Chop saw - use for cement blocks?

I'm building an Allen Block (cement) retaining wall and need to trim a large number of top caps which are 11"w x 11"d x 3 3/8"h.
I'm wondering if a 14" chop saw would work if I were to put a diamond blade in it.
RPM and torque may be a probem. The one I'm looking at (Porter Cable) is 15A with an RPM of 3800.
Will it work?
Thanks for any comments, Gary
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G Mulcaster wrote:

not without ruining it from the dust. try a tile wet saw
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A very good application for a HarborFreight tool. I wouldn't hesitate to use my 10" HF SCMS (it was fine for what I bought it for) or an old circular saw. If he dust gets to it, no great loss.
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wrote:

I agree. It will certainly "work" but concrete dust is not good for a precision tool. I have an old Craftsman circular saw with a broken blade guard (unobtanium) and I just keep a diamond blade in it for cutting concrete.
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Let me know how you get a big block in a chop saw. On the flat caps, yes, you could do it in two cuts, but it would be iffy to get them straight.
Go get a used 10" wet saw with a big tray and a lot of travel. I bought one about a year ago, and I have been using the heck out of it, now doing work that I would have never considered before. One is now to do a 400sf (approx) area in 4 x 8 pavers, 2" thick, having to cut some to make the pattern, and some just to fit in odd areas. It's a dream to just put it on there, saw, and it's done. No dust.
A 10" saw is a tool that is used infrequently, but when you do pull it out, it does it right the first time. I think you could get a used saw for what any chop saw would cost you, and the chop saw makes dust, which causes silicosos, a very dangerous human ailment.
Mine cost me $60 at a yard sale. It retails for about $600. It's not new and pristine, but it works, and I think it's worth what I paid for it.
Steve
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Um... From the OP:
"I'm building an Allen Block (cement) retaining wall and need to trim a large number of top caps which are 11"w x 11"d x 3 3/8"h."
Not all cement blocks are 12" blocks.
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keith wrote:

I just became a harbor-freight dude.
--
Uno

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check out their 10" wet saw- http://www.harborfreight.com/25-horsepower-10-inch-industrial-tile-brick-saw-95385.html for $250 it aint bad- and when you're done you should be able to get $150 for it easy- though you might decide to keep it once you use one for a day.
Jim
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-snip-

I meant to add-- Once you've cut on a wet saw after experiencing the toxic, go-everywhere dust storm of dry cutting, it is hard to go back. You'll start looking for blocks to cut in half.
Jim
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I'm not sure if this will matter since I don't really know about Allan Blocks, but here's what happened to me after I cut some patio blocks:
They disintegrated after a few years.
I have a parking spot off to the side my driveway where I park so that I don't block SWMBO's car. There used to be dirt next to the spot, so I paved it with grey 8 x 16 patio blocks so I wouldn't be stepping in mud all the time.
In order to follow the curve of the street and the driveway asphalt, I had to cut a number of blocks at an angle. I used an old circular saw and diamond blade.
After a few years, the cut blocks began to fall apart, from the cut edge in, turning into little pea sized bits of concrete. At first I thought it might be salt, but it only happened to the cut block, not to any of the full pieces. In one case, where there was a fairly small piece (1/4 of a block) the piece has been gone for years, but the full sized block that was next to it looks as good as new.
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That's an odd one. I've cut, and seen old cuts, that have experienced no deterioration like what you describe, even after years of exposure. You must have gotten a bad batch.
R
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It may have been a bad batch, but like I said, none of the uncut ones show any sign of deterioration.
They don't seal those things do they? I was thinking that maybe I exposed the innards and allowed the bad stuff in.
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Diamond blade me be overkill & expensive depending on how many blocks you expect to cut.
http://www.google.com/products?q=masonry+blade+for+chop+saw&hl=en
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On Thu, 30 Sep 2010 22:52:02 +0000 (UTC), snipped-for-privacy@sdf.lNoOnSePsAtMar.org (Larry W) wrote:

They are really getting to be cheap enough for the casual user and they last for a real long time. They also hold their diameter a lot better than a regular cutoff wheel. That is important on relatively deep cuts.
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On Thu, 30 Sep 2010 22:52:02 +0000 (UTC), snipped-for-privacy@sdf.lNoOnSePsAtMar.org (Larry W) wrote:

Thanks for the URL. Will be cutting about 100 blocks (the top caps - both sides) on this project. Two other projects are in the future.
I could rent a saw; however, may as well use this as an excuse to buy another toy :)
Gary
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Now *that's* the right attitude.
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On Thu, 30 Sep 2010 10:19:01 -0700, G Mulcaster

A follow up:
I called both Porter Cable and Makita. The Porter Cable tech said that the PC chop saw could not be used with a diamond blade. No reason given.
The Makita tech rep said there would be no problem using a diamond blade. The Makita chop saws are sealed units; that is, there is no danger of cement dust getting into the bearings. He said to ensure I blew out the unit with an air hose after use. (To get dust out of the armature?)
So, I purchased a Makita 2414NB on sale :)
Thanks for all your responses. Gary
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On that basis I'd buy the Porter Cable. The bearings may be sealed-- but the motor & brushes aren't. When the motor sucks dust filled air through it you will be coating the armature with dust that will only come off if you completely dis-assemble the saw.
You will be cutting the saw's life in half at best. [which is fine if it will just sit on a shelf for most of the next 20 years-- but I'd rather get the right tool for this job- and sell it later. [the right tool in this case if a wet saw of any description-- not just for the saw's life-- but for the 1/2 acre or so that get's covered with dust after a few dry cuts]
OTOH- did you record the tech's conversation? I'd put a copy of that with the warranty and cite it when the saw fails prematurely.
Jim
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wrote:

tech rep said the Makita chop saw was suitable - just blow the dust out after use...
Also, the hardware store advised me against PC because in the PC/Delta/DeWalt franchise, the PC's quality is now the low end of the three, unlike the past where PC was top notch.
One thing voting for the PC was price - $110, the Makita was $150.
I have to admit that I'm a Makita freak. I started buying Makita tools in 1980 and have never been dissapointed.
Cheers, Gary
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I guess I wasn't clear. The PC guy told the truth. The Makita guy was wrong- either through ignorance or because of greed. The dust you will create will be unbelievable. My job was 150' from a road, but cutting one 4x8x12 in half stopped traffic if the wind was wrong.
There is not just a lot of it- it is sticky and abrasive. It will ruin your saw.
Buy/rent/steal a wet saw.
-snip-

So buy the Makita chop-saw- and saw wood with it. Don't ruin it with masonry dust.
Jim
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