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Cutting 10mm thick porcelain tiles - wet saw blades?

Discussion in 'Tiling' started by matberks, 5 Jun 2014.

  1. matberks

    matberks

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    Hi,
    Just doing my bathroom and have a couple more rooms to tile so I invested in a wet tile cutter. It's not the most expensive - an Erbauer from screwfix, but it seems an ok piece of kit. However the blade it came with seems pretty poor - it's blunt after about 10 tiles and has left small chips along the cuts which isn't ideal, but they're floor tiles so the edges will be covered. I don't want to continue doing visible areas though if the quality of the cut is going to be as average as it is at the moment.

    My tiles are 66cm x 44cm, so tricky to cut. I'm going to replace the blade on the Erbauer and get a more pricey one. Anyone have any recommendations on a new 180mm blade that cuts porcelain nicely? I don't mind investing a bit into it as I've got more to do.

    I've seen a Spectrum SL-Pro in Tool Station - supposedly the "ultimate tile cutting disc", and other people have recommended Norton and Marcrist (although I've seen some bad reviews on these).

    Any experiences you can share would be much appreciated.

    On another note, I've also go to cut radiator pipe holes in 1 tile and a cut out for a shaver socket - any tips on porecelain this thick/tough?
     
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  3. SimonH2

    SimonH2

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    If you're wearing out the blades and chipping the tile then I think your technique is wrong.

    I used a fairly inexpensive wet cutter from Topps Tiles when my mate was doing his bathroom. Did a few thick floor tiles and never noticed either of the problems you mention.

    First think is: are you working with the tile face uppermost ? If so then the disk should always be cutting downwards into the tile and it should never chip - except possibly at the end of the cut when you get down to just a sliver of tile still connecting the parts.
    Then the main thing is not to force the tile, just gently slide it along and let the disk cut it at it's own pace.
     
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  4. ban-all-sheds

    ban-all-sheds

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    For the pipe holes I'd say one of those diamond hole saws which uses a rubber guide rather than an arbor bit.

    Cut out for a shaver socket - hmmm.

    Maybe a multitool like the Bosch GOP 250? Or careful stitch drilling? (An oversized flat plate socket would be a help there).

    Or ask yourself if you really need a shaver socket.
     
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  5. SimonH2

    SimonH2

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    Yes, diamond hole saws for the pipes. Again, irrigate well, don't force the tool, and don't run the tool too fast - patience is key !

    For the socket, though it's probably too late now, try and arrange it so it's not in the middle of a tile. It's a lot easier cutting a part hole in from the edge of a tile than cutting a closed hole out of the middle.

    I'd suggest roughing out a hole smaller than you need to make it easier to see where you're working, then with the tile face uppermost, you can carefully lower the tile onto the cutting disk (sort of "hinge" it down with one edge on the machine table) so the disk cuts through from behind.
    You'll have to cut further than you need at the back (so there'll be some slots at the end of the cuts) but these won't show from the front.
    It'll be fiddly cutting right into the corners, finish off with a diamond file to square them out.
     
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  6. ban-all-sheds

    ban-all-sheds

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    Or ask yourself if you really need a shaver socket. Do people still use corded shavers?
     
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  7. matberks

    matberks

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    Thanks for the advice everyone. Yes, I have followed all the recommendations I've seen about cutting slow, disk the riight way around, using clean water each time on the saw, even placing masking or duck tape on the cut line, but no luck. To be honest I think the blade wasn't up to it - the Erbauer blade gets pretty poor reviews online, so i'm hoping buying a better blade will do the trick.

    On the shaver socket - I haven't started the walls yet and I carefully wired in enough cable to be able to move its position, so I may well try get it where a tile joins. I was touch and go as to whether to have one too - it's just for tooth brush charging. Our old shaver socket broke and we ended up having tooth brushes plugged in various sockets around the house which was annoying.

    Good idea on trying to cut the socket hole. If I can avoid doing it I will, but potentially lowering the tile onto the blade could work, albeit maybe a bit dangerous. I've seen socket holes done on youtube with small angle grinders. I've got a large angle grinder, but i'm not going to invest in a small one just for 1 socket (can you fit a small angle grinder blade on a large angle grinder?).

    Radiatior pipes are going to be tricky, but i've no choice but to give it a go. I'll take the advice here and try it - drilling a smaller hole first is a good idea. Have a mate who is going to lend me his diamond bits and he did holes on his porcelain tiles. Hopefully they're still sharp enough.

    My tiles are big - 66cm by 44cm, and at over £20 a pop it's frustrating when you bodge one! Still, can use them for smaller cuts.

    Will update once I have a new blade and let you know if it's any good.
     
  8. freddiemercurystwin

    freddiemercurystwin

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    Shaver sockets are essential for toothbrush charges nowadays.
     
  9. SimonH2

    SimonH2

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    On using hole saws ...

    You can get a guide to keep it in position like this or this.
    I've not used one of those, I've only done them freehand.

    To do it freehand, you need to hold the drill bit at an angle to the tile, run the drill at a moderate speed (not too fast), and gently bring the tool down to the tile. It'll try and drive itself off to one side, so you need to go gently and be ready for it.
    At first, it'll cut a curved groove into the tile, and as this gets deeper it'll help in keeping the tool in place.

