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
I agree. It will certainly "work" but concrete dust is not good for a
I have an old Craftsman circular saw with a broken blade guard
(unobtanium) and I just keep a diamond blade in it for cutting
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.
Heart surgery pending?
Read up and prepare.
Learn how to care for a friend.
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.
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.
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
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 :)
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
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
So, I purchased a Makita 2414NB on sale :)
Thanks for all your responses.
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.
I was told the PC was not suitable by the PC tech rep. The Makita
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.
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.
So buy the Makita chop-saw- and saw wood with it. Don't ruin it
with masonry dust.
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