Masonry Stone Cutting Tools

Written by shane grey
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Masonry Stone Cutting Tools
The wet saw cuts slabs and stone tiles. (saw-blade image by sumos from Fotolia.com)

Masons, members of an age-old trade, use both traditional hand tools and modern, engine-driven equipment to cut stone. Whether cutting stone tiles, blocks or slabs, masonry stone cutting tools reduce the time and effort required to slice through seemingly impenetrable materials, such as granite and marble.

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Chisel

The traditional stonemason's chisel provides a manual means of chipping and cutting natural stone materials. In its basic form, the chisel is a single piece of metal, tapered to a thin, straight edge at one side. Opposite the edged side, a chisel forms a rod-like, flat-butted handle. To cut through stone, a stonemason holds the straight edge of the chisel against a work piece and pounds the flat butt of the handle with a mallet.

Grinder

The grinder, sometimes called an "angle grinder," is a modern power tool used to cut not only stone, but masonry, metal and wood. The grinder slices through stone materials with a spinning, abrasive blade. Stone-cutting grinder blades are coated with mineral grit, such as carbide or diamond. An electric or pneumatic motor typically powers this tool. The term "angle grinder" refers to a tool whose blade spins at an angle perpendicular to its body. The unique position of the angle grinder blade allows a stonemason to cut across both flat and curved surfaces at an angle. Grinder blades generally range from 3 to 7 inches in diameter.

Cut Off Saw

The cut off saw is an industrial strength incarnation of the grinder. Like grinders, cut off saws shear through stone with a spinning, abrasive blade. Cut off saw blades often exceed 12 inches in diameter and slice through thick slabs of granite and natural stone. Powered by internal combustion engines, these tools typically require dual-handed operation.

Masonry Wet Saw

The term "masonry wet saw" refers to both table-mounted and walk-behind tools that distribute water across their cutting surface and blade. The masonry wet saw's distinguishing characteristic is its water pump and distribution system. These tools circulate water across both stone and blade for lubrication and cooling. The cooling and lubrication effects of the water reduce the creation of dust and extend the life of the cutting blade. Stonemasons use table-mounted wet saws to cut stone tiles and granite countertop slabs and walk-behind wet saws to cut through installed stone floors and concrete slabs.

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