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Tile Cutter Recommendations

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  1. #1
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    Default Tile Cutter Recommendations

    Hi guys,

    I'm getting to the part of my bathroom reno where I may soon be ready to lay tiles.
    I'm after some recommendations regarding tile cutters.

    I have fllot tiles that a 400x400, and wall tiles that are 450x300.
    These dimenions seem to rule out most of the score and snap type cutters.

    I've seen at trade tools the follwing
    TradeTools Direct - Serious Tools...Seriously Discounted!

    and thought it might me an alternative - but was worried about tear out and capacity as well.

    I've seen some score and snap 400mm cutters at bunnies for $52 - but I thought they seemed to be a biit too cheap....

    recommendations/advice?

  2. #2
    Golden Member
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    You'll be able to buy a score and snap cutter large enough to suit your tile sizes. In addition get a 100mm angle grinder with a diamond blade, it's avery useful and versitile bit of gear.

    If you are cutting diagonally and you want neat straight cuts then hire a large machine to suit.

  3. #3
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    Hire a Sigma tile cutter next to an angle grinder with superthin blade can't go wrong

  4. #4
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    Im steering away from hiring something. I can never make the opening hours/closing hours and i'd rather have a functinoal tool that I can use in the future.

  5. #5
    GeoffW1
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ricardito View Post
    Hire a Sigma tile cutter next to an angle grinder with superthin blade can't go wrong
    Hi,

    Agree

    Large Sigma tile cutters are very expensive, but a dream to use. There is one that even handles 600mm tiles. I would resume plotting ways to get to the hire place, unless it is positively impossible to get there.

    I only needed one for 4 hours to score and snap all the tiles required in my bathroom, and only wasted one tile !

    The trouble with the cheaper wet diamond blade cutters from Bunnings, which are usually 400mm max, is that they tend to chip and spall the glazed surface along the cut, and are very slow, so just an angle grinder with a diamond grit wheel is all you need extra, to handle tap spindle holes etc.

    Cheers

  6. #6
    Senior Member Batpig's Avatar
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    Dear Spartan,

    You’re definitely on the right track when you suspect that "capacity" could be a problem in a "benchtop"-style machine, because if your grid setout is good, the amount of trimming that you will need to take off the bottom and edge rows will not be much - possibly too small a cut to enable the tile to be run through the machine with the offcut against the fence. So you might actually need quite a bit of "rip" capacity to be able to handle those 400mm tiles (but more on that later...)

    At the same time, I think a cheap manual "scoring"-type cutter will instead only serve to frustrate you, going by what I observed when I was looking at them all myself. There was simply just too much wobble and "play" in the sliding-assemblies and cutting-wheels of the cheap ones down at Bunnings. And from the wording of your question, I suspect that you might have already worked out for yourself that a further problem with the manual scoring-cutters is their inability to take off very small strips from a tile; this is something that an electric machine can do quite easily (if it has enough rip "capacity", that is...)

    Now, having said this, I think the reason that some of the other guys are suggesting that you buy or hire a larger-capacity manual "scorer", is that those normally-impossible very-small offcuts might still be do-able if you score the tile first with the scoring-cutter, but rather than trying to do a "snap" with the unit, you instead cut off beside the scored line (on the offcut side) with an angle-grinder fitted with a diamond-wheel. I think you’d find that the material would more or less neatly "let go" along the scored line, but there’d be a bit of tooing and froing involved to get it all to do so. Another downside would be the noise and dust; you’d definitely have to do your cutting outside. In contrast, virtually all of the electric tile-saws are quiet and almost dustless.

    I went through the whole "electric-or-manual" rigmarole myself about a year back, and I eventually ended up with one of these (also from TradeTools as fate would have it):

    TradeTools Direct - Serious Tools...Seriously Discounted!

    I’m very happy with it, and it would have more than enough capacity for what you’d be wanting to do. Small offcuts - no problem. Indoor-cutting - no problem. Angle-cuts - bring ‘em on. She’s nice and quiet, and no dust. The only thing is, though - check the smoothness of the sliding-operation along the rails while the thing is still in the box before you even leave the store with it, and also get them to plug it in (again, while it is still in the box! ) before you even leave the store, to make sure that the motor runs smoothly. It’s only a 180mm blade, but it spins faster than the 180mm blades on the Benchtop-style machines because it is belt-driven. That makes it a reasonably fast cutter.

    Don’t be tempted to buy this machine of theirs instead.

    TradeTools Direct - Serious Tools...Seriously Discounted!

    I had one for a day or so, and it’s junk, pretending to look like a Husqvarna, but without the same type of sliding-mechanism that makes Husqvarnas really nice.... And don’t let the "laser" suck you in - you don’t need it. With that type of sliding-head machine, all you need is an old transparent set-square and you're in business...

