Across sawmills and construction sites, large diameter blades rip, chop and shear through lumber, masonry and metal. Circular saws that use large diameter blades range from massive, stationary machines to mobile, engine-powered monsters. Whether you’re cutting concrete for plumbing repairs or milling timber, become familiar with saws that use large diameter blades and choose the right one for your project.
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The table saw employs an electric motor to spin a sharp-toothed circular blade. The table saw’s blade ranges from 10 to 20 inches or more in diameter. Table saw blades stick out from the centre of a stationary table. The machine’s operator pushes material, typically lumber and plywood, through the spinning blade. Most materials pushed through a table saw are cut along their length to reduce their width—this type of cut is called a “rip” cut. Circular saw blades which have few, large teeth create rough cuts through tough material. Circular saw blades which have many, small teeth are used to create fine cuts through thin or appearance-grade materials, such as cabinetry hardwoods and finish-grade plywood.
Radial Arm Saw
The radial arm saw suspends a large, circular blade above a stationary table. The radial arm saw’s blade ranges from 8 to 20 or more inches in diameter. The blade is attached to a retractable arm, and, when the machine’s electrical motor spins the blade, an operator pulls the arm across material resting on the stationary table. Radial arm saws are frequently used to make cuts across a board’s width to reduce its length—this type of cut is called a “crosscut”. Some radial arm saws tilt and rotate, allowing their operator to create angled cuts referred to as mitre cuts and bevel cuts.
Cut Off Saw
The cut off saw is a portable, engine-powered saw. Cut off saws employ an abrasive, circular blade, from 8 to 20 or more inches in diameter, to slice through tough materials, such as metal, masonry and stone. The cut off saw’s gas-powered, internal combustion engine supplies the torque and horsepower necessary to shear through hard surfaces. Cut off saw blades are coated with an abrasive mineral grit, such as diamond or carbide. Equipped with the right blade, a cut off saw cuts through steel beams just as easily and concrete slabs. Some cut off saws feature water pump and distribution systems that cool the blade and surface during masonry cutting operations. Such self-wetting saws are called “masonry wet saws” or “wet saws”.
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