Can You Cut Wood With A Tile Saw?


If you have a knack for carrying out DIY projects, or you are just starting out in woodwork, then the chances are, every now and then you may need to cut wood. A tile saw is commonly used for several different renovation and repair jobs.

However, whether they are suitable to cut wood or not is an entirely different scenario. So, can you cut wood with a tile saw?

You can cut thin pieces of wood up to 15mm in thickness with a tile saw and anything thicker than that is a definite NO! Tiles saws have a continuous cutting surface with no teeth so that brings certain safety risks and potential to burn and start a fire!

The risk of injury is far greater when using a tile saw to cut wood as opposed to any other tool because it is not designed for this purpose. The wiser choice, if you are on a low-budget, would be to go for a cheap hand saw instead.

Now then that’s out of the way and you know that tile saw can be used for wood cutting, but not recommended, let’s have a deeper insight to know more about it.

After all, if you do plan to proceed with using a tile saw for cutting wood, then you must know everything about it to avoid getting yourself in a bad situation.

So without wasting any time, let’s dive in to learn more about a tile saw, how you can stay safe while using it to cut wood, and much more! 

Can you a use Tile Saw to Cut Wood?

One of the main reasons people have the misconception that tile saw can be used to cut wood is because it resembles a table saw. However, if a tool is not designed for a certain purpose, then you should look for other possible options.

The major difference between a table saw and a tile saw is the diamond-edged, carbide blade it comes equipped with. Opposed to a table saw the carbide blade makes the tile saw work by grinding through the material.

Which of course, is never an ideal method to cut trees as slicing through them is much faster and safer.

Although you will achieve the desired results, there is room for a lot to go wrong, and there is also a chance that it may ruin the blade.

Can you Change the Blade of the Tile saw to Cut Wood?

I have a lot of people say to me, “I will just swap the blade over to a wood blade” Is that going to work? To answer that, we first need to understand the speed (rotation per minute) of both of them. A tile saw works at an RPM of 12,000 RPM whereas circular saws that are mainly used for cutting wood work at 5,000 RPM. 

This is one of the main reasons why you should NOT use a tile saw to cut wood. Have a wood cutting blade spinning at 12,000 RPM is highly dangerous as the blade was never designed to spin at those speeds. Take a look at this blade speed comparison.

Coming in line with our previous point, one of the biggest safety problems, when you use a tile saw for this job, is the burn hazard.

Due to the ridiculously fast speed of 12,000 RPM, and using a continuous blade with no teeth, using it to cut wood may cause burning. An intense build-up of heat and burning can then lead to the workpiece catching on fire.

Why Using A Tile Saw to Cut Wood Should be Avoided?

If you have no other option on-hand to cut wood, you may feel more inclined to using a tile saw to get the job done. However, as we mentioned multiple times before, safety is one of the biggest concerns when doing so. 

Here are some of the major reasons why it should be avoided:

  1. Blade Speed – We have mentioned this a couple of times, but it cannot simply be emphasized enough. Blade speeds vary greatly and it is very unsafe and highly dangerous.
  2. Torque and Power– Tile saws lack the torque and power required to cut wood especially on thicker pieces
  3. Intended Purpose – As mentioned earlier, a tile saw is not designed for the purpose of wood cutting. For the sake of a few dollars, go buy yourself a proper wood cutting tool which could be a jigsaw, circular saw, compound saw or table saw. Take a look at my recommended tools which are actually much cheaper than you think!
  4. Risk of Injury – As discussed in all of the above reasons, using a tile saw to cut wood could have you end up with some serious injuries. You may think you will save a few minutes by using the wrong tool, but this kind of thinking could have you end up losing some fingers or even worse. Don’t be a fool – Use the right tool for the job!
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Which Woodcutting Jobs can a Tile Saw be used for?

Another important factor for you to analyze is to understand which wood cutting job a tile saw might be used for. Even if it gets the job done, you cannot cut just about any wood in it and the chances are, if you try cutting the wrong wood – it would end with nothing less than a disaster.

With that being said, if you are cutting a thin piece of 15mm thick wood, then perhaps using a tile saw may be an option. However, you must prepare for an intense kickback and take any safety measures you can due to the high RPM’s. 

