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Southwire Bi

May 21, 2023May 21, 2023

Southwire has some new cutting tools, including a bi-metal hole saw kit that's designed for fast cutting of metals like steel, aluminum, and brass as well as wood, plastic, and drywall. The kit includes 6 different hole saws ranging in size from 7/8-inch to 2-1/2 inches, and there are two mandrels including a 3/8-inch quick change model that's very similar to what we’ve seen in the Lenox Speed Slot hole saws. I like the deeper thickness of the back plate on these, however—you can get a better grip on the mandrel when releasing it from the hole saw. The Southwire Bi-Metal holesaw kit BMHSKIT9 is just the latest product from this company to hit the market. Based on recent acquisitions and products announcements, I’d say this is just the start. To give you an idea, products like Yellow Jacket extension cords and the Coleman Cable LED power light are now part of the family.

Hole saws are a very common tool, so you get used to looking for the differentiating factors that help each product stand out. Aside from their coloring, the mandrels really made an impression, and their hardened steel composition should make for an extremely durable product that won't break or even cross-thread after years of use. The hole saw teeth are pretty standard, but aggressive, so they’ll cut quickly through both wood and steel. Speaking of the mandrel, it uses large pin locks to drive the hole saw without forcing it to thread so fully onto the mandrel that you can't get it off again. Over-tightening is a huge issue with hole saws, and we’re really enjoying the many solutions coming to market to help you remove the hole saws more quickly and easily. Many a Pro has cursed his hole saws when he had to reach for a pipe wrench to get it off the mandrel. This solution just works.

The drill bits on the 3/8-inch mandrels are split tip, so they won't walk on you. We found them to be really fast when drilling through plaster and into wood—they’ll do equally well on steel. About the only negative on the Southwire Bi-Metal holes kit is the use of really thin access ports for plug removal. The upside, of course, is that the quick release mandrels let you pull out the drill bit and eject the plug from behind (using the bit).

We got a chance to experience the Southwire Bi-Metal holes kit when we mounted a television in a local church. While not exactly a test of cutting prowess, the saw did manage to plunge through about 1-1/4 inches of plaster, lathe, and drywall to run our cables.

The 1-1/8 inch hole saw cut cleanly through the material so quickly, our main photo was blurry—I barely had enough time to click the shutter! The split tip on the included drill bits are as nice in actual use as they are in theory. They stay where you put them, and that should be the case with either metal or wood. We’re looking forward to using these hole saws on more and more projects, but for now we’re anticipating these are going to continue to perform very well for general use.