Safe, effective and modern welding with Morris Site Machinery

IT WAS BY kind invitation of Richard Denholm, Sales Director at Morris Site Machinery, that ToolBusiness + Hire came to Four Ashes near Wolverhampton to find out a lot more about the market, machines and expertise that are required in the world of welding –particularly hire welding.

Richard is what is called an ‘acknowledged expert’ in welding, having many years’ experience in the art - as well as working in executive positions in the industry, WRITES PETER BRETT.

It All Started Many Years Ago…

The art of fusing or welding metals was first known about in the Bronze Age as far as we can tell, and even today modern blacksmiths use a very high temperature to hammer fuse steel. 

The makers of Samurai swords and damascus steel used the skill of fusing metals to make high quality blades. But it was only in the 1890s that thermite welding became common. 

The oxy-acetylene process was discovered by Edmund Davey in 1836, but only became a viable welding method with the invention of a suitable torch in 1900.  

Since then several further methods of welding, including electric arc welding, have been developed. During World War II, for example, it was a quick and effective way of fabricating steel products without having to rivet steel plates together, as in the old days of shipbuilding. 

And it was a skill women seemed to be particularly good at, which helped save our bacon during those stressful times.

Further developments in electric arc welding took us into the realms of gas shielded welding and ultimately to the stick, MIG and TIG welders we most often use these days. 

As usual, it took some years before Health and Safety caught up with welding practices on the ground. Apparently, it was not uncommon for welders to be electrocuted by badly insulated welding machines. 

It was also not uncommon for welders to drink a pint of milk a day, in the belief that it would neutralise the toxins they were ingesting while welding. A faint hope, I think. 

Today, simple welding is accomplished using stick welding or MMA (Manual Metal Arc) welding. This is safe and simple welding within the skill level of DIYers, and is now increasingly catered for by machines costing as little as £100.

More advanced skills are needed for both MIG and TIG welding – both of these use a gas shielding of the welding arc, to create the strong and sealed welds needed for anything from food containers to battleships and submarines.

Modern welding machines have been made smaller and lighter due to the invention of inverter technology. 

Instead of using very heavy transformers to convert to the high currents needed to melt metals, inverters can be lighter and use advanced electronics to help manage welds by monitoring the electrical input and skills of the welder – thus making better welders and welds.

Modern welders are also blessed with a wide and effective range of safety gear including smart helmets, gauntlets and breathing masks needed for some processes.

MSM has linked with Jefferson to market its range of tools and safety gear for welding. Keenly priced, it is of serviceable quality, and appeals to casual hiring welders as well as professionals.

The Morris Site Machinery View

With all of the above knowledge and experience, Richard told me that MSM has had a 35-year long connection with ArcGen welders. 

These are made in Japan and although they are not the cheapest, many are still being used regularly after twenty years. Indeed, we saw some of these machines in the workshop being refurbished into ‘as new’ condition. 

The ArcGen machines have proved to be tough enough to withstand the rigours of the hire market where they are not only exposed to the British climate, but also the tender ministrations of their hirers. 

They are combined with the compatible power units that are used on site, shipbuilding and petro-chemical industries. 

The ArcGen Cobra 5000i Multi Process Inverter, which was recently included in MSM’s range of welders, is a multi-process inverter that will tackle TIG and MIG welding. 

As well as being available in multiples, the welder is suitable for heavy construction as well as hire. And when you have a Cobra, you also need the Adder – a portable wire feeder unit built into a strong plastic case designed to withstand damp conditions.  

To partner the ArcGen welders are the ArcGen Weldmaker Generators. Mounted on trailers and fully featured including auto engine shutdown and quiet operation, they are perfectly matched to ArcGen welders for peak efficiency. 

Service, Hire and Sales in a comprehensive package 

While at Four Ashes, Richard took us on a lightning tour of the premises, so we could get more of a flavour of the services and equipment that enable MSM to provide a comprehensive service to its hirers and equipment purchasers.  

