When cutting stone, porcelain, or other hard materials, it is important to choose the right blade. Just because a blade looks sharp and can cut through stone doesn’t mean it’s going to make your project easier. You can learn how to choose the right saw blade for your project today using this guide from TSC. Once you have the best blade for the job, you can experience more focus than frustration when cutting the workpiece.
Factors for Choosing Diamond Blades
So, what type of saw are you using for the project? Many saws are available, including bridge saws, stand-up masonry saws, wet tile saws, high-speed hand-held saws, walk-behind saws, hand-held grinders, electric hand-saws, and more. Suffice it to say that your options are quite vast, hence why a diligent shopping effort is essential.
You always need a blade compatible with your specific saw because these tools come in many forms. For example, a bridge saw is a large table saw that you can control either manually or via computer. On the other hand, a hand-held grinder is a more compact device that uses small-diameter blades, which usually don’t measure more than 6”.
Once you’ve decided on the machine, then these are the other factors that will come into play when choosing the correct diamond blade.
The next step toward finding the right saw blade is comparing it to the material you need to cut. For example, some saws specifically suit the task of cutting wood or metal, while others excel at slicing through stone. Bridge saw blades are specifically designed to be used on gantry saws that have large tables to hold stone slabs. At TSC, we carry a wide variety of bridge saw blades that complete clean cuts through materials, including man-made engineered stone, ultra-compact surfaces, granite, and more.
You also have to consider whether you’re cutting wet or dry. This detail is important because only some blades will work perfectly for both applications. If you don’t see wet or dry compatibility mentioned when looking at a saw blade for sale, don’t hesitate to reach out to the manufacturer for clarity. Finally, don’t forget to ask yourself an important question—what’s the rpm of the machine that the blade will be running on?
All of these factors must be carefully considered before choosing a blade. It may seem like a lot to consider, but these details should start feeling more natural as you match them to your workplace requirements. The blades are always manufactured for very specific applications. Even once you answer these questions, other needs require consideration.
Speed, Longevity, and Chipping
One of the needs you must consider is the speed of the cut you must achieve. The aforementioned hand-held grinder is the perfect tool for making quick cuts on your workpiece, so match it with a blade capable of slicing through the material at your preferred pace.
When figuring out how to choose the right saw blade for your project, you also have to explore the longevity of the blade. Do you want a blade with a long lifespan, or do you not plan to make it part of your regular toolkit? In addition, do you want to reduce chipping at the cut? There isn’t one straightforward answer in this situation, as a user’s needs vary widely depending on whether the saw operator is a professional or a homeowner handling a weekend project.
The Science of Diamond Blades
Diamond blades are more than an assortment of random metals and diamonds. The diamonds are man-made and can be of different sizes. The size of the diamonds on a blade is referred to as the mesh size. Diamonds also come in varying grades, which determine the overall quality of the diamond. Once the diamonds for the saw blade are finally chosen, they are mixed with powdered metals to create the diamond segment, or rim, on continuous rim blades. This complex mixture of metals and diamonds is called the bond.
This is important to understand when choosing saw blades because different mesh and bonds create different reactions when cutting materials. Although stone is a generally strong material, some are softer than others. You will need your blade’s bond to accommodate the material you’re cutting.
Very hard materials you can cut include granite, quartzite, and hard concrete. On the other hand, very soft materials in stonecutting include concrete blocks, marble, and limestone. You may assume that hard materials need a harder bond, but not quite. Harder materials require softer bonds for cutting, while softer materials usually need a harder bond and a higher diamond concentration. A critical detail to remember about softer bonds is that they wear faster than harder bonds, thus leading to a shorter lifespan.
The Two Main Types of Blades
When shopping for diamond blades, you will find two primary categories—segmented and continuous rim/turbo. In a segmented blade, the segments are always made separately from the core and then welded to the core.
This process uses higher heat and greater pressure. As a result, the segmented blades have better bonds and will last longer. However, while the bonds last longer, they will chip more when cutting the workpiece. You can use segmented blades for brick, concrete, granite, marble, or any projects where chipping is not a concern.
For a continuous rim/turbo blade design, the blades are put into molds that contain the core, and the powdered bond is carefully poured into the mold along the edge of the core.
Like segmented blades, the continuous rim blades are consistently baked at a high heat and high pressure. That said, the key difference here is that the heat and pressure used for continuous rim blades aren’t as high as they are for segmented designs. Due to this reduced heat and pressure, the integrity of the bond is not as strong on a continuous rim design.
The continuous rim blades do not last as long as segmented blades, but they have a smoother cut. You can use continuous rim/turbo blades for cutting porcelain, glass, most tile, ultra-compact surfaces, and fragile materials where chipping is unwanted.
Now that you know more about diamond saw blades, you can have an easier time re-stocking your toolkit. There is a lot to learn about these blades before shopping, but that quick education will only make your shopping and cutting experience more satisfying.