Saws prove their value at the highest level in Central Otago


Site saws have a tough life. Moving around and between building sites, by hand, via wheels, on trailers, utes, and generally just dragged around, they are seldom set up and left in one place.

Yet despite the treatment they get, just like any other tool on site, they’re expected to provide accurate results time after time.

Designed and built in Germany, Avola’s TZV315 meets the challenge. Avola has been making saws since 1938, and the TZV has features that are well suited to the New Zealand residential construction industry: a 315mm blade, 90mm cutting height and powerful 3hp motor.

A torsion-resistant, galvanised frame means the rigours of a building site are no problem, and options include a wheelkit or a large extension table which gives a full 1200mm rip capacity.

It’s a similar price to a good mitre saw except that on the Avola, crane hooks come as standard!

On the market in New Zealand for a couple of years now, Avola saws are becoming popular on building sites across the country, and nowhere less so than around Central Otago.

We visited two sites in the Queenstown area to ask why Avola has become their site saw of choice.

High above Lake Wakatipu about 45 minutes from Queenstown, local firm Smeaton Construction has been working on one of the area’s more exclusive builds.

At around 1000 sq m, and featuring more than 120 tonnes of exposed Macrocarpa in the roof structure, the house is at the top end of residential building in New Zealand — a category that Smeaton Construction is very familiar with, in addition to its commercial work.

With up to 15 staff on site at a time, the isolated hillside location and the extremes of the region’s weather to contend with, manager John Smeaton is well aware of the importance of good tools to undertake a build on this scale.

“The key to good work is having good saws,” he says. And he should know — he expects to wear out two drop saws on each job. But the Avola is different.

“It works well because it’s simple, and powerful,” he says. “It’ll rip a 4 x 2, a piece of cake. It gets more use than many of the machines because it’s always ready to go, and easy to use.

“We use it a lot for day-to-day general cutting, and particularly ripping material down for a lot of the decorative timber work inside.”

Given the complexity of the work Mr Smeaton and his team are undertaking on site, it’s easy to see why the simplicity of the Avola is so appealing. Just beside the site saw sits a thick pile of plans and revisions for a partially-constructed fireplace.

“There are a few parts of the build that aren’t quite finalised,” Mr Smeaton says, “and that does make things a little tricky at times.”

Also near Queenstown, another local builder with a strong reputation for high-end residential houses is busy at a site on a private estate near Frankton.

Trevor Ward and his team are building a 600 sq m residence on a site that features an orchard, a lake, and not one but two Avola saws.

“We bought the Avola mainly for ripping,” site foreman Gary Burnett says. “I’ve got an old Scheppach TKU which I’d bring in when required, but we needed something with a bit more grunt.

“The Avola copes really well with all the hardwood we work with, including lots of ripping, and at all manner of angles.”

With a team of up to nine staff and work coming via architects and referrals, there are times when Trevor’s team is working two sites at once, hence the need for a second saw.

“On the second Avola we also bought the extension table,” Mr Ward says. “It’s handy for panel work — and rips down a sheet nicely.

“It’s safe too,” Mr Burnett adds. “It’s got a good solid guard.”

Despite the stuttering worldwide economy, there’s no shortage of people who want to build luxury houses in the Queenstown region.

Satisfying the expectations of these clients requires competence, hard work and the right tools for the job. Just as their Avola site saw will provide quality and accuracy whenever they use it, Smeaton Construction and Trevor Ward Builders continue to provide building excellence, time after time.

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