Thinking about cutting rocks for your next DIY project and don’t know how to do it? A tile saw might just be the perfect equipment that lets you cut and shape rocks and transform them into beautiful pieces of artwork.
In this article, you will get to know how to safely and efficiently cut rocks of different shapes and sizes using the right blade.
But one thing to note before proceeding any further, tile saws are unable to cut rocks over grade 7. So, if you want to cut a grade 7 rock, you must look for a different equipment for the job.
What is a tile saw?
Tile saw also known as a wet tile saw is a saw which is set upon the table with a spinning diamond-carbide blade. It is more of an angular grinder with a diamond-edged blade rather than a sawing tool.
On first look, it may look like other saws, but it has some fundamental difference which makes the tile saw distinct from its wood cutting counterpart. The saws which cut wood basically cuts through a wooden board.
On the other hand, a tile saw will use its special diamond-carbide blade to grind through the tile. The similar-looking blade may make the miter saw and tile saw look familiar but there is a difference in the way they work.
For instance, in a miter saw you have to move the blade towards a board to cut it. On the other hand, in a tile saw the blade does not move, instead, it utilizes its slide table to feed the wood to the blade.
As the name suggests, a tile saw is the best tool of cutting tiles and home improvement jobs. A tile saw is smaller, cheaper, and more portable. Contractor also use professional grade tile saw for their heavy duty work .
The tile saw is a table-top saw. It has a stationary blade and a sliding table. At first, you need to score the tiles to mark the cutting lines.
Then you must align the scoring lines with the blade and secure them on the sliding table. Then you will need to power on the tile saw and the sliding table will start to move and feed the tile towards the blade.
A complete guideline about the ways you can cut a rock with a tile saw
Prepping up for the cut
Now, that we are familiar with the tile saw and know how it works, it’s time for us to get to the main topic and start talking about the actual process of cutting rock using a tile saw.
The first thing you need to do is to find the rocks with the right hardness. The tile saw won’t be able to handle rocks on more than grade-7.
Once you are done collecting rocks with perfect hardness, it’s time to get the other tools necessary at hand so the cutting can continue without any hiccups.
Determine how hard is your rock
Finding the rock with the perfect hardness is the trickiest part of the entire work process. The rocks that you will find in nature will not be the same.
Each one will have their unique set of qualities. All of them will have a varying degree of mineral composition and each of them will have a differing level of hardness.
Below, I am providing a rock hardness scale which will be useful for you if you want to scout for the rock yourself in nature. All of these rocks mentioned below can be found quite easily in nature.
Grade of Hardness
In the chart, you can see that it’s possible to cut anything from talc to quartz as they range from grade 1 to 7. Cutting anything more than grade-7 is not possible with a tile saw.
This means topaz, corundum, and diamond cutting are not possible with it. Other precision cutting tools are there for these minerals.
Setting up a workspace and gearing up for the work
After you have found the rock with matching hardness, it’s time you set up your workstation. To set up your workstation for a rock cutting job you need to have the following set of things at your disposal:
- Protective gloves
- Protective clothing
- Safety goggles
- Respirators to protect you from fumes
- Permanent marker for marking lines
- A Bowl
- Ample supply of water
Once we have accumulated all the necessary equipment, it’s time to start the cutting process.
Put on your safety equipment
Before you start setting up the rest of your workstation, it’s necessary that you put on your protective gear. Safety should be the primary concern during any kind of work that involves blades.
Protective clothing, gloves, goggles, earmuffs, and respirators must be worn before proceeding with the cut. Failure to wear any of these may cause some fatal injury. So, make sure you don’t cheap out of any of these materials.
Now, that you’re all dressed up, it’s time to focus on arranging your workbench or station. Rock cutting will require a large and sturdy table. The table should be sturdy enough to soak up all the vibrations coming from the cutting of the rocks.
After that, the tiles should be aligned with the table properly to ensure a smooth and hassle-free cutting experience.
Marking up lines on the rocks
Mark the cutting line onto the board with a permanent marker. It will help to make the cut accurate. The line will give you a visual direction regarding where to cut.
Without the mark, it is very easy to make mistakes and mistake means a complete waste of a rock. To avoid this, you must mark it before cutting.
Power on the tile saw
Once you have everything in place, you can connect the saw to the nearby power socket. Don’t power on the saw just yet.
Placing the rock accurately on the table
Rock cutting is a very intricate process and proper alignment with the table is very crucial. If the rock is not aligned perfectly then you will risk a skewed cut.
The accuracy of the alignment and the stability of the table are the key factors in ensuring a cleaner cut. A stable table will protect the tiles from falling over.
Ensure that you are equipped with an ample amount of water supply
A wet tile saw will also require ample water supply for smooth operation. The amount of water should be enough to cover just the blade. Adjust the water level so it only submerges the blade of your tile saw
Take your position
A proper stance will not only give you an accurate cut but it will also protect you from injury die to bad posture. There are two ways you can stand when operating a tile saw.
One is to stand in front of the table and the other is to stand on the other side of the open face of the blade. Standing on the other side of the face of the blade is the best stance as it is much safer and it also gives more accuracy.
Initiate the cut
After all the set-up, it’s time to proceed with the cutting. Now, is the time to power the saw on. Start the saw by pressing the power on switch. It will take some time for the blade to reach full rpm as the motor used has a linear torque.
If you are standing on the opposite side of the open blade then you have to hold rock with a firm grip and you have to pull it towards you.
This stance also lets you have a look at the motion of the cut. This will help you control the cut better and ensure better accuracy.
Cleaning up the aftermath
Cutting rocks can be quite messy. Now that you are done with the cutting, it’s time to clean up the mess. Cleaning up the blades and the table is necessary to prolong the health of your tile saw.
Maintain these proper tips to ensure a safe operating of the tile saw.
- The best blade for cutting rock is the diamond-coated blade. It provides the best result.
- The blade must always be immersed in water. Always keep the water level in check. As soon as the water level depletes below the safety limit, you must stop operating and refill water.
- Always read the user manual properly for safety tips. Remember, nobody knows your machine better than the guy/guys who made it.
- Maintain a safe distance from the blade.
- Always equip yourself with proper safety clothing and gears.
- Do not make the blade touch the cutting surface until it reaches its maximum speed.
- Remember to mark the rocks before cutting for better and accurate results.
- Pull the rock gradually for a smooth cut. Pulling it rapidly will cause the cut to rough and it will also wear down the blade significantly.
- Make sure you turn off and unplug the saw from the power socket every time after an operation.
Maintenance of tile
Just like any other machine, your tile saw will also require routine maintenance. Lubricating is a must to keep the wear level down and make the tile saw perform better for a longer period of time.
Water is a popular lubricant for most of the people but any lubricate with an anti-rust feature will be the best for a long-lasting machine. The anti-rust liquid will double up as a lubricant.
Water soluble oils can also be used while cutting rocks. Remember to wear industrial grade respirators to prevent inhalation of harmful fumes as a result of cutting rocks.
Try setting up your workstation in a spacious place to avoid the accumulation of fumes caused by rock grinding.
A tile saw is a wonderful and versatile equipment that is fairly easy to maintain and use. But cutting through rocks can get quite tricky. But with the proper guidance mentioned in this article, it should be quite easy.
Hopefully, after reading this article you will feel quite confident while cutting rocks using the tile saw for your next DIY project.
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