All you need to know about diamond blades for cutting natural stone
In the mini-world of a construction site, with its myriad of different tradespeople and huge range of tasks and functions to be carried out, it is key that every aspect of an operation is properly executed, no matter how small or trivial it may seem, and equipment is used safely and correctly.
Diamond blades are the best instrument for cutting natural stones such as marble and granite.
Among the must-have tools for many workers involved in any building project, from builder to electrician to plumber, is an angle grinder, circular saw or rotating multi-tool to give it just three of its many names. As such a tool may be called by a host of different names, nicknames and sometimes even brand names, from country to country, for the purpose of simplicity here, we will refer to it as an angle grinder with the understanding that it refers to a power tool that can perform a myriad of functions such as drilling, cutting, honing, polishing and buffing.
This incredibly versatile tool, which can be used with just one or both hands, usually comes with a series of attachments or accessories to be used depending on the task at hand. Among these are diamond discs and blades, fundamental to delivering quality results if you are cutting a hard material such as stone.
There are all manner of types of blades on the market to be used on angle grinders or similar power tools, suitable for use with or without water. If you are looking to work with a hard material like natural stone, you will need either a diamond or abrasive blade and, as is generally the rule with most things in life, the better the quality of the tool, the better the final result.
As with diamond drill bits, there are two main types of diamond blades:
- With a continuous, smooth rim
- With a segmented rim with “teeth”
The former is ideal for creating clean, precise cuts in softer materials, whereas a segmented rim is used on harder materials, so obviously it is essential to select the right type, depending on the hardness of the surface you are going to cut.
In general, diamond cutting tools and accessories help you achieve results faster and require less physical force compared to the so-called abrasive blades, which is why they are an essential toolkit element for almost any tradesperson.
To choose the right diamond blade for your job, you need to consider both the hardness and abrasiveness of the material you need to cut or work and it doesn’t always follow that the levels of these two aspects are similar. For example, the combination could be hard but not abrasive or, conversely, highly abrasive but not particularly hard.
The rotational speed of a disc not only has repercussions on your personal safety, but also impacts the quality of the result. Speed will vary depending on the hardness and composition of the material being cut, and it can also impact wear and tear of the blade itself. The most common problems tend to arise from the wrong choice of blade for the material in question, insufficient speed or lack of cooling, meaning the blade or drill bit overheats. Generally, using a harder diamond bit or blade, upping the speed or working in a way that the blade cools down quickly will resolve any problem.
As we wrote above, diamond blades are pretty much a must-have item as they really do simplify life, especially if you often find yourself needing to cut, grind or smooth hard or “trickier” materials. They are used both for finishing and refining work where “small” cutting is required and for cutting larger surfaces such as slabs of stone, but when you are working with Salvatori products, such as our tiles, you will almost certainly be doing cutting of the minor variety, the type of work that is generally called for during the laying process.
There is no doubt that diamond blades are extraordinarily efficient, but obviously they need to be attached correctly and used on a tool that is suitable for the material being cut and the type of finish you are looking for.
Instead of a diamond blade, you may also opt for abrasive discs which are generally used for honing and buffing surfaces rather than cutting. They come in varying levels of coarseness depending on the result you wish to achieve, and are ideal for creating that perfect finish, using a light-coloured disc for pale stones and a black one for darker materials. For some tasks, you may opt for a resin-bonded abrasive disc.
At the risk of stating the obvious, if you are using any power tool, it’s important to take all the necessary health and safety steps, such as wearing some sort of protective eyewear, earmuffs, a mask to protect against dust and gloves for better grip.
If you’ve selected the right disc for the material being cut, the process will be fast and you shouldn’t meet any resistance, but if this isn’t the case, the diamond tip or blade will deteriorate rapidly and this will impact the quality of the cut and possibly lead to the tool overheating.
And, of course, if you have any questions about creating the perfect cut in natural stone, please feel free to contact us with your specific query and one of our technical team will be happy to help.
All photos were taken prior to the closure of 11 March 2020.