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Discussion Starter #1
So I purchased a porcelain tile that I really like. There was no bull nose piece to match, but the salesman told me that it can be grinded into bull nose. I knew that that would mean the bullnose would be the color of the base porcelain and not the glaze color (colors were pretty close tho). I also saw that the tile that had matching bull nose available were done the same way. I did a quick google search while at the store to make sure it could be done, and I bought the tile.

Now the guy I'm subbing this work to says the edges will never look good this way. Is that true? What's the best way to bull nose porcelain? If that's not possible, I also looked into schluter edging pieces, but I already purchased extra tile to make the bull nose, so I would prefer it be done that way.
 

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Do you have a picture of the tile you chose? My immediate reaction is your sub is right, it's not going to look good!

What's the installation?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Here is the picture.
There are also some pieces that I wanted cut smaller for design, which the installer said was not possible because pieces would bout come out uniform size. I have pieces up to 18x18.
 

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Tileguy
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Wha-a-a-a-t!

Where do you guys find these path-of-least-resistance installers?:)

Most of today's bullnose made to match the tile are done the way you are talking about. There is no surface color on the rounded (bull-nosed) edge. This generally doesn't bother anyone. There are installers and shops that will bullnose any porcelain tile for you. Some of the bullnose tiles do get a slight coating to help diminish the raw-edge appearance but I think those are done using a re-fire procedure.

The metal edge is an option and a good option. Why can't you return the extra tile?

As far as making your own cuts for designs I do this all the time. With some tiles the factory edge is somewhat rounded. When you cut tiles the cut edges are of course squared and not rounded. But this can still be done. I can't tell you how many borders and insets I have cut from the stock field tile over the years. Once grouted it all works out fine.

The biggest problem you will run into when cutting your own designs from tiles that big is going to be the warpage of the large tiles. They all contain a warp. Matching a high-warp cut to a factory edge may result in undesirable lippage. If you can live with that you will do okay.

As far as uniform size cuts...if this guy doesn't have the ability to make uniform cuts then you will not have uniform cuts. Why don't you look around for a more knowledgeable and experienced tile guy and send this bozo down the road?:)

I should add after seeing the picture that that tile does in fact lend itself to cutting your own design pieces. The edges are not perfectly square but if you were to file the cut edges you wouldn't be able to tell one edge from the other after it is all grouted. There are inexpensive diamond files available, you can use a rub-stone made for the purpose, you can use a knife-sharpening diamond file to file the edges. I use silicon carbide sanding discs on a right angle grinder but you don't have to go that far.:)
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
thanks bud for confirming that i was right? I need to stop doubting my own knowledge and skill. :)

i can't return the tile because I bought it at a discounted clearance price. So they said no returns. I specifically looked for a tile that had the square-est edges for this purpose. There was another tile i liked better, but it came with beveled edges.

I didn't believe the installer when he said he couldn't make uniform cuts. So I said show me one. Well, he can't make uniform cuts because he's EYEBALLING it. His wet saw only has a guide to keep the tile in place on one side, to keep it square. He was not using guides to keep it from moving side to side as he puts it through the blade. I pointed that out and he said the guide wouldn't fit for the size of my tile (18x18). Well he was right about that, my tile size maxed out his machine. But i think he should be able to find a guide to extend further on one side.

The pieces he cut came out pretty good; edges were clean, straight, square. Only problem was one peice was wider than the other by about 1/8". I would say that's about the thickness of the blade, he didn't account for that thickness. Of course i pointed that out, and he still claims it can't/shouldn't be done, that it won't always be square because the blade will move.

*sigh*, sometimes if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself...
 

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Tileguy
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The blades can and will move some. The spinning dynamic will tweak a blade slightly and cause a crooked cut. A guy has to know that and adjust for it. Tile that size is (in my opinion) usually best cut with a bridge saw or rail saw but there are movable-table saws that will fill the bill. That way you can't miss a cut. Square cuts are easy. The rail/bridge saws have movable heads that lift up and down to allow you to make scoring cuts and plunge cuts. If that tileguy is tackling 18" tile without the proper saw he's kidding himself.:)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
rail saw! totally forgot about that. he was using a sliding-table wet saw. I will have to see if I can just rent a rail/bridge saw for him to use. Thanks for the tip.

are blades available in different thicknesses? I'm thinking a thicker blade will resist movement better.
 

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Tileguy
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are blades available in different thicknesses?
I don't think you can buy tile blades based on thickness but yes maybe some are thicker than others. Just try to find one (thicker blade) these days.

I'm thinking a thicker blade will resist movement better.
I agree with that theory but it seems several years ago blade manufacturers began making "narrow kerf" blades and then bragging about them as if they were an improvement of some kind. The only improvement I can imagine is in the blade-manufacturers bottom-line.

If, the blade's construction is matched to the tile's composition the narrow stinky-ass blades still seem to do okay.:) Just try to figure out how to do that!!! I have been lobbying for a "Uniform Diamond Blade Code" for years but that idea has fallen onto deaf ears so far.:)
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
For what it's worth, my ears are not deaf. :)
How about using a machine with smaller diameter blade. I imagine that would be less flex as well

So are bridge saws cut more precisely, or is it just easier to use for big tile? I imagine they are susceptible to same flexing forces.
 

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Tileguy
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So are bridge saws cut more precisely, or is it just easier to use for big tile?
A blade that flexes is a blade that flexes I suppose. Doesn't really matter what type of saw it is on as far as I can see.

The thing about rail/bridge saws is that the blade travels over/into the tile by moving the blade, not a rolling table. They have the ability to release/float the operating head so that you can cut a tile at any depth you desire. The heads are spring-loaded so as to stay in their uppermost position when they are unattended unless the operator is causing the machine to do otherwise. This allows the operator to align the blade perfectly with any straight-line mark. It eliminates the mistake of placing a crooked tile against a stop-fence or rip-fence and being victimized by the irregularity of a funky tile being cut in an otherwise perfectly aligned saw.

Once the blade is travelling perfectly over the desired mark it is then possible to make several passes with the blade over and into the tile cutting deeper and deeper with each pass of the saw blade. This totally eliminates blade deflection and results in perfect cuts every time.

Yow I know I know: You ask a guy for the time of day and he builds you a clock.:)
 

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Tileguy
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How about using a machine with smaller diameter blade? I imagine that would be less flex as well?
Excellent observation and I agree with the exception of one little problem. Been there, done that but the damned motor assembly tends to block your view and precision cuts again become a problem in some cases. A guy just can't win.:no:
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Yow I know I know: You ask a guy for the time of day and he builds you a clock.:)
I will take the clock :thumbup:
I actually enjoy the more detailed explanation that get down to almost a science. Credit that to my engineer's mindset.

So the secret is multipasses of the head, in which case, i messed up. I just bought a cheapy bridge saw from harbor freight to finish the job. But these models do not have a floating head. It is fixed, and just slides along the rails. I went this route because the tool cost as much as about 3 days of renting. I need the tool for maybe 2 days, made sense just to buy one. I may have to return and find a pro one to rent.

I got this model: http://www.harborfreight.com/1-1-2-half-hp-bridge-tile-saw-with-stand-97360.html
 

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Tileguy
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So the secret is multipasses of the head, in which case, i messed up. I just bought a cheapy bridge saw from harbor freight to finish the job. But these models do not have a floating head.
Bummer !!!
Try a "Hot Dog" blade or a "Razor" blade.:)
 
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