K-12: Inboard vs Outboard

I would think it’s safe to say that practically every truck company in the US carries a K-12, whether Partner, Stihl, or Husqvarna. Departments without dedicated trucks often carry these versatile saws on their engines. Obviously we also find them on squads and heavy rescue companies.

They are a great tool to have and if you’re lucky you have at least two. There’s a lot that can be discussed about these saws, not only blade position but the type of blade to run.

With regards to blade position, most saws can be mounted in board ( blade in front of engine) or out board (blade to side of saw). There is a reason for each.

In board is how you typically find these cut off saws. When being used for concrete or for ventilation this is the ideal position to have the blade. It provides the most stability and minimizes the gyroscopic effect when bringing the saw to full RPM.

If your saw is to be used for forcible entry, out board is the position of choice and best suited for the task. With an outboard blade, you will have better access to cutting carriage bolts on drop bars, shaving carriage bolt heads on drop bars mounted with steel plates between the bolt head and skin of the door. It will also allow better access to cut hinges, cut mortise deadbolts if through the lock has failed or is not an option, and allow the blade to get close enough to the ground to go underneath the door to cut pins at the bottom of the door.

Below you will find photos of some K970s in both positions. Look carefully to see angle of approach for both positions when taking hinges or floor pins. Also notice how close you can get to the carriage bolt heads to shave them off next to the steel plate.

If you only have one saw, you must decide which configuration best suits your needs. Do you vent more or use it for forcible entry??  An outboard K-12 can be used for venting so keep that in mind.