Diamonds and Slabs

Shopping for a new diamond blade can be difficult due to a lack of specifications and comparative data.  Fortunately, I found a great new blade for my MK-2000 brick saw.  I’ve summarized some observations below.

My old Felker TM-2 diamond blade is almost ready to retire, and I decided it was time to get another.  I’ve had it for ages; I don’t do much cutting.  However, Felker was acquired by Husqvarna and the TM-2 was discontinued.  My TM-2 was a dream; its was a fast, sturdy, and stable blade, and cut quickly through thick material with minimal chipping and blowout.  While great for slabs, it was also adequate for free-cutting of blown shapes.

Diamond blades are prone to chipping the glass where the blade exits the material (the underside of the cut).  Chipping seems to be substantially reduced when the entire thickness of the continuous diamond rim is allowed to exit the cut.  A downward force of the blade on the material tends to produce more chipping and blowout than applying a lateral pressure to move the material thru a fixed blade.  A scissor-like combination of these two seems to cut the material more  quickly but also with more minimal chipping.

The Superlok GM by Husqvarna is the best blade I’ve yet tried for cutting slabs thicker than 1/2″.  Master Wholesale of Seattle confirmed that this is blade is the official replacement for the old TM-2; their customer service is fast and fantastic.  It cut my 1.5″ slab sample with minimal effort, with nice squareness and minimal chipping on the underside.  All things considered; the chipping was not any worse than some of the others blades I’ve tried.

I also bought a 12″ MK blade from a friend who wasn’t using it much; I think its the MK-215GL.  This blade cuts much slower than the Superlok GM; its also thinner, but the cuts were still very square.  I like it for slabs and other “flat” materials under 0.5″ in thickness.  It is not suitable for cutting thin, dimensional material.

The Result blade from His Glassworks was the most expensive of the three, and was recommended by them as the best blade for cutting slabs.  Unfortunately this is not the case.  While this blade had the least amount of chipping on the underside, its the thinnest of the three and it walked in each and every cut, sometimes by as much as 1/4″ in 4.  This was the case regardless of the force applied,  thickness of material, or duration of the cut.  It was also the thinnest of the three, and its so thin that the freely rotating blade can develop a laterial harmonic vibration, especially if tapped.  While this blade is not suitable for cutting slab material, it may be fine for cutting thin blown shapes though I have not yet tried it.  I would not buy another Result blade.

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