Maintaining a Wet Saw
The entire saw mechanism should be rinsed with clean water (with power off to the saw, of course), and all bearing surfaces wiped down with an oily rag. Water-cooled, diamond wet saws operate in a very harsh environment, and they need to be cleaned between uses if smooth, accurate operation are important for the kind of cutting tasks you need to complete. It will contribute to the longevity of both the blade and the coolant pump if you exchange fresh water for dirty coolant every 100 cuts or so. Drain the water into 5-gallon buckets, remove off-cuts, broken bits and chips from the catch basin, and rinse the basin into another 5-gallon bucket before filling it with fresh water.
Many commercial shops are required to install settling tanks or lined ponds to keep cutting and fabrication effluent from entering municipal wastewater treatment systems. If controlling wet-saw wastewater is an issue, smaller amounts can settle in 5-gallon buckets, single 30- or 50-gallon drums, or a sequential series of drums built specifically by a plumber for the purpose.
There are many workable saws that weigh less than 40 pounds and that can be carried easily by one person, and there are many professional saws that require two people to setup and store for transport. Either way, every wet saw should have a solid, level, and supported place in the truck, van or trailer to ensure that it does not tip, slide, or collide while in transit. If it is going to be shop-stored between uses, make sure the storage area is cool, dry, and shaded from the elements and direct rays of the sun.
Blade Selection Wet-cutting diamond blades are available for soft and hard tiles, and using the wrong blade usually results in slow cutting and a shorter life. So-called “all-purpose” blades often give less than desirable performance regardless of the material being cut. Packed in my blade box are two for soft and hard material, a specialty blade for cutting tough porcelain tiles, a worn blade that I use exclusively for free-hand cutting, and an even worse blade (not cracked or broken, however!) that I use to put a sharp edge on carbide-tipped masonry drill bits. All my wet-saw blades have continuous rims, which produce the smoothest cut edge, unlike segmented rims, which are the feature of most dry-cutting blades and are used primarily for rough work.
Since one side of the diamond-impregnated cutting rim blade is favored (and wears down more) during hand-held work, I do not use this particular blade for any other cutting task since, on straight cuts, the uneven blade tends to cut into the tile on a curve—a dangerous situation that can cause bits of the rim to fly off.
Since so much of my work involves mosaics, inlays, and irregular shapes, I need an array of tools that goes beyond one rather small wet saw for hand-held work, and another for straight cutting. To meet any cutting challenge, I also use traditional snap cutters and biters, dry-cutting diamond blades mounted in a circular saw or angle grinder, diamond core bits for drilling holes, motorized ring saws for intricate cutting, plus a variety of hand and power sanding and grinding tools.