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Thread: cutting mosaics

  1. #1
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    Default cutting mosaics

    Simple question -

    Is it possible to cut mosaic tile with a snap cutter?

    I'm doing a floor with 1" hex mosaic ceramic tile - 12" sheets.

    My client just switched mid-job from 12" tile to the 1" hex mosaics.

    So now I am hoping to not have to rent a wet saw.

    ...Or invest in a Montolit snap cutter (which looks really nice)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24qBAjNVzI8

  2. #2
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    Default Re: cutting mosaics

    I hope you upcharged big for that change because you now have a WHOLE lot more work. I have a wet saw and use it for these but the water loosens the backing, so you gotta be quick. Haven't tried the snap cutter though the one you posted sure makes it look worth the money.
    Tom

    "Whoever ceases to be a student has never been a student." George Iles

  3. #3
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    Default Re: cutting mosaics

    Quote Originally Posted by S.Joisey View Post
    Simple question -

    Is it possible to cut mosaic tile with a snap cutter?


    ...Or invest in a Montolit snap cutter (which looks really nice)
    You answered it yourself; yes, with a well made one and in your case one that's capable of handling the small hex. Note [as illustrated] they cut much more better down the center than say a 1/4" trim off one side; which worse comes to worse, you score and then use the nippers. Any volume of off center cutting makes the wet saw not such an added expense. As TTT said you got more labor regardless of cutting style.
    “I find the curiosity of our men with respect to this animal is pretty much satisfied.”
    ~ Meriwether Lewis

  4. #4
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    Default Re: cutting mosaics

    I have one like this;

    http://www.hardwarestore.com/hand-he...er-647038.aspx

    It works really well for smaller tiles. Seeing as most cuts are against a wall if you have base and shoe most times you can get 2 for 1 out of a cut.

    My manual cutter is a Rubi TR, it will easily make the cuts shown in the video. It's kind of a pain working with the sheet.

    My new wet saw is the Husqvarana TS 60. With the kerf feed water system it eliminates the wet netting issue. Great saw, set it up right where you need it, water management is that good.

    Tom

  5. #5
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    Default Re: cutting mosaics

    Thanks, all.

    This is a small job - 30 sqft, with base and shoe along the walls. There is a length along the tub and the threshold where the cuts need to be clean, though.

    Tom, I think I'll go with the hand cutter, in case my snap cutter doesn't work out.

    It looks like it will get me through the job without a lot of fuss and bother.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: cutting mosaics

    What you're looking for is a wheeled mosaic cutter, or wheeled mosaic nipper. Always wear eye protection. The cutter in the video would be great, but would it pay for itself in the short run. Taking your time and manually cutting a small job is fine. But if you're going to do lots of tile in the future investing in precision time saving equipment is the way to go.

    I totally agree with Tom about the money end. You're going to spend more time installing that tile, plus your sub-base must be perfectly flat.

    When estimating a tile job I'll always specify the tile type, size and installation layout and if it includes any tile accessories. This way if they switch it up on you they understand right up front the installation price quoted no longer applies.

    Search Silberschnitt Wheeled Nipper
    Gary

  7. #7
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    Default Re: cutting mosaics

    Another option is to use a dry-cutting diamond wheel. I use this tool because it is the most convenient for me: First I use a short straightedge to clamp a mosaic sheet to my cutting table, then I mark the cut line with a Sharpie, then cut through the mosaic bits using multiple passes of the blade.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: cutting mosaics

    Quote Originally Posted by mbyrne View Post
    Another option is to use a dry-cutting diamond wheel. I use this tool because it is the most convenient for me: First I use a short straightedge to clamp a mosaic sheet to my cutting table, then I mark the cut line with a Sharpie, then cut through the mosaic bits using multiple passes of the blade.
    It's interesting that you have had success with this method, Michael. I tried it on a small job several years ago and ended up with chipped and broken mosaics.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: cutting mosaics

    In my latest book there is a section explaining how I do it. When working with glass, only a continuous-rim dry-cutting diamond blade should be used, but I have had good results using a standard continuous-rim blade. The keys to reduced chipping are immobilizing the mosaic bits, and making many light passes instead of one or two heavy passes.

    You can probably figure out how this is done, but basically, the method I use is as follows:

    1. Use a smooth section of plywood as the cutting table (I use 3/4-inch).
    2. Lay a sheet of thin foam packing on the plywood (often this is a sheet of foam the mosaic manufacturer uses to separate sheets packed in a box).
    3. Mark the cut line on the mosaic bits.
    4. Use a straightedge and a couple clamps to secure the mosaic sheet over the foam sheet and the plywood: the cut line should be potitioned at the edge of the plywood.
    5. Make very light cuts, moving the diamond wheel back and forth.
    6. As the kerf is formed, angle the blade slightly to create a small bevel on each mosaic bit.
    7. Continue making light passes until the cut is complete.

    Although the mosaic bits shown in the book example are marble, I have used the above method for all types of mosaic bits. Extra care must be used, though, when cutting glass because thermal shock will cause chipping.

    One other point: When I am cutting mosaic (or tiles) made from very clear glass, I finish the cutting process by dulling the face of the cut edge with sandpaper. Specifically, I use a bench-top belt sander to do this. The result is a cut edge that does not reflect light and create the mirror-like appearance of a cut glass tile once it has been installed.

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