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BriggsARNP 04-30-2011 09:28 PM

Water Saw vs Compound mitre saw
I notice that everyone seems to spring for the Harbor freight water saw which looks like a wonderful tool. In the pompeii oven plans it says that you can use a circular saw. Is this actually possible? I see diamond blades for compound saws at Lowes etc. Has anyone actually used one? I am hoping to be able to do a 42" pompeii but I am trying to get all of my ducks in a row before starting. Thanks

Lburou 05-05-2011 07:37 AM

Hello :)

My best friend made a pompeii oven with a chop saw. It was fine, but posed some important considerations.
First, you must take precautions not to breathe the brick dust, an issue reduced substantially with a wet saw, but always a concern.

Second, you will use several expensive blades with dry cutting.
I'm sure you can either buy a wet saw on craigslist or sell the HF saw there after you are finished using it.

A few members here are using a four inch grinder with a masonary blade for the more intricate cutting, after using a chisel to break the bricks in half for most of the dome. So, there is wide latitude in the possibilities, shaped by your own situation of time, skills & money to spend. :)

A lot more advice on getting started on is here.

RTflorida 05-05-2011 09:40 AM

Re: Water Saw vs Compound mitre saw
I'm a big supporter of a wet saw. WAY too much dust grinding and cutting dry. I have neighbors within close proximety as well as my own home being just 20 feet away.....dust goes everywhere.
I do alot of everything, so I've owned a wet saw for at least 15 yrs. Tile work, brick, stone, granite and marble tile; I couldn't imagine not having one at this point. The HF saw is a good value for the money. I have used mine on several big tile projects since my oven build, still works like a champ (I typically hate Chinese power tools and small electronics, you usually get what you pay for - lousy product for cheap).
I would also note - You CAN do very intricate cutting with a wet saw. Just don't bog down the blade trying to go too fast. A diamond blade on a wet saw is about the safest saw of any kind to use, you can hold your finger on the blade and not get cut (not that I recommend it). The worst injury I've ever seem is a friction burn if something "slips" during the cut and your hand or finger/knuckles graze the blade.

Never hurts to have an angle grinder as well, despite the dust it is quick at making adjustments if you don't have the wet saw set up.


BriggsARNP 05-05-2011 11:07 AM

Re: Water Saw vs Compound mitre saw
Thanks Lee and RT. I appreciate your comments. I have heard a lot about the dust being a problem but I wasn't sure how bad. It sounds like I may just need to save my pennies for the HF saw.

Lburou 05-05-2011 02:21 PM

Re: Water Saw vs Compound mitre saw
I use my saw more than I expected too. There is always one more space to tile :)

Check craigslist in your local area. I bought and sold a 7 inch tile saw with stand etc, and broke even after tiling three bathrooms and much of the living space in my house. Then, found a 10 inch saw there too. A 12 inch saw would be best, but haven't really priced them. :)

BriggsARNP 05-05-2011 02:43 PM

Re: Water Saw vs Compound mitre saw
Right now there is one for $175. It was purchased in 1986 and is about 75 miles away. After gas for my truck to go round trip to get it I bet it will be better to buy a new one. I am a long way away from starting to cut bricks so I will keep my eyes peeled. Thanks for the advice.

Neil2 05-05-2011 04:41 PM

Re: Water Saw vs Compound mitre saw
I would avoid using a circular saw. Not that safe for this application in my opinion.

RTflorida 05-05-2011 04:55 PM

Re: Water Saw vs Compound mitre saw
Pretty awkward, cutting a 9" long brick with a circular saw. Hate to mention the dust issue again, BUT...the fine dust will ruin the saw. A standard circular saw ($29 - $129 at your local big box) does not have sealed bearings and that dust will destroy it it no time. The really expensive concrete and paver saws can handle it, but are 2-3 times the size and cost.
Best advice is to look for a used wet saw or take advantage of the HF 20% off coupon and sales days, I think you can still pick up the new one for around $200 on the right day with the coupon.


BriggsARNP 05-05-2011 07:55 PM

Re: Water Saw vs Compound mitre saw
RT I get the idea that the dust is a BIG deal so please don't worry about reemphasizing it. Is the coupon something that you can get online?

RTflorida 05-05-2011 09:22 PM

Re: Water Saw vs Compound mitre saw
I know the coupon is in a continuous ad that runs in several magazines every month. 2 that come to mind are Motor Trend and Road & Track, I'm sure it is in more trade related magazines as well. I have also received the ad as part of my 'junk mail' bundle that comes in the mail every week. They also offer the coupon code on their website and I believe they have ads and flyers in the stores that you can pickup as you walk in the door. If you have a local store, you may want to call them and ask when their next sale event will be. Some areas call it a parking lot sale, my local store calls it a sidewalk sale since they are not allowed to block any of the shared parking lot. Seems the tile saw is always included in the sale days...and you can use the coupon.



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