There are sections devoted to repairs and servicing of everything from welders to pumps, and generators and pressure washers. Since much of the hire market is seasonally driven, there are peaks and troughs of machines and equipment that are in high or low demand.  

There are also production lines making up machines to meet orders placed. A small caravan of trailer generators was being assembled in one of the workshop areas, and would be ready for shipping in only a few days.  

Outside in the yard were hundreds of lighting towers – now not much in demand for hire in the lighter and longer days of spring and summer. But come October and the clocks going back, most will be hired out, lighting worksites again.  

Morris Site Machinery prides itself on listening to customers and being relentlessly customer focused. 

I think it is very interesting that the company has not chosen the ‘cheap and cheerful’ solution to hiring and selling machines of all kinds, but instead have chosen to focus on quality, value and efficiency rather than on ‘bottom line’ pricing. 

In the longer run MSM believes that this formula is more sustainable, and better value for money because higher quality machines perform better, last longer and are therefore ‘greener’ than so called cheaper solutions. 

The old adage that you get what you pay for, clearly applies here too.

 

www.morrismachinery.co.uk

 

Paslode IM360Ci –Don’t Give Up the Gas!

I ALWAYS think that cordless nailers are a bit like wrestlers – beefy, but they also pack a big punch, WRITES PETER BRETT.

Paslode nailers are legendary in the building industry, not only for packing the punch, but also for being a leading brand.  

In fact, I have often heard builders refer to any nailer as a Paslode, because it has become a generic term – like people referring to hoovers, rather than vacuum cleaners.

The new-ish Paslode IM360Ci was designed to be different and address a few of the problems that plague gas nailers.

These include low temperature performance, battery and fuel life, and general ease of use involving loading nails to clearing stoppages.

Problem solved? 

Builders have often told me they have had to start a winter working day by having to cuddle a few batteries in their jacket pockets - so they are ready to load into a nailer. 

Well, this problem has definitely been solved. During this tool’s development phase Paslode used it in working temperatures of -25C in Northern Europe/Scandinavia, without having to do any warming of batteries or fuel cells.  

I tried my best to replicate this by placing the nailer in the freezer overnight at a temperature of –15C - only to succeed in getting a layer of frost over the battery terminals. 

But with the frost removed, the tool worked to full capacity within a very short time. So, a large tick in that particular box. 

Battery life? Well again, this is a problem that Paslode seem to have solved – and with knobs on!  

In the spec it said the battery would power up to 13,000 shots on one charge. For any user that is a lot of nails.  

I had a team of users on a building site who tested out the tool for four days without recharging the battery.  

I felt there was a danger they would run out of power, simply because there was such a large amount of time between charges that they might forget to recharge - despite warning light indicators of gas and charge.  

They made the weak excuse that the indicator light needed to be brighter and more obvious! 

What users also liked a lot in the new design of nailer was the removable nail magazine cover. You simply unscrewed it via a black knob on the rear of the nail magazine.  

Flip up the cover, and the inner workings of the nail magazine are revealed all the way to the nose (it goes without saying the nailer is effectively stopped by moving the battery to the off’ position in its slot). 

From here, it is very easy to remove any nails that might be causing a blockage.  

The safety gains are excellent here, because it means you don’t have to start fiddling into the nose with a spare nail to access anything stuck in there.  

A Few Things…   

Although Paslode have solved a lot of the usability issues with batteries and stoppages, my team of testers managed to find a few things that bugged them.  

Firstly, the reversible rafter hook worked well in one position, but not on the opposite side because the gap on it became too small to hang it on a rafter.  

One team member commented he would simply bend the hook into compliance – not an option on a test tool, I think.  

The other gripe was an esoteric one from a well-seasoned Paslode user of 20 years standing.  

He didn’t like the new position of the battery and gas cell, because it made it bulkier on the right of the tool and prevented it from going as close to the work as on the left-hand side.  

