How to Cut Rocks with a Tile Saw

Want to cut rocks with a tile saw but don’t know what the right procedure to apply is? Don’t fret; we are here to teach you how to cut rocks with a tile saw in the safest and most appropriate manner.

A tile saw can help you shape the rock precisely and quickly. But operating a tile saw isn’t like a piece of cake and a simple mistake can cause serious damage. Despite you can’t cut any rock using a tile saw. Its meaningless rock-cutting process takes plenty of consideration.

In this post, we have included all the ins and outs of cutting rocks with a tile saw and mentioned a few alternative tools for the same job.

Types of Tile Saw for Cutting Rocks

You need a tile saw with the right size blade and a quality cooling system. Applying a tile saw is a money-saving move. But the typical saw has a wider blade than your project requires. Because of the saw blades width, you have to accept the elimination of lots of material.

Despite simple tile saws include an ordinary cooling system. Blade gets wet while spinning while sitting in the water. Keeping the rock wet is vital for both a smooth finish and safety. Wet rock produces mud rather than dangerous dust. Cutting the dry stone won’t be worth it. You can pick from these two tile saws:

QEP 22400Q Torque Master Tile Saw- it’s a highly effective tool for your purpose and is perfectly suited to working as a slab saw and trim saw. In particular, it has quite a smaller blade.

SKIL 7-Inch Wet Tile saw – it’s a good option for bigger projects and quite durable.

How to Cut Rocks with a Tile Saw

You have to cut the rough rock accurately to get the required piece, and the tile saw works really well. A tile saw, on the other hand, can cut through 7th-grade and higher rocks.

Check the Hardness of the Rocks

The first task is to determine the hardness of the rocks. The hardness level depends on the minerals present in the rock. Below is a list of different types of rock with their hardness levels following the Moh’s rock hardness scale:

MineralsHardness
Diamond10
Corundum9
Apatite5
Topaz8
Quartz7
Calcite3
Orthoclase6
Fluorite4
Gypsum2
Talc1

Check the hardness level of your rock that needs to be cut, and if it is 7 or higher than that, proceed to the next step.

Note: Except for the Moh’s test, you can use rebound devices to measure the hardness level of your rock.

Get ready and prepare for the workplace

Take your wet tile saw and check the quality of the cutter on the blade. If it’s not good, replace the blade with a diamond-tipped saw blade. You must wear safety gear like glasses, gloves, and earbuds.

You should also wear a plastic coat as it will protect you from the mess that may come from cutting. Collect a marker too.

Check the Water Reservoir

The water reservoir of the wet tile saw should have enough water to keep the rock and the saw blade cool for a long time. So, check the water system and, if required, add some. You may also have to decrease the water to ensure perfect submersion of the saw blade. It is also better to keep the extra water reservoir near the tool so you can add water whenever required.

Prepare the rocks

Wet the rocks in the water and mark them with a graphite pencil. It will help lead the saw blade through a precise cut.

Then, place your rock on the work table and make sure both remain stable. Otherwise, it can cause serious injury during the cutting of the rocks.

Take a safe Position

Stand on the opposite side of the rock so you can draw it towards you while cutting. This position is perfect for plenty of other purposes.

You will face less mess if you pull the rock rather than pushing it. This practice is also good for wet saw tiles. While operating the wet saw tile, bringing the rocks towards the user while cutting will splash the water in the opposite direction.

Cut the Rocks

After following the previous steps properly, you are ready to start cutting the rock. Turn on the wet tile saw and wait till it reaches full speed as it is better for cutting. Slowly start feeding the rock to the saw blade and pull it towards you, maintaining steady movement. Pulling the rocks with excess pressure will increase the risk of rock shattering and make the saw blade dull rapidly.

While cutting, if you notice redness on the rock, stop proceeding immediately and wait until the rock becomes cool. Following this practice will surely offer you a clean-cut over the rock, preventing shattering.

Alternatives of Tile Saw to Cut Rock

Whether you are using a wet tile saw or other tools, they must be harder than the rock. But some experienced rockhounds believe that the minerals in the rock can be disjointed with a sledgehammer and chisel regardless of their hardness. Thus, locating the weak point and learning the principles of rock composition can help you.

