Wooden dam for cutting ceramic tile - Router Forums
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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-12-2019, 03:34 PM Thread Starter
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Default Wooden dam for cutting ceramic tile

Me smart ,well I haven’t tried so we’re not exactly sure yet .
I’m working on tiling my tub/shower alcove ,and I’ve never cut a hole before.
I watched a few YouTube videos where the guy was angling in the diamond bit with a cordless drill to get it started ,and then straightened it out as it dug in .

I’m sure water would have helped ,but in my case I have no one around here dependable enough to hold a hose on it while I drill , so I concocted this device , a water table for the drill press .
I need to drill a large 4” hole for the mixing valve , and bought a cheap set of diamond bits off of Amazon.
So I took my scraps and built this dam and put a piece of Kerdi board on the bottom , this way I won’t drill into the wood once I get threw the ceramic tile .

My idea is to fill it up with water , just enough to cover the tile , and use my drill press to guide the bit .
I used tight bond glue around the sides to seal the wood from getting wet . Just added another layer to the corners , so the glues still wet, so I can’t do a test yet

Not sure if it’s going to work,but will report back later
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Last edited by RainMan 2.0; 05-12-2019 at 03:44 PM.
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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-12-2019, 05:42 PM
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Where there's a will..... there's a way. (or in my case, usually 7 failed attempts and then a success)
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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-12-2019, 06:18 PM Thread Starter
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Where there's a will..... there's a way. (or in my case, usually 7 failed attempts and then a success)
Iíve got two four inch holes to cut ,plus another three for the tub spout etc. Otherwise I wouldnít have bothered I guess .

Iím thinking I better change belt positions and get the press running faster . Iím assuming anyways .
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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-12-2019, 07:03 PM
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Where there's a will..... there's a way. (or in my case, usually 7 failed attempts and then a success)

That's about my average also...
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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-12-2019, 07:05 PM
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I just squirt a circular dam of latex caulk around the area to be drilled. I've done hundreds of holes like this. Drill slow with the drill press and don't put a lot of pressure on the tile. Some tiles are soft and easy others are hard and brittle. You can drill cups and teapots like this as well. My wife likes to make tea cup and pot totems as yard art. I cot cups in half for her to stick on some of her wall murals as well. some shots of one in our kitchen. A 1/2 cup as well as some family photos glued on to the backs of tumbled and polished glass, The Scotties and Geckos I cut out of tile with a Ring saw.
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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-12-2019, 07:41 PM Thread Starter
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Wow ,those are really sharp Brian

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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-12-2019, 08:12 PM Thread Starter
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Brian, I wish I had a cnc router table right now . Not sure if itís possible, but Iíd like to have these mosaic tile blend in with the main tile . But Iíd say this is an impossible cut for tile , but if I had the tile in a water dam system with a small diameter tile bit , I think it might work .
Then thereís making the vector
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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-13-2019, 12:19 AM
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I also think a slow speed, low pressure approach would work better.

The more I do, the less I accomplish.
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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-13-2019, 12:55 AM
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I also think a slow speed, low pressure approach would work better.
firm pressure..
low pressure generates heat and wears out the diamond faster...
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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-13-2019, 05:57 AM
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Hi Rick,
I have cut many small holes without bothering with a water dam. Have used carbide hole saws and diamond core type bits - the former start easier, as there is a pilot drill bit, like with a regular hole saw.
As Brian says, it depends on the composition of the tile body, and the hardness of the surface layer. If you do not use water, and the bit starts smoking, you are overdoing it. Keep overdoing it, and the bit and the tile start glowing.
The only time I have made a 4-inch hole was for a toilet waste pipe - drilled a series of 6mm holes around the perimeter, then used a 4inch carbide-tipped core cutter with a centre pilot. The tile was already adhered to the wall- no problems(but we have solid masonry walls in this part of the world.

Your blending exercise looks ambitious regardless of technology. However, if you simplify the ends of the mosaics a bit (fewer separate endings, no very thin tongues), it is doable with a diamond saw - cutting slits in from the edge like for a featherboard, then scoring between the slits with a carbide or diamond tile scorer, and snapping off the waste bits. Oil up your patience, and be prepared to waste a couple of tiles- typically on the last cut or snap. Leave relatively wide tongues at the outside edges of the tiles - they tend to break there when you are seating the tile.
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