Another place you could use tile saw is for rough cuts of lumber, but do keep in mind that if you are looking for an accurate finishing then using tile saw is not even an option. So more or less, even if you can use a tile saw for a certain job, it would be no more than a last resort.

Unless you are having a horrible day at work, and your table saw decides to give out without any suitable alternatives, then you may consider using a tile saw. 

Learn how to Operate a Tile Saw Properly

Before you even think about using a tile saw, it is obvious enough that you should learn to properly operate it. You are already using it for a purpose that it is not intended for, and if you do not carefully go through the instruction manual, then you would just be asking for trouble.

There are a number of tutorials you can find on how to operate a tile saw. However, here is a shortlist of steps to give you a rough idea:

1)  Position the saw properly on a sturdy surface;

2)  Set the height according to your comfort;

3)  Fill the reservoir with water;

4)  Use a pencil to make a mark and measure the area you are about to cut;

5)  Spray some water on the saw;

6)  Adjust and align the blade according to the marked area;

7)  Tightly squeeze the blade once it is in position;

8)  Turn the saw on, and slowly feed it to the object you are cutting through;

9)  Use your judgment to make sure the saw does not cut through the surface below;

10) Turn the saw off.

What Safety Measures you need to Take When Using a Tile Saw?

Even if you do feel confident using a tile saw, you must do so with extreme caution. Take every safety measure you possibly can so you do not leave any room open for trouble. After all, a tile saw is incredibly sharp and can rapidly tear through a material. 

Here are a couple of safety measures you need to keep in mind when using a tile saw to cut wood:

1) Staying Attentive

This should be obvious enough, but if you tend to get distracted easily, then this is one job where you would want to stay attentive. Eliminate all distractions from your surroundings. Keep your children and pets especially away from where you are working.

2) Proper Lighting

Make sure that the area you are working in has a sufficient power supply and lighting. When engaging in such a dangerous task, the last thing you would want is the lack of visibility due to dim or no lights.

3) Take it Slow

Make sure to take things slow. Do not try to force your way through the wood, instead, slowly feed the tile saw to keep things as controlled as possible.

4) Safety Gear

It is without a doubt that your safety measures are always going to be incomplete if you are not wearing proper safety gear. Do not only wear all the necessary gear used for wood cutting such as Steel-toed boots, earplugs, dust mask, and safety goggles but anything else you can find as well.

5) Flammable Chemicals

This is a factor that many people may overlook, but it is important to keep any flammable chemicals as far away as possible to prevent sparks.

These were just a couple of the important safety measures you need to take when operating a tile saw for wood cutting. If you have something in your mind that you think is going to make the process even safer, then feel free to do so! 

What are the Best Tools for Cutting Wood?

Now that you are well-versed with everything you need to know about a tile saw, knowing what other options you have is also important. The list below goes into a few of the options available to you and be sure to check out my full list and descriptions of which of these would be best for you to use:

JigsawIdeal for cutting smaller pieces and anything that requires curved radius
HandsawThe cheapest, easiest and safest tool and is also very portable for cutting small pieces of wood
Circular SawVery portable and great for ripping long pieces
Compound SawLess portable but great for accurate cross cutting and doing multiple cuts of the same length as well as mitred cuts
Table SawStays in the workshop and the most accurate machine for precise and neat cutting

These are some of the most popular choices for wood cutting. Each of them comes with its own diverse features that are designed to make different jobs easier. Pick the right tool from this list or some other that you find suitable, to make wood cutting safer and easier.

Conclusion

We hope after reading this detailed guide, you now have enough knowledge you require to understand whether you can use a tile saw to cut wood or not. Although it is still recommended that only tools that are designed for the intended purpose are used for wood cutting, you never know when a tile saw may be your last resort.

It would always be a better option to directly go for the right tools as it would help you avoid injuries. In the end, make sure that if you do proceed to use a tile saw for wood cutting, then you keep every tip we have mentioned above in your mind to make the process as safe as possible! We wish you the best of luck with all your DIY projects, so have fun being creative! 

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