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What are Diamond Saw Blades?

tools equipment 101 | Posted: 6/23/2021

Diamond blades aren’t made for cutting diamonds they’re made with diamonds. The Norton diamond blades are made from high-quality steel, and as the name would suggest, there are actual diamonds embedded in the blade!

Parts of a Diamond Blade

The diamonds in a diamond blade are not the same diamonds found in engagement rings—these shiny gems are all synthetic. This allows for control over key characteristics, such as crystal shape, size, and strength. A diamond blade is composed of three major parts: the core, the segment, and the gullets.

  1. The core is the central metal disc that the segments of the blade are attached to. The stronger the attachment to this core, the stronger the blade.
  2. The segment is a diamond-bonded piece of metal that is welded or brazed onto a blade’s core and is the main component in cutting or grinding materials.
  3. The gullets are the slots in the blade core that provide faster cooling—they do this by allowing water or air to flow between the segments. These also allow the blade to flex under cutting pressure. Diamond Saw Blades

Even though diamond blades are referred to as cutting tools, they’re actually grinding tools! As the saw blade rotates, the diamonds that are bonded to the edge of the blade are exposed, grinding through the material. Eventually, the exposed diamonds will fracture due to the pressure and heat and will fall off the blade. But that’s okay! Because these diamonds are embedded throughout the segment of the blade, new diamonds will be exposed as the blade is used. The 4x4 Max Cut Blade even has segment wear indicators to let you know how much life is left in your blade.

The diamonds in each segment are bonded to the blade through a variety of methods, but the most common is sintering. Sintering is the process of compressing powdered metal into a mold with so much force that it takes on the desired shape. Then, the metal pieces are heated, sometimes for days, until the metal has bonded together. For diamond blades, synthetic diamonds are scattered throughout the metal powder in order to create a diamond-infused bond. This bond varies between different levels of softness and hardness for each blade. That’s because as the blade is used, the bond is designed to wear down and expose more and more of the diamonds. This way, the blade stays sharp and cuts better for longer.

The speed at which a bond wears down is just as important as choosing the blade itself. Often the bond hardness is the opposite of the material to be cut. For instance, porcelain, a very hard, less abrasive material, needs to be cut with a soft bond. This allows for a specific rate of wear, to match the material being cut. If porcelain was cut with a hard bond, new diamonds would not be exposed and the blade wouldn’t be doing its job. On the other hand, soft and abrasive materials, like asphalt or concrete, need to be cut with a hard blade to maintain the lifespan of the blade. Remember—opposites attract!

How to Choose the Right Blade?

Here at, we carry multiple styles of Norton Blades. But with so many blades to choose from, how do you know which one you need? Well, comparing your material to the bond strength can help to figure out whether or not the blade will work for your job, but that’s not the only thing that affects your cut! One of the major factors to consider is the application of the blade, or, the kind of cutting you’re using it for. The application will determine what type of blade will be best for the job, whether that’s a segmentedturbo, or continuous rim.

Type of Blades

Segmented Rim Blades

A segmented rim, like the Max-Cut Blade, provides a fast and rough cut. They’re mainly used for concrete, brick, masonry, and asphalt. Segmented blades can be used for dry or wet applications since the gullets or segments on the edge of the blade allow for airflow and cooling of the blade core. The size and shape of the gullets vary from blade to blade and will largely depend on the type of material you’re cutting.

Diamond Saw Blades
View More Segmented Rim Blades

For instance, this multi-purpose diamond blade has anti-crack gullets to allow for enhanced safety while cutting steel and metal up to 5 mm thick. These keyhole-shaped gullets result in less chipping of the material and reduced vibration levels, which significantly decreases the risk of the blade core cracking under even the harshest conditions. The multi-purpose blade also has depth indicators on the gullets, which not only cools the blade but also helps to control the depth of each cut.

On the other hand, the Duo-Asphalt blade has scoop-shaped gullets for faster removal of fine materials and an increased cutting speed. This blade is mainly used for cutting asphalt, concrete, and other abrasive materials. As a general rule, the more abrasive the material, the wider the gullet should be to allow for better heat dissipation. The segment on this blade is also pretty unique—it’s laser-welded to the core which makes it stronger, and longer-lasting than the competition. All three of these blades, the Max-Cut, multi-purpose, and duo-asphalt are hard-bond blades, so they do better cutting softer materials.

Turbo Blades

Now, for a softer bond, you’re going to want to look for a Turbo blade, like the aero-jet blade. These blades are excellent for cutting ceramic and stone tiles, granite, marble, and other very hard and dense materials. These blades are also designed to cut fast in both wet and dry applications. With the solid, serrated cutting edge, they stay in constant contact with the material they’re cutting, producing a smoother cut than segmented blades. They have a long life and the combination of the serrated edge and the ventilated steel core provide better cooling during use.

Continuous Rim Blades

The final type of diamond blade, the continuous rim blade, cut the slowest of the bunch, but also provides the best, smoothest cut. Another soft-bond blade, they’re typically used for cutting marble, granite, porcelain tile, and ceramic tile. Continuous rim blades are most commonly referred to as a “wet cut” blade. This is because continuous rim blades, like this Norton classic blade, lack the gullets and holes the other blades use to dissipate heat. If there’s nothing to lessen the heat, the blade won’t last very long! That’s why continuous rim blades are mostly used with water.

What’s the Difference Between a Wet and Dry Cut?

Well, we’ve already mentioned temperature, which is a big factor in extending the life of your blade, but there are a lot of other differences between dry cutting and wet cutting blades.

Wet cutting, as the name implies, uses water to assist the blade in cutting through thick tiles, reinforced concrete, metal, bricks, and other masonries. Wet blades are less prone to overheating and blade wearing, so they’re often used for long, continuous projects. This method of cutting with water also reduces the respiratory risks and other health hazards caused by dust particles, since the water also turns a lot of the dust particles from the cut into a slurry.

Diamond Saw Blades
View More Wet Cutting Blades

Dry cutting, on the other hand, is ideal for indoor use or in work areas where the presence of a water source is uncertain. In contrast with wet cutting, dry cutting is meant for intermittent and small-scale cutting. The main reason for this is that the blade needs ample airflow by allowing it to gradually spin to a stop between cuts—this reduces the risk of either the tool or the blade, overheating. These blades are ideal for shaping, detailing, and finishing, though deep cuts can also be achieved with the proper precautionary measures. 

Diamond Saw Blades
View More Dry Cutting Blades

So, the three things you need to remember when choosing a diamond blade are the material you’re cutting, the type of rim you need, and whether you will be cutting wet or dry—that’s it! And if none of these blades sound like they’re up for the task, don’t worry! We also have crack chasing bladesrescue blades, and blades made to fit several different styles of saws and grinders. But if you have any questions feel free to contact us here, and make sure to subscribe to our email list so you can keep up to date with the latest offers, flyers, new products, and giveaways here at!

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