About Diamond Blades
Diamond Blades at a glance.
Diamond blades are made of diamond crystals, usually synthetic, a bonding system, usually a sintered metal powder, a segment or rim, and a metal core.
Varying the type, quality, size and concentration of diamonds with a bonding matrix that is designed to provide, in addition to a medium to support the diamonds, a specific wear rate matched to the material being cut gives rise to an enormous selection of diamond blades for specific applications.
The bonding material is designed to wear away at a rate matched to the material being cut so as to expose more diamonds to grind that material away. Therefore, when cutting a dense hard material like porcelain tile, it is best to design a blade with a "soft" bond to wear quickly to expose more diamond. Conversely, when cutting soft abrasive material like asphalt one would design a "hard" bond to give the diamonds time to work.
These two opposing factors directly affect the two most important criteria in diamond blade quality, speed of cut vs. life of the diamond blade. First impressions of quality by are users are the ease of and speed of cut. If this was the only consideration, manufacturers might just design "soft" bonded blades; however, the life of the blade will be greatly compromised. As a result manufacturers have responded by offering various quality levels of blades for the specific material being cut. Generally speaking the higher quality blade provides a significantly longer working life when used in the proper application.
Dry Cutting Diamond Blades vs. Wet Cutting Diamond Blades.
The popularity of hand held power tools has led most diamond blade manufactures to develop dry cutting diamond blades for ceramic, concrete, stone and masonry cutting. Dry cut diamond blades need to prevent the overheating of the steel core of the blades, since water is not an option most dry cut blades are designed with wide slots between segments to allow for maximum cooling by the airflow around the blade. When using dry cut diamond blades operators should make shallower cuts and let the blade run free out of the cut to allow the blade to cool.
Wet cutting diamond blades have several advantages over dry cutting diamond blades. In wet cutting applications water acts to flush the cut clean of debris, keeps down dust and acts as a coolant for the blade. Depending on the jobsite and equipment available if you have a choice use the wet cutting diamond blade.
As a general rule of thumb, most dry cut diamond blades can be run wet, NO wet cut diamond blades can be run dry.
Be extremely careful in using any electric tools or equipment around water. You should always use the proper GFCI.
Troubleshooting Diamond Blades for Tile
Your tile blade cuts slow or doesn't cut at all.
If your blade still has a significant amount of "rim" above the core, most likely your blade is "glazed". A blade can become glazed when the bond holding the diamonds is too hard for the material being cut. Unfortunately, you should be using a different blade, however, an easy solution is to "dress" your blade. Most manufacturers sell dressing sticks, that when cut will open up the bond of a glazed blade and expose new diamonds so work can continue. Constant dressing can allow you to get the job done, but you will sacrifice productivity with slow cutting. Seriously consider switching to a diamond blade specifically designed for the tile you are cutting.
Don't have a dressing stick but you need to get the job done?
Try making a few cuts on a piece of asphalt. Asphalt is very abrasive as a result it can open the bond.
One word of caution, dressing will significantly reduce the like of your blade.
US Government Definitions
Diamond sawblades and parts thereof.–All circular sawblades (including slitting or slotting saws) with a working part that is partially or chiefly comprised of diamonds or diamond material. Included in this definition are parts of diamond sawblades, including diamond saw blade cores (see below) and unfinished, semi-finished, or completely finished saw blade segments (see below) that are partially or chiefly comprised of diamonds or diamond material. Diamond sawblades (and parts thereof) are provided for under subheading 8202.39.00 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS).
- Diamond saw blade cores.–Inner cores of circular sawblades, typically cut from steel plate and reamed for mounting in finished diamond sawblades.
- Diamond saw blade segments.–Outer rings (or working parts) of circular sawblades. Typically a compressed agglomeration of diamonds and metallic powders, diamond segments are designed to be joined to the diamond saw blade core and serve as the actual cutting/grinding surface.
- Finished diamond sawblades.–Circular sawblades (including slitting or slotting saws) in which the diamond segments have been joined to the diamond saw blade cores (as defined above).