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November 28, 2014, 07:08:04 pm
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tile vs. lapidary diamond blades

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Author Topic: tile vs. lapidary diamond blades  (Read 1012 times)
bilquest
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« on: May 04, 2012, 09:41:15 pm »

I've got a few piles of jasper and agate rough in the yard. I've cut some of it but found it to be porous. Long story short, I was looking for a way to rapidly dice up the stuff in search of that magical middle that cabs well.

The Harbor Freight 10 inch tile saw caught my attention, mostly for price. Reading other threads on this forum about the speed reduction and whatnot, I decided to utilize my 20% off coupon over at HF and procure the monster. My plan was to outsmart the saw by getting a thin diamond blade rather than the shredding hellions that HF sells. I found a site called diamondbladedealer.com that sells continuous rim, diamond sintered blades that would run on the higher speed saws. I was feeling confident.

I cut my first agate, went through like butter.... zipped another slice off and started feeling that I would make short work over my stacks. Over the next couple slices it went slower and slower. Then it got to take as long as my lapidary blade to get through the stone. I tried dressing the blade with an old paver but probably didn't make enough cuts as it didn't seem to sharpen the blade. Even so, I can't be whacking up 3 pavers for every agate slab... kinda defeats my goal of rapid slabbing.

I have two questions:

1) What is the difference between a tile and lapidary diamond blade (continuous rim)?

2) If I buy the mega-shredder blade from HF, granted it'll cut a wider kerf, but will I have to keep dressing it?

Also, I'll post some pictures of my vise contraption that facilitated nice parallel slabs.
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catmandewe
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« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2012, 10:23:41 pm »

The major difference between tile and lapidary blades is the steel used in the blades. The tile blades are designed to run higher rpm and cut softer material.
The lapidary blades are designed to run slower rpms and cut harder material.
If you run a lapidary blade at the higher rpm's it causes the metal in the blade to sluff and cover the diamonds which keeps them from doing their job. Dressing the blade does grind the metal off and expose the diamonds, but if it is a cheap blade they are only diamond coated and you can easily lose all your diamonds while you are trying to dress your blade.
Sintered lapidary blades cost more but have more diamonds and the diamonds are inside the metal so you don't run out of diamond until you actually run out of either rim or blade, depending on how it is made.

Good luck with your saw.
Tony
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Michael S Hoover - Redrummd
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« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2012, 11:54:46 pm »

I reverse the rotation direction of my blades after dressing them if they get dull.  I find that really gets them back cutting as I expect.  Also, I find changeing over to cutting a softer stone after cutting a hard agate tends to work a lot like dressing the blade.
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sealdaddy
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« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2013, 10:15:27 am »

I reverse the rotation direction of my blades after dressing them if they get dull.  I find that really gets them back cutting as I expect.  Also, I find changeing over to cutting a softer stone after cutting a hard agate tends to work a lot like dressing the blade.

But you only use tile saws, right?
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lithicbeads
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« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2013, 10:27:12 am »

 I use the mean green blades  and they work fine on the tile saw and can be inexpensive. Why not just try these inexpnsive lapidary blades? I think generally people over think the blades  for lapidary on tile saws .
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sealdaddy
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« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2013, 11:09:11 am »

I use the mean green blades  and they work fine on the tile saw and can be inexpensive. Why not just try these inexpnsive lapidary blades? I think generally people over think the blades  for lapidary on tile saws .

