What do diamond blades cut?
When most people imagine a power saw, they picture a metal blade with sharp teeth spinning at an incredible speed and slicing through a piece of lumber. But there are some saw blades that don’t use sharp teeth at all: diamond blades. These special blades spin around just like other saw blades, but they work quite differently. And naturally, diamond blades cut through very different materials from what standard saw blades cut.
So, what do diamond blades cut? In this article, we’ll answer that question and take a look at how these special blades do their job.
Diamond blades: What do they cut?
The list of materials that diamond blades can cut through is too extensive to name every single item. We’ll provide plenty of examples, but we’d also like to give you a general idea based on the properties of diamond blades. What do we know about diamonds (besides being expensive)? It’s the hardest mineral known to man. In geology, the hardness of a material is measured by how easily it can be scratched. Diamond ranks as the hardest because it will scratch basically anything else.
It follows, then, that this super-hard mineral would be used to cut other very hard things. Otherwise, why would you need the hardest mineral on Earth?
So, keeping this in mind, let’s answer the question “what do diamond blades cut?” with some specific examples. Some of the most common materials that are cut using diamond blades include:
- PORCELAIN AND CERAMIC
- GRANITE, SLATE AND OTHER NATURAL STONES
- CONCRETE AND REINFORCED CONCRETE
- TILES AND PAVERS MADE OUT OF ANY OF THESE MATERIALS
HOW DO DIAMOND BLADES WORK?
In the introduction, we said that diamond blades work differently from regular metal saw blades. Although we use the word “cut” loosely in most articles, the truth is that diamond blades don’t cut at all – they grind.
A diamond blade is actually just a round steel core whose edge is coated with tiny diamond particles, with a soft metal “glue” of sorts to hold them together. Earlier we said that diamonds are special because of their ability to scratch things, and that is essentially how these blades work. When cutting a piece of stone, for example, each tiny diamond particle scratches the stone as it spins around on the blade. In a matter of seconds, millions of these little particles have made millions of little scratches that eventually go all the way through the piece of stone.
We see that what was once a single piece of stone is now two smaller pieces of stone, and we say that the stone has been cut. But technically, no cutting was involved. That’s why diamond blades don’t need to have sharp teeth, and you can handle these blades with less risk of getting cut yourself.
Now you know what types of materials diamond blades cut, how diamond blades work, and why diamond is used at all. These blades are an essential piece of equipment for anyone working with stone, brick, tile, and other hard materials.
CAN YOU CUT TILE WITH A CIRCULAR SAW?
Yes, it’s possible to cut tile with circular saw, although if we are talking about a handheld circular saw, it is not necessarily advisable. A bench-mounted tile circular saw or masonry saw is the ideal tool for this type of job, but there are times when you can’t access one. In these cases, you can make do by cutting tile with a circular saw, provided you carefully follow certain guidelines.
First, you must use a circular saw tile blade; this is the same sort of diamond blade used on wet tile saws and masonry saws. The catch is that the diamond blade needs to be the correct size for your circular saw, and it needs to be labeled for the specific material you are working with. Cutting porcelain tile is not the same as cutting brick, for example, because different materials have different hardness and abrasiveness that requires a different diamond composition on the blade.
The other issue is the fact that tile cutting is usually done wet. A wet tile saw or masonry saw is set up so that water flows over the blade as it cuts, keeping everything cool and minimizing dust. This is obviously more complicated with cutting tile with a circular saw that you hold in your hand; these machines aren’t usually designed to be in close contact with water, making it both tricky and very risky to rig up a makeshift wet cutting system. Dry cutting is an option, but it is imperative that you only do it with a blade specifically designed for dry cutting. You also need to work in a well-ventilated area and wear a respirator mask, because the dust produced from grinding through tile, stone, bricks, etc. causes severe lung damage.