The Fourth of the July came about a week early to suburban Baltimore.

One of the highlights of the first day of the DeWALT media event at Stanley Black & Decker University was seeing how a diamond-edge chop saw blade easily cut through metal and pipe (I took this photo before I became brave and tried the saw myself). Photo credit: Mike Miazga/Plumbing & Mechanical

My travels this time have taken me to an action-packed couple of days at the DeWALTmedia event held atStanley Black & Decker Universityin Towson, Md.

I say action-packed because DeWALT is rolling out a bevy of new products into the contractor marketplace and we’re getting a look at them. The fireworks reference comes via me getting up enough nerve to cut metal with a new DeWALT diamond-edge chop saw blade.

Once that chop saw blade laid into the metal, it was like a box of sparklers gone mad - sparks flying everywhere. The sparks from the cutting, I will admit, stung a minute amount on exposed skin, but the thrill of a mechanical neophyte cutting through that metal in no time quickly dulled any thought of the my arm being a runway for landing embers (there was no actual danger; proper instruction was given and safety goggles and earplugs were used).

This hands-on station was a major hit during the first day of the event, even for this tool slacker. I must admit, I have never been confident in handling any type of saws. I told the story to several contemporaries here that my trepidation stems from seeing a kid in high school get his flannel shirt sleeve sucked into a power saw, resulting in one of his arms getting chewed up and him getting a free ride to the hospital for stitches.

But between being egged on to give it a try and the natural curiosity of seeing how these new tools performed, I pushed aside said saw fear and took a stab at operating a number of different models. Of course, I made a fool out of myself by getting one of the impact hole saws stuck in the wood. Seems my saw had veered off the cutting line-much like my scissors veering off a straight line on the paper in grade school.

Saws and saw blades were far from the only new attractions revealed. Plumbing and mechanical contractors will enjoy DeWALT’s new metal-cutting recip blade, which is touted as having two times longer cutting life. That was demonstrated with this neat-looking basketball shot clock-type apparatus that timed how long it took to cut through a piece of pipe.

A number of new impact-ready accessories were also on display, including an impact clutch holder and impact-ready drill bits. It’s no secret things such as time, weight and ease of use are major hot-button tool topics for contractors. These new products, which endured a thorough testing regimen (including input from end users), address all of those needs/concerns.

From my visits to DeWALT the last two years, I have quickly learned everything done in the company is thorough. That’s why 500 sales and marketing folks are trained in the very facility I’m currently at and why we are one of about 1,500 meetings that occur on the grounds of SBDU each year. And that’s why sparks flew and metal was cut through in an efficient, safe and quality manner.

I’ll wrap things up from Towson in my next installment with a look at the new DeWALT 20-Volt MAX line and some other new power tools.

Check out Mike’s second day at the DeWALT media event here.