    I might also shamelessly mention at this point that a couple of bathrooms ago, I picked up a Sigma "2G" manual scoring-type cutter, and a Norton-Clipper "TT200EM" benchtop-style electric machine. I was going to put them both on eBay soon (hopefully, that is, if I can work out how to actually sell things on eBay...), so they’re for sale if you’re interested and you live on the northside. They’ve both only cut one Bathroom’s worth of tiles, so they’re both in excellent condition, except for a neat reversible modification that enables the Norton-Clipper to recycle its water instead of leaking everywhere if you’re cutting indoors with it (very annoying trait of benchtoppers in general...). They were both the result of extensive research, so they’re pretty much the best of what is available in Australia in their respective classes. But the Sigma - being the baby of that family - will only handle up to 37cm tiles, and the Norton-Clipper will only "rip" out to about 20cm (but this might still be enough for you, if you read my 2nd-last paragraph at the end of this post). The Sigma cost me $220, so I’ll take $145 for it, and the Norton-Clipper cost me $240, so I’ll part with it for $155. But having said all of this, I’d still fork out the extra cash over and above either of these two prices if I were you, and buy the $348 TradeTools unit referred to above.

    Now - shameless-self-plug over and done with ( ) and returning to the matter of the TradeTools benchtopper that you are enquiring about, I looked at it myself when I was going through the same thing as you about a year ago. The reasons I didn’t buy it at the time were:

    1) The little black sliding-mitre-guage that runs captive along its fence is set to a fixed angle of 45deg, which rules it out from being able to cut shallow angles (of the type that you can often get around the bottom of walls near drains in screeded floors...). By contrast, the Norton-Clipper’s Mitre-Guage was adjustable to any angle, and the $348 Trade-Tools sliding-head machine just doesn’t need Mitre-Guages at all.

    2) The overhang of the TradeTools machine’s table projected well past the edge of its water-tray underneath, which meant that it was going to spill a lot of water onto the floor. The Norton-Clipper doesn’t suffer from this excessive overhang, and by nature it’s just not a factor with the Trade-Tools sliding-head machine.

    3) It had only a direct-drive 180mm blade, which was going to imbue it with a slower cutting speed than either a direct-drive 200mm blade (like my Norton-Clipper), or a belt-driven 180mm blade (like the $348 TradeTools sliding-head unit).

    But having said this, I will also say that it looks like the $138 TradeTools benchtopper you've got your eye on might have one particular advantage that could be significant for you; it looks from the photo that the fence might actually "telescope" out to the right and off the table. This might give it the rip capacity you need to tackle those 400mm tiles of yours. So have a good look at the fence when you go there. Only thing is, you’re still going to be stuck with only being able to cut straight along your tiles at either 90deg or 45deg with it, and she's going to be quite leaky...

    On a final note - further to the subject of required rip capacity, you might just be lucky enough to not end up with any very small offcuts with your floor tiles. You should be able to work that out roughly with mathematics right now. And with your wall tiles, it's not against the law to "drop" the first course of them down enough so that the resulting offcut is wide enough to be able to safely run through between the blade and the fence. So in other words, with a little bit of luck, and a little bit of fudging, you might well be okay with the capacity of a benchtopper...

    Don’t know what else to say. Hope I haven’t put everyone back to sleep . Good luck with it, and make sure you also have a look at that $348 sliding-head machine while you’re down there.

    Best Wishes,
    Batpig.

  7. #7
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    I've done a couple of bathrooms and apart from your skill at score and snap, the next best thing is a thin 100mm diamond disc in your angle grinder. It is good for trimming untidy score and snap lines and for cutting tap etc holes.

    Now the tricks... passed on by a retired tiler who used to run handyman sessions for our local tile place.

    1. For tap holes etc, work from the back of the tile. You can make an untidy mess at the back but have the disc just come through the front of the tile so that it looks all neat and tidy. i.e. for a square hole, just make four cuts that look like a game of noughts and crosses. If you control the depth of cut you will end up with a neat square hole at the front.

    2. you should never (or at least rarely) have the need for narrow strips of tiles. With a proper setout, any cut tile should be more than a half tile. I found this to be a mind blowing statement until the "master" explained it. I have used the following approach ever since, and am amazed at how good the job turns out.

    Lets assume that you are using 200mm tiles and the distance to be covered is 2050. Most of us would use 10 x 200mm tiles plus a skinny bit at one end cut to 50mm.

    The "trick" is to use 9 x 200mm tiles plus two tiles cut to 125mm at each end. The tiles are centred on the wall or floor and it all looks neat and tidy rather than lop sided. If the space left over from the run of full tiles is less than half a tile, then move everything by half a tile so that you have more than a half tile space at either end. Sounds a bit complicated until you actually do it. The best way to understand is just get some tiles and lay them out cross a couple of distances... magic!

    As walls and floors are rarely straight or square, this also helps trimming exactly to the end.

    Good luck!

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