    When you've enough of a groove, you can start slowly bringing the tool round to perpendicular - so the curved groove gets longer and eventually joins up into a full circle. Once the edge of the tool is in a groove, it'll keep itself in place and you just need to let it cut it's way through - again, don't apply too much pressure and keep it well irrigated.

    I recommend you practice on an offcut before tacking a full tile ! It's not hard, but it does take practice.

    If you try working without a fixed guide, and applying the tool flat onto the tile, then it will just skate all over the place and make a mess. I'll pass that on for free and leave you to guess how I know :rolleyes:
     
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  11. SimonH2

    SimonH2

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    Oh yes, on the socket ...
    By far the easiest arrangement would be for the socket to lie over a corner of 4 adjacent tiles - then you just need to "notch out" the corners. You could put the top or bottom of the socket just over the grout line and only cut 2 tiles.

    Aesthetics plays a part, in that for it to "look balanced" you need the socket to be dead centre on the grout lines. This means very careful planning if it's not going to "look like it was supposed to be centred but isn't".

    Alternatively, make it so it's clearly not meant to be centred - but personally I wouldn't find that pleasing to the eye.

    And of course, if you have a socket (or anything else) spanning across multiple tiles, it'll accentuate any lippage - ie if you have a tile sticking out and not flat with it's neighbour, the gap behind one side of the socket will accentuate it.
     
  12. ban-all-sheds

    ban-all-sheds

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    True, but they can be better inside a cupboard, guess it depends if you always use the charger as a place to park the handle, or if you have 2 handles, one on charge and the other in use.

    Also, anybody planning to use one for that should check that the socket can be used for the load of the charger for the length of time it would be charging, it isn't always OK. Another benefit of putting it inside a cupboard is that you no longer need the sort with an isolating transformer, you can use a plain one, which is cheaper, smaller, and doesn't have any current or duty cycle limits. Or you can likewise install a socket which will take a CEE 7/16 plug, change the plug(s) on the charger(s) and you'll be all set for when you take the charger off on holiday.

    Don't believe the hype about the interchangeability of BS 4573 / IEC 60884-1 shaver plugs and not a CEE 7/16 Europlugs.

    They look similar, but CEE 7/16 Europlug pins are 19 mm long. They consist of a 9 mm long conductive tip of 4 mm diameter with a rounded ending, followed by a 10 mm long flexible insulated shaft of not more than 3.8 mm diameter. The two pins are not exactly parallel and converge slightly; their centres are 17.5 mm apart at the tip and 18.6 mm apart at the base.

    They can be inserted into any socket that accepts 4 mm round contacts spaced 19 mm apart.

    BS 4573 / IEC 60884-1 shaver plugs have larger pins (5.08mm) which are closer together (15.88mm).

    The bendy pins of the Europlug mean that it can be forced into a shaver socket, but then there's a risk that the tips, being larger than the shaft, will catch on something and you won't get it out.

    Conversely, a shaver plug forced into a Europlug socket can leave the pin receptacles enlarged so that Europlugs are loose.
     
  13. freddiemercurystwin

    freddiemercurystwin

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  14. SimonH2

    SimonH2

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    Got any references for that ?
    Doesn't sound right to me, the load is very low (probably lower than that of a shaver), and anything like that that cannot be left switched on for an indefinite time is (IMO) not suitable for a domestic environment. Away from an environment where you can control who uses the equipment, there's no way you can rely on operating instructions to get round a design deficiency like that.
     
  15. ban-all-sheds

    ban-all-sheds

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    I've seen one which is just a plastic sheet, around 5mm thick, with a set of holes in it. I don't think, though, that you can buy them on their own. I had the great pleasure to win a set of arbor-less diamond hole saws in a competition once, only to find that they did not come with the guide, and the *&^%"$£!#@ makers wouldn't sell me a guide on its own, only with a set of saws, which I didn't need.

    You can see them in the foreground

    [​IMG]

    Were I ever to need to use the saws on a tile, I'd get a piece of ply or MDF, make a hole in it with a wood holesaw and clamp the tile and guide together. Cant see it being worth buying one of the guides you show for a one-off drilling of a few holes.


    In the absence of a guide I would recommend using a holesaw which has a pilot drill, if you can get one small enough.
     
  16. SimonH2

    SimonH2

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    Oh yes, now I look I see there are tools in the photo :LOL:
    Notice how they only say to use the guide to get your mark, then the tool just stays put in the hole already formed. Getting started without a guide isn't hard.

    I've done this with thick hard floor tiles (10 and 15mm IIRC), and with softer wall tiles (up to 40-something mm).

    As you say, it was hard to justify the cost of a guide for a small number of holes.
     
  17. ban-all-sheds

    ban-all-sheds

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    http://www.theiet.org/forums/forum/messageview.cfm?catid=205&threadid=27051

    http://www.diynot.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=253818


    Probably, but then a shaver is only in use for a few minutes.

    As I said, it's not definite that it won't work, you need to check with the manufacturer of the socket.


    It's not a design deficiency. The charger will consume the power it needs to consume, and it will be quite happy to be permanently powered. It is not the maker's fault if the owner chooses an inappropriate accessory through which to power it. AFAIK this is the only country in the world* where the outlet would have an isolating transformer in it.

    * OK - maybe also Eire, Cyprus and a few other colonial remnants.
     
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