Granite is one of the hardest building materials, but cutting it isn't as difficult as you might expect. You can cut straight lines and curves in a granite slab with an angle grinder and a diamond cutting blade. The same type of blade will cut granite tiles, but because the tiles are thin and crack easily, you need more control than an angle grinder offers; it's best to use a tile-cutting saw. Some tile saws spray water on the blade while you're cutting to keep everything cool, while others operate dry. It's best to use a wet saw.

machine
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Water keeps the tile saw cool and prevents cracking.

Basic Cutting Procedure

Step 1

Set the saw fence the proper distance from the blade. Use a tape measure to measure the distance from the fence to the side of the blade nearest the fence -- you usually can't rely on the saw's fence gauge for accuracy.

Step 2

Fill the tray under the saw with water and turn on the saw. The blade should spray a fine stream of water. Most of the water should go back into the tray, but some will spray toward you. Put on a pair of goggles in preparation for cutting.

Step 3

Turn the tile over, arrange it so the cut line is aligned with the blade, and push it about 1/4 inch into the blade. This creates a small notch that prevents chip-out when finishing the main cut. Turn the tile over again so the good side is up for the main cut.

Step 4

Push the tile slowly through the blade to make the cut. Don't force the blade by pushing too quickly; you could chip the granite or damage the motor. Keep your fingers away from blade at all times; use a push stick to guide a narrow piece through the blade as you near the end of the cut.

Step 5

Turn off the saw when the cut is complete and wait for the blade to stop before retrieving the tile.

Angled Cuts

Step 1

Lay a strip of masking tape across the tile on the approximate location of the angled cut you want to make. Measure the cut line accurately with a set square and tape measure and draw the line on the tape, using a pencil and ruler.

Step 2

Remove the fence from the saw. Turn on the blade and guide the tile trough the saw, keeping the blade centered on the line. If you're cutting a small section from the tile, keep your hands on the larger section.

Step 3

Push the tile slowly through the blade. Turn off the saw when the cut is complete and wait for the blade to stop before retrieving the off-cuts.

Curved Cuts

Step 1

Cut curves with a 4-inch angle grinder and a diamond cutting blade. Although you can cut curves with a tile saw, an angle grinder provides more control and accuracy.

Step 2

Clamp the tile to a work bench with rubber-tipped C-clamps. Lay masking tape on the approximate location of the cut line, then draw the cut line on the tape.

Step 3

Put on goggles and guide the angle grinder slowly along the line. Make the cut in several passes -- the blade should penetrate about 1/4 inch on each pass.