which tile saw to get

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Before I had one, I never knew what I was missing. Every once in a while I had to cut a tile or do something a saw would do, so I just did it crudely and dusty. Then I got a small wet saw at a yard sale for $10. 5 or 6" blade mounted on a grinder, but a brand name. That was great, but it had height and width restrictions, and I soon was hitting those. Then I got a large one on a tenant that moved out and left some things. Nothing fancy at all, but I could cut two inch plus thick pavers, a job I had previously done crudely with a grinder and chisel. Water bath, no dust.
The thing about a tile saw is that once you get one, you will find that you can fill in an odd area with tile for CHEAP! You buy some tile on sale, or even some nice stuff, thinset and grout are cheap, and in a couple of days, you got a nice job. Laying the field, the large part that takes full pieces is easy once you figure out the layout. Then, with the trusty tile saw, you just cut each piece to fit right there.
And if you are artistic at all, you can do mosaic work using either trash tile you get for free, or stuff that is on sale dirt cheap at every tile outlet in town. You buy tiles, like we did, at foreign cities, each one a memento of the trip, and those go into the design, and you have a very personal tile job that holds a lot of memories. It looks outstanding as an addition to any patio or outdoors area.
Tile work is not rocket science. It does require some heavy work, with the heavy bags, heavy boxes of tile, and getting down on all fours. But, once you get the basics, even an average job looks great once it's grouted. There aren't a lot of mistakes you can make, except not getting enough thinset or too much, and if you miscut a tile, you just cut another in two minutes.
Look at yard sales, pawn shops, and advertise WANTED on craigslist of your local Quick Quarter rag. I'd say you can get a decent 10" for under $100. Mine needs a bearing, and that will cost about $10. There isn't a lot that can go wrong with them, and even a motor is replaceable for $20. I got a 1.5hp Dayton for my cement mixer off craigslist for $30. Has to be about a $200 motor.
If you really want a good one, they can be had new for $500 to $1200. Used, even very gently, half or less.
HTH
Steve
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wrote:

Thanks to all for the responses. I'll probably get a 7" rail saw at a big box for around $200, and maybe sell it afterward. Actually first I'll monitor Craigslist for a little while to see if there's a deal on a used one. The discussion of curved cuts was a bonus. A related item: I have been obsessing a little about how to handle the 2 floor drains, which each sit in a slight depression in the floor. I was thinking of tiling around them (necessitating curved cuts) but in 15 years I have never used them for drainage - in fact one has a rubber plug in it, and the other I only discovered after taking up the carpeting. So I am thinking of this: tiling right over them, but make the tile right over the drain removable by just sticking it down with double sided tape or caulk or plumbers putty or something. So if I *really* had to, I could still access the drain, but meanwhile wouldn't have to look at it or trip over it or make fancy tile cuts around it. -- H
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Heathcliff wrote:

i see tile saws on craigslist all the time. also home depot sells their rental machines occasionally.
a tile that is not fastened to the floor and has a gap under it chances cracking if you step on it or roll something heavy over it. it will also sound hollow when you step on it during dancing class.
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UPDATE - many thanks to all who responded. In the end I did not buy a saw, but found a better way to score and snap. I found that after using the tile cutter to score the tile, I could deepen the score by going over it with a carbide scoring knife, the kind you use to score tile backer board. The tile could then be snapped reliably by various methods. For full-width scores I put an unfolded cardboard box on the floor, lay a quarter-inch diameter steel rod in a crease (so it doesn't roll around), put the tile on it and step or stomp on it to snap. Other pieces I put in the bench vise, etc. Going over the score with the scoring knife three or four times made the snapping work almost all the time. The only thing I couldn't do, of course, was "go around a corner" - i.e. every cut had to be across the full width of the piece. It's been a little laborious but suits my work method, which has been to do a couple hours at a time evenings and weekends. -- H
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It's been a little laborious but suits my work method, which has been to do a couple hours at a time evenings and weekends. -- H
You got it done, and you are happy with the results. What else matters?
But tile saws ARE fun to work with if you are doing a big job, or exacting stuff.
Steve
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