I have and do, Frank.
I got a 10" mean green from John a month or two ago, and was continuously peening/swag the edge to get good cutting action.
I very recently switched to a continuous rim sintered blade from John.
It seems to stay effective longer, although since I slab very hard material every day, I'm needing to dress it with SIC wheels a few times daily.
It came with a directional arrow on it, but I'm considering reversing it every other day, or so.
Since Michael mentioned reversing his blade...I was just wondering if that was mainly for tile saw blades, or IF I should do it.
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lithicbeads
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« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2013, 11:15:54 am »

 I am confused by this issue as I get huge amounts of fast cutting out of these blades. If I do not ding them I cut right to the core and get very good value. I do gently rock the blade in the cut to minimize contact of the blade and rock and perhaps this is why they seem to cut faster for me as they are in the optimum cutting area more of the time than when the blade is deep in the stone and fully engaged.
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sealdaddy
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« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2013, 11:21:23 am »

I am confused by this issue as I get huge amounts of fast cutting out of these blades. If I do not ding them I cut right to the core and get very good value. I do gently rock the blade in the cut to minimize contact of the blade and rock and perhaps this is why they seem to cut faster for me as they are in the optimum cutting area more of the time than when the blade is deep in the stone and fully engaged.

Aaah...you roll yours manually.
I've never tried that in my slabs saw...I use the vise.
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finegemdesigns
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« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2013, 02:22:37 pm »

I bought about 10 10" tile blades a few years back and tried to use them for slabbing. Total waste of money.

Don't do it.
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lithicbeads
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« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2013, 03:39:40 pm »

 I move them back and forth in the cut to minimize contact area of the stone and blade on a ten inch tile saw.
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sealdaddy
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« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2013, 03:52:17 pm »

I move them back and forth in the cut to minimize contact area of the stone and blade on a ten inch tile saw.

I understand...but using a vise as I always do on my slab saw...that is not possible.
SO, Is it OK to reverse the blade now and then, or not, with a blade that comes with a rotation arrow on it's side, guys?
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Michael S Hoover - Redrummd
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« Reply #11 on: December 14, 2013, 09:46:58 pm »

I would not run a blade with a directional arrow in the opposite direction. I would presume there is some manufacturing process that does not work well run against the intended direction.  I do use lapidary blades on all of my saws and most, but not all, are top end blades

I only use the thinnest mineral oil available in my big saws but I do use water in the tile saws I trim with.
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3rdRockFromTheFun
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« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2013, 01:11:55 am »

Frank - I'm not clear on what you mean by 'rock back and forth'. Are you talking about a rotational forward/backward motion or a straight motion through the slot to minimize slop by keeping the slot wide enough that it doesn't touch core?

I've never found agate a speedy proposition beyond the first few slices without the use of SiC to remove glaze. Still, I go through it WAY faster than any autofeed. My best luck comes from slicing rock in multiple passes under a chop saw starting about a half inch depth and working down in quarter to half inch passes at a time.

What are these green blades - specifically?

Thanks!
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-frank-

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sealdaddy
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« Reply #13 on: December 15, 2013, 07:26:59 am »

Frank - I'm not clear on what you mean by 'rock back and forth'. Are you talking about a rotational forward/backward motion or a straight motion through the slot to minimize slop by keeping the slot wide enough that it doesn't touch core?

I've never found agate a speedy proposition beyond the first few slices without the use of SiC to remove glaze. Still, I go through it WAY faster than any autofeed. My best luck comes from slicing rock in multiple passes under a chop saw starting about a half inch depth and working down in quarter to half inch passes at a time.

What are these green blades - specifically?

Thanks!

I'm sure he is speaking of rotating/rolling the rough forward and back as he cuts it.
Here's the Mean Green blade:
http://www.jsgemslapidary.com/10in-MEAN-GREEN-BLADE/
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johnjsgems
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« Reply #14 on: December 15, 2013, 12:29:29 pm »

I can't speak for HF blades but BD/MK tile and lapidary blades use the same diamond and mostly same cores.  Difference is in the hardness of the matrix material.  The matrix for lapidary needs to be softer to more readily expose the diamond.  They will wear out faster but cut faster and smoother.  Most tile saws run fast and will dull blades cutting agate.  By the way, I've sold a lot of the Green blades and Don is the first to report a problem.  The 303C and new 301 blades (and I assume all MK/BD blades with an arrow) have the diamonds oriented to cut in one direction.  They may cut either way but will cut better in proper direction.
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