Others said it made no real difference to the way in which they handled the tool, and it certainly had a positive effect on the tool's centre of gravity.  

However, when it came to weight, the team was impressed that the power to weight ratio (so to speak) was excellent. The way the nailer drove all types of nails was emphatic and no nonsense – doing just what a nailer should do.  

The weight of nailers is definitely an issue for some users – especially those that work overhead a lot, and it is this area that gas nailers still have a significant advantage over battery only nailers.  

Another definite ‘Yes’ point was the five-pointed nose probe, that gave very positive grip into the timber surface at whatever angle the nailer was presented. This was considered a very good safety feature.  

Setting the depth of the nails was another plus which was picked out by users. They all commented on how easy it was to do, and it stayed set. If you need to regularly change nail sizes then life is definitely easier.

When it comes to speed, the nailer could be fired as fast as the trigger could be pulled, and the nose placed where the next nail was needed - so no complaints there! 

The seasoned Paslode user complained about the price of the roundheaded nails that had to be used in it, and that might be an issue which could prevent user uptake.  

However, as I recently discovered, the IM360Ci can be used to fire Nailscrews – a good idea from Paslode, aimed mostly at cladding specialists.  

The round-headed screws fire like nails for a good fixing, but can be removed by simply unscrewing them via the Torx head on the Nailscrew. Unfortunately, the idea of Nailscrews doesn’t fit well with clipped head nails, so it becomes a matter of choice of solutions for the end user. 

Conclusions 

There is no doubt the Paslode IM360Ci is a well-designed tool, that does what it should do without fuss and also solves a lot of issues like low temperature performance, and clearing stoppages easily.  

It will not only be bought by ‘Paslodeers,’ but may also convert others to the gas-power faith as gas technology gives greater power and drivability.  

However I haven’t been living in a box, so I am aware there is some new technology out there for nailers – like nailers which use standard battery power only and with no gas involved.  

At this moment in time, I think it is too early to plump for one or the other as neither technology has all the answers.  

But I do think there is no immediate danger of gas power being replaced – as this sophisticated nailer proves.

www.itwcp.co.uk 

The Solid Gear VENT safety shoe – precision safety and comfort

SOLID Gear continues to modernise safety footwear with the revolutionary ‘In­finity’ technology in this new shoe.

Combining a lightweight athletic look with maximum breathability and superb safety features, the new VENT safety shoe is ideal for workers who are constantly on the move.

VENT’s upper is made from lightweight mesh combined with Cordura and a TPU reinforcement to ensure cool comfort, maximum breathability, and enhanced durability.

While the shoe’s two midsoles deliver stability, ‑ flexibility and optimal energy return for enhanced comfort on your feet, the rubber outsole provides a high level of anti-slip protection.

For added protection, the shoe’s NANO toe cap is 40% stronger than fiberglass and has a more athletic look that conventional metallic ones. What’s more, the BOA fastening system provides ‑ flexibility and high precision adjustment of the shoe.

So get to know more about the quality and innovation, plus the top class safety functionality in every Solid Gear product – your feet will notice the difference.

To get more information on Solid Gear - the Next Generation of Safety Footwear - call the Helpline or visit the website: 01484 854788

www.solidgearfootwear.com

Snickers Will Stretch Your Visibility

A SUPERIOR Range of Hi Vis Working Clothes – for all kinds of light conditions. Snickers Workwear takes personal protection very seriously.

That’s why this new range of cool and functional Hi-Vis summer clothing is streets ahead of anything else.

With an extensive range of jackets, trousers, shorts, toolvests, shirts and ‑ fleeces from Snickers’ LITEWork, FLEXIWork and ALLROUNDWORK families, there’s a host of different garments in the range to satisfy the specific requirements of Classes 1, 2 and 3 protection levels.

These ‘outstanding’ products combine Snickers’ unrivalled hallmarks of functionality and comfort with the requirements of the EN471 standard for high visibility warning clothes.

