Kelly Vincent, of Kelly Electrics, tests out the Makita SG1251 Wall Chaser.
Over the years that I’ve worked in the electrical industry, wall chasing has always been one of those areas where I’ve weighed up the benefits of purchasing a specialist tool (which can often be pricey) and generally come to the decision that I’d utilise my hammer drill instead.
When PE got in contact to let me know that I could trial Makita’s SG1251 Wall Chaser for the magazine, I now had the chance to see for myself whether the investment really is worth it.
Easy to use
I should start by saying that a rare occurrence took place upon delivery of this new tool: I actually read a manual from front to back! This was a sensible decision as the step-by-step instructions are well laid-out and really helped with my understanding of this newest member of my toolkit.
In no time I was able to unlock the cover to set the width of the 125mm twin diamond blades. This process is aided by a simple spacer system for the blades – ranging from as small as 6mm up to 30mm wide with 3mm increments.
Before putting the tool through its paces I was already impressed (and surprised) by how lightweight it was – especially as I’d received many warnings from other sparks about how bulky and heavy traditional wall chasers can be to use. Apparently this is some of the reason why many still use the old hammer and bolster routine, believe it or not!
In the case of the SG1251 Wall Chaser, I was able to hold the weight of the unit in one hand quite comfortably, while the front handle (which is also adjustable) meant I could take control of the equipment with a secure feeling that it wasn’t going to slip out of my hands.
With my dust extractor firmly attached I started the motor and immediately noticed the soft start, which allowed my body to ease into the noise and vibration. When you consider what a powerful piece of equipment this is, the noise was nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be (I was expecting the shrieking sound of a grinder) and I was able to use it comfortably without irritation.
Using the notch on the base of the chaser to align with my cutting line, I very easily chased out a channel for my light switch in double quick time and was over the moon at how straight, accurate and tidy it was! And, because of the enclosed guard design, the dust was minimal as well – we filled a whole vacuum bag of dust after 10 chases of around 1.5m each.
Neatly does it
The cut was so neat – all it took was a little chiselling out to knock out the centre and I was left with a professional and beautiful straight channel to run my cables in – all in less than half the time it usually takes me to chase out a channel using my SDS hammer drill. The product has since gone on to become an essential part of my toolbox, with excellent results on a multitude of tasks.
If I could make one improvement then I’d have preferred a keyless locking system for the cover to be able to adjust the groove width, as this was something that you might need to do frequently if you encounter different sized chases throughout the job you’re working on. Changing the depth of the chase was easier – loosening the clamping screw and adjusting the pointer before tightening the clamp was all it took, and you can set the grooving depth to anything between 0 and 30mm.
After prolonged use of this new Makita Wall Chaser I’m now wondering what on earth I was thinking by using a hammer drill for chasing all of these years. If, like me, you’ve been deliberating over whether to invest in a tool like this, I can safely say that it will end up being money well spent!