Diamond Saw Blade

It costs more, but rarely needs sharpening. Is it worth it? April 10, 2005

I am considering going to a diamond blade on our sliding table saw. Here are our specifics: We cut veneered panels only. We cut plywood and MDF core. We do not use scoring. We currently sharpen our Leitz blades every 2 weeks. I am not sure how long the blades will last - it is safe to say less then a year. The blade must be cleaned every day. We keep the blade tilted 50% of the time which causes extra friction which causes the blade to get dirty quickly.

My questions: Does anyone have experience with diamond blades? How long might I expect the blade to last? Can it be re-sharpened or the equivalent? When our blade starts to get dull it needs to be cleaned more often - is cleaning frequency different with diamond? Can we use standard saw cleaner? If there is another question I should be asking, what is it?

Forum Responses
(Solid Wood Machining Forum)
From contributor A:
All of the diamond blades that I am familiar with use abrasion to cut hard materials like tile and stone. I never heard of a wood-cutting diamond blade, but I will be very interested and surprised if there is such a thing.

From contributor B:
Why does your blade get dirty when you only cut MDF and VC? I donít think sharpening the blade once a week is enough to justify a diamond blade. Some shops sharpen their blades every day. Diamond blades are expensive but will stay sharp for a very long time.

From the original questioner:
To contributor B: It is simple mathematics. The yearly cost of the blade(s) and sharpening is around $900. I have read a diamond blade can last years. If the blade is less then $1,800 and it will last two years I want to consider it. If, because it stays sharper, I don't need to spend 15 minutes a day cleaning it, that is a savings. 15 minutes a day is over $1,000 a year in labor. I realize it will likely need to be cleaned but hopefully less often. I think we need to clean often because we tilt the blade quite a bit and it causes a lot of friction.

From contributor C:
With out knowing the size, but assuming itís a 12" (300mm), cost would be under $2000.00 for a fully serviceable unit. Service on our product is 8+ times. We use a nick-alloy coating that assists in the resin from building up on the blade. PCD type tools enjoy a constant feed - this is where you achieve the longest tool life, probably double that of a manual fed tool. Again assuming that your machine is a manual fed type unit, you can expect 30 to 40 times the life versus carbide. I hope with this information you can decide if this is a cost savings to your operations.

From the original questioner:
To contributor C: Thanks for the input. I have a few questions. What do you mean by serviceable? Assuming it is sharpening or equivalent, what does that cost?

From contributor C:
Serviceable means it can be serviced or sharpened. A ball park price for sharpening is about $300.00. This does not include adding a PCD tip.

The comments below were added after this Forum discussion was archived as a Knowledge Base article (add your comment).

Comment from contributor D:
Some wood blades are diamond tipped, but they cannot be sharpened! Tilesaw blades have diamond dust adhered to them with an epoxy. If you overheat the blade the epoxy breaks down and eventually you get a dull blade that fails to cut like a new one. Tilesaw blades rely on water cooling. If you force the work to be cut the epoxy adhesive breaks down and there goes the diamond dust along with the water. You cannot re-sharpen a tilesaw blade.