WILL LAST AFTER WASH

With advanced designs and high-tech fabrics, all the garments have durable, colour-fast protection that will last wash after wash, retaining shape and comfort throughout the life of the garments.

Added to which, all Snickers Hi Vis garments can be custom-pro led to ensure ‘stand out’ coverage for your corporate brand.

Getting more information on the Snickers Workwear range of Hi Vis Workwear is easy. You call the helpline on 01484 854788.

Check out www.snickersworkwear.co.uk and download a digital catalogue.

 [email protected]

Four decades of Triton excellence continues

INDEPENDENT TOOL REVIEW BY PETER BRETT

IT MAY have crept up on some people – it certainly did on me – that Triton are celebrating 40 years of woodworking and woodworking tools. 
And in the spirit of the original Australian brand, the new ranges of tools are no-nonsense, practical and usable - thus bringing woodworking to the range of users who want to get on with making things, but don’t necessarily have the time, place or inclination to learn esoteric techniques. 

Pocket Hole Jigs  
Jointing materials is at the heart of the skill of making things. Even at school I was told there were ‘good’ joints like mortise and tenons, or dovetails that were ‘better’ than simple lap joints.  

But things have changed dramatically. Screw technology and cordless drill drivers have made simple screw joints strong, and practical solutions for jointing. 

New and widely available materials like MDF and OSB are cheaper and more suitable to modern application, and can be easily cut and shaped with hand tools, or an increasingly available range of cordless tools. 

So, enter the Triton range of pocket hole jigs – a range of jigs to suit every budget from the single user to the professional. 

How Pocket Hole Jigs Work  
Carpenters use skew nailing all the time – hammering a nail in at an angle in one piece of timber to join with another. Pocket holing is like skew nailing, but with the built-in strength and accuracy of using jigs to ensure accurate and strong results every time - something that skew nailing doesn’t always do, even for skilled carpenters.  

At a cost of just £14.99, the Triton Single Mini Pocket-Hole Jig comes with the all-important drill bit, driver bit a depth stop, 20 large head screws, and 10 plug dowels. 

The instruction booklet includes a few simple sketches to help users set up the jig correctly to take account of the thickness of the materials being joined, and the necessity of setting the depth collar on the drill bit to get the screws to be firmly driven into the receiving material.  

What is noticeable is the jig is solidly made in a glassfibre/nylon material which is rigid and strong, and will clearly take a bit of punishment. The driver bit hole for drilling the pocket is lined with a steel insert to ensure accurate drilling for the life of the jig. 

Making a series of single pocket holes in boards may take a bit of time setting each one up, but it is still a cost-effective way of making strong joints. 
 

More Complicated 
For those users who might want to join stretchers on tables and stools for example, the Double Mini Pocket-Hole Jig will be worth the cost of £24.99, because it will save a lot of extra setting out – you get two screw joints for each set-up. 

But if you only need a single pocket then that is possible too. The same number of screws etc, as the single jig, are included here too.  

I was more at home with this jig. I found it easier to clamp than the single jig, as it had more clamping area. 

 
For the 'More Expert' 
The more experienced user might want to consider spending £29.99 on an adjustable Pocket-Hole Jig. This offers users the possibility of adjusting the distance between pocket holes, to take account of different widths of timber. 

This can be very useful in avoiding imperfections in timber, as well as allowing the user to space screw joints where they would be more efficient in the construction. 

Reflecting its ‘higher status,’ the jig is made in cast alloy for strength and durability. The space settings are tightened with an included hex key and can be set in metric or imperial measurements. 

Screws, cover dowels, drill bit, depth collar and driver bit are all included. 

Professional Stuff… 
Professionals using pocket hole jointing techniques need the convenience of a speedy set up, and robust and reliable jigs that will take a bit of a hammering when flung into a toolbox or the back of a van. 

Here the choice is between two kits – the 7-Piece at £59.99 and the 8-Piece at £69.99. The sets are the same, but the bigger set includes a very handy wide-mouthed clamp that is excellent for clamping the workpiece securely.  

