whenever I take a factory tour, I always pay attention to the attitude and demeanor of the workers. I’ve been on a couple tours where the employees all looked absolutely miserable. That wasn’t the case in this LENOX plant. Most of the folks we came across were friendly and positive. Final observation: Robots are cool.
We also visited the part of the R&D facility where they use and abuse all of their blades. These big steel billets (photo below) will be used to test huge commercial band saw blades for a customer who makes solid train wheels. Always trying to improve.
Thank you, LENOX, for your generous hospitality and entertaining tour. And a shout-out to all the fellow tool geeks who were my mates for this LENOX event. It was a great group. Mark Petersen
Check out this story for more information on jigsaws and jigsaw blades.
In case you didn't know, LENOX has been making blades for more than 100 years. In 1915, the American Saw Company was founded by John Swanson, Carl Ericson and Carl Davis in Springfield, Massachusetts. On this date, 10 operators began to manufacture hacksaw blades under the trade name LENOX. The blades initially had unique packaging and were known as "The Blades in the Plaid Box." Today, LENOX manufactures a wide variety of blade types and tool accessories, many made in America. LENOX blades have long been considered a gold standard. The 10-member team has grown to more than 900, and LENOX now makes around 40,000 miles of blades every year. If you could stack all those blades together, they would circle the Earth and then some! LENOX is now part of the Stanley Black & Decker family of companies.