What Do You Cut Quartz Surfaces With?
On the surface it sounds like an easy enough question to answer. Yet, that is only true if assumptions are made. For example, what is meant by the term "quartz"? After all, there are a number of materials that name describes. In this article, the material we are talking about is the surface material referred to as quartz (also called engineered stone or engineered quartz). We will explore the subject of cutting quartz from a number of angles and we will also delve into some options for choosing blades used for cutting quartz.
Why Cutting Quartz Requires Tough Blades
As you can probably imagine, not all materials are the same when it comes to cutting them. Some materials are soft and others are extremely hard. Even in the case of solid rock, the hardness varies. For example calcareous stone such as marble, limestone, onyx, and travertine is relatively "soft" compared to harder stone like granite, quartzite, and some sandstone slabs. What about engineered quartz slabs?
Quartz slabs are hard and even rival the hard natural stones mentioned in the previous paragraph. Yes, just because engineered quartz is a man-made material that does not mean that it is a soft one. Being a material that is on the hard end of the spectrum of material hardness, quartz can be challenging to cut if the wrong blades are chosen. Anyone that has cut hard surfaces knows that the tools make a difference in the success of the cut. So, examining the answer to the question, "What do you cut quartz with?" is worth the effort.
Can You Cut Quartz With a Diamond Blade?
If you are familiar with various blades types, you might be wondering about diamond blades. If you are not familiar with various blade types, you may be wondering exactly what a diamond blade is. Without going off on a tangent regarding diamond blade structure and features, the answer can be summed up the way it is defined on Wikipedia, which is:
A diamond blade is a saw blade which has diamonds fixed on its edge for cutting hard or abrasive materials.
Easy enough to understand. It is the diamonds on the edge of the blade that actually cut the material. So, can you cut quartz with a diamond blade? The answer is yes. Cutting hard materials such as quartz are exactly what diamond blades are made for. But just any diamond blade won't necessarily be the best one for quartz. Diamond blades are made using various designs and they are made for specific materials. Some diamond blades work best on soft materials and others are better for hard materials. And then there are blades made for brittle materials too. Knowing which blades work best for quartz is key.
Best Blade for Cutting Engineered Quartz
As we mentioned, not all diamond blades perform the same when they are used to cut quartz. After all, not all blades are made using the same technology, materials, and design. So what is the best diamond blade for cutting quartz? A diamond blade with a high concentration of diamonds in a soft bond (the material that holds the diamonds) has proven to be the most effective for cutting quartz. And yet, even though you may have the best tools, you still must operate the machinery and use the diamond blade in a way that yields the best results.
How to Get the Best Results Cutting Quartz
Getting the best performance from a diamond blade when cutting quartz relies upon various factors which are determined by the blade's manufacturer. Each blade is designed to perform well using certain saw speeds and settings. The testing done by the manufacturer is done to zero in on the optimal settings for the saw and the blade. Therefore, when you select a diamond blade for cutting quartz, be sure to get the parameters for which the blade is designed. Following the guidelines set out for the blade's manufacturer will ensure the best results. As an example, the Grey Leopard quartz blade offered here on our site has the following specs for its optimal operation.
|Circumferential speeds of approx. 30 to 45 m/s possible.
|Optimal use at approx. 39-41m/sec (e.g. DRM 400mm/1900-2000 rpm)
|Feed (Granite) with full cut from 3cm - 2.0 to 5.0m/min
|Feed (Granite) with full cut from 2cm - 3.0 to 6.0m/min
|Feed (Granite) with lowering process 1.0-2.0cm - 3.0 to 5.0m/min
|Full cuts up to 4cm possible (feed up to 4.0 meters/min possible if the Speed is adjusted to 45m/sec)
Note: If the circumferential speed is high, it is essential to cut quickly. If the peripheral speed is low, it is best to cut slowly.
Not every quartz blade will have the same specs so be sure to research the specs for the blade you choose for your task.
Choosing a Diamond Blade to Cut Quartz
Even though you locate a diamond blade that will cut quartz, you will find that there are considerations beyond the manufacturer's specs. What are some of those? Well, a couple of them are quality and price. These two aspects of diamond blade shopping often fight for the attention of the consumer. Let's take a look these two facets of blade selection and see why it is good to consider them.
Economy Quartz Blades
If pricing is a major factor in your consideration of a diamond blade for cutting engineered quartz, then you may find that browsing for economy quartz blades may prove to be a good option. Yet, not all economy blades are the same. Additionally, you will find that economy blades are used by more fabrication shops than you might initially expect. In fact, some high production shops have the practice of using economy blades. Another scenario where economy quartz blades proves to be effective is when the consumer will most likely only be using the blade for a minimal number of projects and then will not use them again. In both cases, the concept is that the blade needs to perform well, but the value is measured not in the price alone. Rather, the value is measured in cost per linear foot of cut.
Do the Cheapest Quartz Blades Cut the Best?
Lower cost blades in many cases are inferior to the more expensive and higher quality blades when you compare the performance over the course of the life of the blade. Getting the "best" cutting blade, as we mentioned above, will depend on multiple factors. If the amount of cutting being done is extremely high and the blade is a low enough cost, it might make sense for you to purchase more blades and use them while they are performing at their peek and then dispose of them and replace with a new one. This method can be cost effective if the cheap blade performs well for the money and the shop is high volume.
Quality Blades for Cutting Engineered Quartz
On the other hand, a number of shops seek out the highest quality blades for cutting quartz. The higher the quality, the cleaner the cut as a general rule. And the cleaner the cut, the easier the following tasks usually are. If you are looking for good quality blades for cutting hard stone such as quartz, you will find that they offer great performance and are used by a number of fabricators because of the performance.
So to answer the original question, "What do you cut quartz with?", the answer is not as simple as you might think. If you are looking to do one project and no more then you might be able get by with the cheapest diamond blade for quartz. However, keep in mind that there are some economy blades that are better than others. Or if you are launching a fabrication shop and want to find out which quality quartz diamond blade will be the best option for your operation, you might want to consider some of the higher quality bridge saw blades designed for cutting quartz and other hard materials. It really depends on the amount of quartz cutting you will be doing and how many other materials you will use the blades on. Whatever your scenario is, there is sure to be a blade out there to do the job. And it is probably a diamond blade.