At the launch of these jigs the Triton Team cleverly engineered a situation where we  press reviewers were encouraged to make a simple frame using pocket holes. 

A brilliant idea, because the process of getting ‘hands-on’ is a key to understanding how the jigs work. 

With a few minutes of explanation we were given some ply, some tools, and some jigs then guided through the process. I have to admit that using the professional jig with a built-in workpiece clamp, makes life a lot easier - because it is simple to adjust and simple to operate. 

This makes for a minimal setting up time and is something professionals need. What also became clear to me is that the jigs are strong and well-made, and will last for years even in a professional trade environment.  

It is also handy the jigs can be screwed to a sub-base that could be held on a portable worktable, or workbench. The jig is much easier to use when the pieces to be jointed are not moving the jig.  

What I learned from the exercise is jigs make the process of pocket hole jointing quite easy, but following instructions and accurate lining up of materials is crucial to getting the perfect joint. But even the non-perfect joints were still strong enough to be serviceable.  

It is good to see Triton has full confidence in the pocket-hole range of jigs, because they all come with a three-year guarantee.

Of course, product users will also need to top up on screws and plug dowels, and they are freely available online and in regular Triton stockists.

www.tritontools.com

Our advertising deals are so generous the boss is going crazy

ToolBUSINESS + HIRE Magazine is under new ownership and the UK and Ireland’s number one hire and tool magazine is marking the occasion with an unbeatable advertising offer.

We’ve got quarter, half and full-page deals at irresistible rates which are nailed on to add a few zeros to your company’s turnover.

We’re also offering massive extra discounts for schedules of three months or above, and the kind of online-only deals which will never be repeated.

We’re already taking advertising bookings for our packed October edition, but there’s still time to grab a prime slot if you get in touch now. Our shiny new sales rep Josh is sitting in the lotus position by his phone, just waiting for your call.

Don’t just take our word for it. Advertising in our monthly magazine produces consistent results for major companies such as WIHA, HiKOKI, and Draper Tools.

If your budget is tighter than an over-torqued bolt, we’ve also a range of less-expensive but equally effective classified options. These are great for selling unwanted kit, one-off items, or perhaps advertising a vacancy.

You might also take a fancy to an online-only option such as an email campaign, A4 insert, banner slot, or perhaps even a website takeover – but need some free advice from a professional.

Look no further – our newly installed team of marketing gurus are already pounding their keyboards in a darkened room and waiting for your call.

They’ll advise you on layouts, campaign frequency and costs, and can even design everything for you – provided you ask them nicely.

So give Josh at ToolBUSINESS + HIRE Magazine a call on 0800 6906808.

Alternatively, fire over an email to [email protected] and we’ll get back to you with a range of brilliant cost-effective options.

Company that featured in last month's magazine got fast results

Greater Manchester-based company Ostia Tools featured in July/August’s edition of ToolBusiness + Hire Magazine in a profile showing how the company recycled, revamped and resold old tool equipment – alleviating waste going to landfill.

Afterwards Ostia director Antony Cox, contacted us to tell us about the hugely positive response he received from the company feature within the magazine.

He said: “The article gives a good representation of our business. I am very grateful for the opportunity you have given us by including Ostia Tools in the magazine.

“I’ve received calls from people who even saw the article a few days before we had received our copy, so it was a pleasant surprise. People were really impressed with our business idea, especially that we try to get the equipment back into the schools.

“I was even contacted by the leading suppliers of Design Technology equipment, tools & materials to schools, colleges and education.

“This enquiry was a direct result of being impressed with our company, and we have now been asked to work alongside this industry leader to remove old equipment when new equipment is installed.

"We've had a fantastic result from the article - so thanks again.”

It just shows the power of featuring or advertising in the sector's number one magazine. So if you want to make a splash via advertising or through editorial content, call us now on:
0800 690 6808.

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