If you have ever used a tile saw or masonry saw, you probably already know that these machines use diamond saw blades to cut through some of the hardest materials used in construction. Whether it’s tile made from something like porcelain, ceramic or slate, or a huge slab of granite or marble or be used for countertops, or even concrete reinforced with steel rebar, if you want it cut, you’re going to have to use a diamond blade.
Many people have used this type of blade to cut stone, concrete or tile, but have never stopped to consider how diamond saw blades work. In this most, we hope to unravel the mystery of diamond masonry saw blades. First, we’ll look at how they are constructed, and then explain how diamond saw blades work.
How are diamond saw blades made?
Although there are different types of diamond blades for different types of stone, the basic construction is always the same. The “core” of the blade, the circular disc made of steel, looks a lot like more conventional saw blades used for cutting wood, for example. Except, on a masonry saw blade, the core does not have sharp teeth running around its circumference. Instead, it is either a smooth circle, or it has narrow notches cut into it, forming broad square teeth that are not sharp to the touch.
Now, to make these steel cores into diamond saw blades, a softer metal is used to fuse tiny diamond particles to the outer edge of the blade. This metal is called the “bond”, and this coating of soft metal and diamonds will usually cover the edge of the blade with a width of approximately one inch.
What many people are now wondering is how diamond saw blades work if they don’t have teeth to cut through things the way other types of blades do.
How diamond saw blades work on a masonry saw
The key to how diamond saw blades work lies in those tiny diamond particles that are fused around the edge of the disc. Most people have heard that diamond is the hardest mineral on Earth. In this context, “hard” means that it can scratch other things without being scratched itself. This concept of scratching is important to understand if you want to know how diamond blades are able to cut through stone, concrete and more.
A minor semantic difference is useful in explaining how this works. The fact is, diamond blades don’t cut at all; instead, they grind. Essentially, when the blade meets the piece of stone that needs to be cut, millions of tiny pieces of diamond “scratch” at the stone until it is split in two. Meanwhile, the stone being cut wears away at the soft metal bond, so that a fresh layer of sharp diamonds is always accessible.
All of this scratching causes a lot of friction and heat, not to mention dust. This is why almost all masonry saws and tile saws are built with a water cooling system. A pump ensures that water flows over the diamond blade and stone as it cuts, keeping it from overheating and minimizing dust. The result of this is longer blade life, better cuts and improved operator safety.