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Unread 12-02-2002, 02:46 PM   #1
andyl
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Frequent questions concerning tile blades

I am sure I have missed some. I would suggest letting people add any I forgot, and I will add them (along with answers) to this post before adding to the Library if John thinks it should go there.

Frequently Asked Questions for Diamond Tile Blades

How do I pick the right blade, aren’t they all the same?
All blades are not the same. A blade consists of core, metal powders and diamonds. The size of the diamond, the concentration (how much), of diamond, the quality of the diamond and the type and mixture of bonding agent or powders used, all affect the way a blade will cut. The less expensive blades use lower quality diamond, which fractures more quickly. Since the diamond is fracturing more quickly the powders that are used to hold the diamond in place have to wear more quickly, too, so that the used diamonds will fall out and new diamonds will be exposed. That is why these blades tend to wear more quickly. For tile applications, porcelain and granite are some of the harder materials that have to be cut. There are blades on the market that are designed just to cut these materials well. These specialized blades may use larger, better quality diamonds to grind more effectively these harder materials and will use a specific mix of powders with the diamonds so they work together. When cutting soft body tile it is possible to use smaller lower quality diamonds effectively, hence the lower cost of the “general purpose” blades.

Can I sharpen a blade?
If there is rim left and the blade is running true, it can be sharpened. Sharpening exposes new, sharp diamonds by wearing away a layer of dull diamonds from the surface of the rim. The nice thing about diamond blades is that once sharpened they work as well as new. Sharpen by cutting cinder block, day old mortar, conditioning sticks sold for that purpose, or even soft bricks. Remember that you are wearing a layer of dull diamonds off the rim and that may require several cuts to accomplish. If a layer could be worn off in only a few cuts, then the blade would not last very long in everyday use, and users would be very unhappy with it.

Can I use different size blades on tile saws, and what difference does it make if I do?
On many saws you can choose to use a 7”, 8”, or 10” blade, especially the better quality professional type saws. If depth of cut needed is covered by the size blade you choose, there is no problem using a smaller blade to save some on cost of blade. The general rule is that when using a smaller blade the surface speed of the rim is slower. This makes the blade act softer and wear a bit faster. The difference is probably not noticeable in everyday use. Other saws, especially those with fixed heads or the tabletop style saws require a specific size blade in order to function, so, know your saw before making this decision.

What difference does it make whether a blade is segmented, has a turbo style rim, or a continuous rim when I cut tile?
Segmented blades chip tile when cutting it, due to the separations in the rim, turbo style blades less so, but they still chip slightly. Continuous rim blades give the smoothest cut of all, which is why they are used 95% of the time.



Do I have to cut wet? How much water do I need to use?
Blades are designated to be used wet or dry, and will state this somewhere on the blade. Dry blades can be used with water to cut the dust down, and this is a good idea indoors. Even using a spray bottle helps. Blades designated as wet should be used with water. Saws that use water pumps to provide the water usually provide more water than is needed. There are ways of cutting back the water flow to the blade to keep the mess at a minimum and still cool the blade. A blade that is used dry when it shouldn’t be may warp and cause chipping in the material being cut and may get so dull that it will not cut.

Why does my tile chip when I get near the end?
This can be caused by a couple things. Pushing the blade too hard through the material can cause this because the blade will tend to bow in the cut. Then, as the end of the cut is reached the blade will try to “straighten” itself back up, and, as there is very little material left to support itself, it chips the last piece off. This same scenario happens when a blade is dull, too, if the user has a difficult time pushing the material through the cut. Also a blade that is not running true may do the same thing, in addition to causing excessive chipping throughout the cut.

My cut isn’t straight, what do I do?
The same thing that causes chipping above can make a cut run slightly off, since as the blade bows in the cut it tends to head off to the side.
The saw can be out of alignment, too. To remedy that contact the manufacturer. To determine if the saw is truly at fault a carpenters square can be used in place of a piece of tile. If the blade runs along the edge of the carpenters square for the entire length of the cut without developing a gap or pushing the square over, then the saw is aligned properly and another solution must be found.


Further, more detailed info can be found at these sites;

Blade troubleshooting

What is a diamond blade

Last edited by Mike2; 02-15-2006 at 06:36 AM. Reason: Fixed broken links
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Unread 12-03-2002, 09:01 AM   #2
cx
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Thanks, Andy.

Not being a real tile guy, I've always just used whatever blade came with the saw to cut whatever tile I was gluing to something. I figured if it cut the tile I had, it must be the right blade.

From what you say (and the first link you posted) one could say as a general rule that you don't want to use your really good, hard blade for soft material because it's wasteful of diamonds, and using your cheap, came-with-the-saw blade for really hard materials isn't gonna get the job done.

That a fair statement so far?

That first link looks really useful for us uneducateds.
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Unread 12-03-2002, 12:01 PM   #3
andyl
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cx

Not quite true. To cut soft materials you SHOULD use a hard bonded blade. Thats because, since the material is soft it will not wear the diamonds out quickly and they can be used to grind for a longer time. Since they are capable of grinding for a longer time, we use a harder bond to hold the diamonds in place and resist the extra abrasion that comes from the soft materials. Really hard does not mean really good. Hardness can be achieved by using the right mixture in the bond or powders, but that doesnt make the blade better, only harder or softer. Diamond quality and quantity can still vary in all hardnesses. But you should use a harder bonded blade in soft materials to avoid premature wear of your blade.

Using inexpensive blades in very hard materials usually doesn't work well, you are correct. And the idea that if it cuts it must be the right blade is about the best way to know for sure you do have the right blade!
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Unread 02-15-2006, 12:24 AM   #4
TJoeC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andyl
Further, more detailed info can be found at these sites;
The site has changed and these are the NEW LINKS!!!

Blade troubleshooting

What is a diamond blade

--------------------------------------------------

Moderator Edit: Thanks Joe. I updated those links in Andy's original post above.

.

Last edited by Mike2; 02-15-2006 at 06:39 AM.
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Unread 10-22-2006, 08:17 PM   #5
TTTTttt1
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Andy,
The rim of my blade is approx. 1/2" tall. It is a continuous rim "sintered" blade, so is it going to be all used up when the 1/2" rim is gone? Also, I've noticed that some of the less expensive blades aren't "sintered". How would you you know when one of these was used up? Just no exposed diamonds?

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Unread 10-22-2006, 09:55 PM   #6
Mike2
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Generally speaking JP, as long as you have some rim left there will be diamonds embedded within the matix. Used properly that 1/2" rimmed blade you have should last a very long time.
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Unread 10-23-2006, 11:16 AM   #7
andyl
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To add to Mike's answer

Sometimes the side of the rim will have powder/diamond showing that actually extends somewhat below the rim. Once the top or the rim is worn down to the core, the blade is finished, regardless of how much appears to be left from the side view.
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Unread 07-02-2009, 10:00 AM   #8
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Can I assume using a good quality dressing stone will work quickly to 'sharpen' a diamond blade? I've got a couple I use to redress hard density die grinding stone's.

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Unread 07-02-2009, 10:45 AM   #9
andyl
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They should work fine. We sell 60 80 and 120 grit. Just cut the water back some and make fine cuts. no use wasting the stone.
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