Wet Saw, Diamond Blade quality

For a small job of putting marble on the floor of a smallish bathroom I got one of the $88 wet saws at Lowe's. It did an okay job, but I could see micro-chips along the cut lines as I was cutting....nothing anyone could notice without getting on hands and knees though.
Is this just a fact of life when cutting polished stone, or can you make better cuts using a better blade?
I am about to embark on a much larger project on a different bathroom (marble tile counter, travertine shower, tub skirt & surround and wainscotting, slate floor and am willing to get a better blade (or even a better saw if that's necessary) to help make the job go faster and smoother with potentially better cuts.
What do you think?
Joe
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Joe S wrote:

Can't comment much about a better blade, always use inexpensive ones. AFAIK, all have the diamonds sintered to it. On my blade edges, they aren't all that close together. I suppose if there were more it would tend to cut more smoothly. Feeding slower will too.
Cutting with polished surface up or down (according to the type of saw you have) could help too. Good surface up if the blade is above, down if blade is below.
For what chips you do get, you can always sand them out. Yes, the gloss will go. If you want to take the trouble, you can re-polish.
-- dadiOH ____________________________
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there are lots of blades, for different materials some are better than others. usually the one that comes with a machine is cheap and average for most things. you could get one specific to your material that would cut better. investigate mk's web site for different blades, for example. make sure you get one that has the correct arbor sized hole for your machine. sometimes the cheap machines like that one have an odd sized arbor, which can make it difficult to impossible to get another blade.
btw: you don't want a slotted blade for wet cutting marble/granite. go slowly. feed material straight into the blade without any twist.
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Joe S,
Even using a more expesive blade it's important to keep it 'dressed'. This practice removes the super fine particles of stone or tile bisque from around the diamonds that are embedded in the blade. You do this by rubbing what's known as a rubbing stone against the blade on each side as it's running. Do both sides frequently. This results in a clean blade which leads to smoother quicker cutting. The rubbing stones are available at tile stores and I believe Lowes. They are generally white in color, 6" long by 3/4" thick by 2" wide and are used primarily for rubbing the cut edges of tile to smooth them. Dressing the blade will extend the blade life as well.
As for the saw, I don't have one that inexpensive, but I suspect for stone and harder tile a bigger saw with more hp and rpm's would probably work better for you. I have an older Rizzo Manufacturing Co. saw that I bought from a neighbor who tiled until he retired. This saw was maufactured many years ago and is of remarkable quality. When I got the saw a few years ago I bought an expensive blade at a tile store and while there a tile guy remarked that the 'contractor line' blades (made in Korea I think) that they also sold were just as good. I believe the expensive blade was about $100 and the other around $29. So I bought both and have used both and have found no difference. He's also the one who told me the secret of keeping the blade dressed. Works like a charm.
Joe S wrote:

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G Henslee wrote:

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What do you think about the "finished side up/down" issue? If I read the other poster right, I should be having finished side down since the motor is below the table. If that's correct, I'm a bit concerned about marring the polished side by sliding over the table top.
Joe
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The direction of the leading edge of the blade should always go into the finished (top) of the tile. Chip-outs happen where the blade exits the workpiece on the bottom. Slower blades reduce chipping but cut slower. Larger blades generally have a the cutting edge moving faster than a smaller blade at the same RPM. Lots of coolant/lubrication improves cut quality and speed and preserves blade.
On my bottom blade saw the blade rotates so that the front is going down into the table (i.e. if you stepped to the right side of the saw, the blade would rotate CCW). This means the tile should be face up. I used it to cut a lot of slate tile and found that cutting finished side down caused the end of the cut to be on the bottom. The end of the cut was where this tile (being slate and made of many layers) wanted to break so having it face down was better for me.
These are tiles made to go on the floor and be walked on. Sliding it once over a cutting table once should do little or no damage.
IMHO the quality of the blade does not so much dictate the quality of the cuts it makes but on how long that blade will ultimately last and somwhat on how sharp it stays. Cheaper blades may have less diamond tooth. have the diamond less well attached. Certainly one way to save on cost is to sacrifice quality control. That is not to say they have less quality but it is not subjected to testing and improvement like a brand name might be.
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Joe S wrote: ((snipped))

Tile and stone cut the same as for wood. It all depends on the way the saw blade is turning, you want the blade to go down into the best surface. On a regular saw with the blade below, the saw is turning toward the feed, and that means that the best side of the tile should be up.
For a good cut with minimum chip, you need plenty of fluid and slow and regular movement of the stone/tile, and you must make sure that the cut is straight. The major error that most cutters make is to cut too fast, which increases chips and can ruin the saw in a short time.
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My mason says the cheap diamond blades are almost useless for masonry. He pays $250 for a blade and gets many months out of it. I don't know if there was a quality issue or just longevity.

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I would try a slower feed, and if that doesn't work, polish the edges.
Steve
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