Alternatives of Tile Saw to Cut Rock

Some of the best rock cutting and breaking tools are:

These are the best tools for rockhounding. Let’s learn them separately:

The Geologist’s Hammer

It is also known as a rock pick, rock hammer, or geological pick. This geologist’s hammer has two heads where one is flat and the other one is either a pick or a chisel. The chisel head is used to remove debris, study fossils, and investigate open crevices. Conversely, the pick head hammer has a sharp point, making it perfect for harder rocks. Some common types of rock hammers are:

  • Pointed-tip rock hammer
  • Chisel-edge rock hammer
  • Crack hammer
  • Hybrid hammers

Diamond-tipped saw

A saw blade with a diamond fixed edge is effective for cutting hard materials. Diamond tipped saw blades come in a variety of forms and shapes. Among them, a circular saw is used broadly, and a gang saw blade is mainly used to cut raw stone blocks.

Diamond-tipped saws are commonly used in the gem industry, construction, and hobbyists’ shop for cutting concrete, stone, and glass.

You can use diamond blades on both wet and dry surfaces, but making the workpiece wet is a safe decision. A wet surface prevents the blade from overheating, reduces dust flying, and prolongs the blade’s life. Compared to the tile saw, the diamond-tipped saw is slightly more expensive, but still worth it for a long-life span.

Chisels

If you want the simplest method to cut rock, use a chisel and a hammer. But this alternative technique requires some consideration including. Properly angle the chisel and the hammer, grasping the rock in the correct position and applying the right amount of pressure.

Chisels have impressive hardness. Therefore, these tools are broadly used in the construction industry to splint stones like rocks, limestone, and granite.

Grinders

If you want to cut flagstones the best tool you can use is electric angle grinders. Grinder may come in different size angles. But a 4 or a 4 1/2-inch grinder is most effective for flagstones. For rock cutting, your grinder should have a 5 to 9 amps motor.  The grinder also comes with plenty of accessories and a variety of cutting wheels, making the rock cutting task more efficient. Comparing the wet tile saw, this grinder is also expensive. For your one-time rock cutting project renting a grinder will be a better decision than purchasing.

Operating a grinder also requires plenty of safety measures and the tool position is the most vital consideration. The position of your grinder should be oriented to allow the wheel to spin away from the angle. Despite you should run the diamond blade for a few minutes for better performance.

Dremel

If you want to cut gemstones but don’t have an interest in a faceting machine, invest in a Dremel hand tool. It’s a versatile rotary tool and suitable for a variety of activities including gem cutting, buffing, sanding, and polishing. For precise rock cutting, use a cordless Dremel with the right cutting accessories. Equipped with a rotary diamond wheel, Dremel can effectively cut concrete or marble. Dremel tools are also effective for carving stones and are considered a popular rockhounds kit.

A few Tips when Cutting Rocks with a Tile Saw

Shaping and cutting rock using a wet tile saw is considerably easier if you apply the right techniques. Below are a few tips to make the rock cutting task effective and effortless:

  • If you want consistent rock cutting with a set tile saw, you must check the water level to keep it full during the cutting process to prevent overheating the rock.
  • Put a visible mark on the rock so you can guide the rock precisely.
  • Your wet tile saw must reach a high speed before you start cutting the rocks.
  • Using a diamond-tipped blade is a good decision to have a clean and accurate cut
  • Keep a distance from the saw blade to remain safe from deadly stone chips.
  • To avoid unwanted distractions, use an air blower to thoroughly clean even the smallest of spaces.
  • If you feel confused, follow the tile saw’s user manual.

FAQs on How to Cut Rocks with a Tile Saw

Can I cut rock with a lapidary blade on a tile saw?

Yes, but you should be very cautious while cutting rock. Tile blades need to run at higher RPMs. But if you run a lapidary blade at a higher RPM, it will lose the edge quickly and may cause a serious problem if you mess up largely.

Should I lubricant the tile saw while cutting rock?

Applying lubricant is ok for tile saw but it’s not essential to even good practice when cutting rock. Tile saw will throw oil around along with the stone particles, resulting in a hard clean-up process.

Why wet tile saw is best for rock cutting?

A wet tile saw is a futuristic tool that can cut a wide variety of rock ranges from 0 to 67 grade. More importantly, a wet tile saw can offer cheap less cutting performance, making it the best cutting tool for rock.

Final words

Rock cutting may sound like a tough job and need a skilled person. Yet, you can turn it into a hobby using the right tool and following the proper process with complete focus. A wet tile saw equipped with a diamond-tipped blade is the primary tool here though some alternatives are also available. Despite you get an in-depth procedure of how to cut rocks with a tile saw to shape your rock smoothly, safely, and precisely.

Share on:

Sam Morgan is a professional interior designer and part time content writer of Machine Handyman. He is a lifelong tools enthusiast and loves accessories of all shapes and sizes! He always research on different types of improvement tools like drill, air compressor, saw, nail gun, screw gun, grinder, cutting tools etc. Sam works hard on his project and try to find out which machine or tool will get him perfect results.

Leave a Comment