Author Topic: Using your track saw to cut cement board.  (Read 6475 times)

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Offline rjwz28

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Using your track saw to cut cement board.
« on: February 21, 2013, 02:40 AM »
Any of you use your tracksaw to cut cement board for tyling?  I have a DeWalt and want to know if it is bad for the saw?  I will be changing the blade to a cement blade and also have a vacuum cleaner hooked up to it.

Thanks,
Rob

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Offline Peter Halle

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Re: Using your track saw to cut cement board.
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2013, 04:00 AM »
Festool outside of North America either has or had a blade for cutting cement board.  I don't see it on the UK site anymore.  I don't know if that is deliberate or just an omission.

Peter

Offline neeleman

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Re: Using your track saw to cut cement board.
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2013, 05:42 AM »
In Europe Festool has a special saw for cutting cement board. It is based on the older models but has much better dust extraction then the new ones.
It's called AXT 50 LA and uses a special blade with a diameter of Ø170 mm and has it's own guiderails.
It's quite an expensive saw (€1.493) and blade (€170).
And I think it's NAINA but will not be sold by the dozens in Europe as well.
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Offline DaveZ

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Re: Using your track saw to cut cement board.
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2013, 06:32 AM »
I sort of did this recently.  I used the festool guide rail as a fence and used my dewalt cordless saw with a 4 1/2" segmented blade.  The saw typically takes a 5 3/8" blade, but there were no issues with using smaller the 4 1/2" blade.   I was cutting 1/4" hardibacker and it worked perfectly.

Dave

Offline Tinker

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Re: Using your track saw to cut cement board.
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2013, 09:05 AM »
This subject has come up before. The saw shown above appears to be very well closed in to capture more dust than are the TS 55 & 75.  I am guessing the bearings are well protected as well.

I have never used any of my saws for cutting cement board, but have cut just about every other masonry product over the course of 30+ years.  When i first started my masonry biz and was doing a lot of cutting with circular saws, i went thru about 4 or 5 of them withing the first summer.  They all burned up from so much dust getting into the bearings.  I finally visited my rental store and told them of my problem.  We pulled every saw in the store off the shelf and checked closely to see if there was a reason why they were getting so much damage and if there was a saw on the shelf that might not suffer such problem.  Every saw but one had an air cooling vent that was open beside the blade.  One (Milwaukee 8-1/4) had the vent at the opposite end from the blade.  I took that one home and it held up to everything (Masonry products of all kinds, nails, flooring with nails cut into) I could throw at it for the next 30 years before finally spitting flames.

I am pretty sure the Festool saw above has been well designed for such use as cutting cement board as well as many other cement products. If you are only making a few cuts for one job, I would guess the TS 55 & 75 would survive (with proper blades) and dust collection will be sufficient unless working in living space.  If you are in a biz that you will be making 100's of cuts into any sort of masonry products, my thoughts are to have a less expensive saw than the Festools that are meant for cutting wood. 
Tinker
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Offline RussellS

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Re: Using your track saw to cut cement board.
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2013, 10:59 AM »
I've cut cement board with a reciprocating saw and angle grinder.  The cuts are accurate enough.  Not sure why you need the precision of a track saw for cement board.  Cement board is installed with screws and glue.  Then covered with thinset cement and tile.  Any rough edges are covered with cement and/or mortar.  The cement board edges never show.  As long as its sort of close to accurate, its good enough.

No way would I use my 55 track saw to cut cement board.  Abrasive dust.

Offline Alex

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Re: Using your track saw to cut cement board.
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2013, 11:14 AM »
If you only want to cut cement board occasionally a plunge saw will do just fine. Just make sure you clean it thoroughly after you're done. You could even wrap it in clear plastic (pallet wrap) to protect it.

But there are other options, jigsaw or angle grinder come to mind. Less complicated tools, and cheaper, so less risk to ruin them.

If you're going to cut cement board for longer periods, get a dedicated saw like the one neeleman mentions, by Festool or another brand.   

Offline Bhend18

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    • Hendricks Construction
Re: Using your track saw to cut cement board.
« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2013, 12:17 AM »
Ridgid actually makes a backer board saw. I own one and it works quite well. You attach a hose and cover to a 5 gallon bucket for dust collection.
http://www.ridgid.com/Tools/R3400-Fuego-Saw/EN/index.htm
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Offline Vi_k

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Re: Using your track saw to cut cement board.
« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2013, 01:34 PM »
I wouldn't use a saw either, just go and grab a $15 cement board scoring knife and an old beater level as a straight edge and you will be styling! Or if you have a load of cuts, grab an angle grinder with a proper disc, cheap, effective and easy.

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Striker-Tools-Backer-Board-Scoring-Knife-File-and-Utility-Saw-00102/202760822#.UU3mOxwqaSo

Kind regards,  :)

Vi_k
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Offline Julian Tracy

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Re: Using your track saw to cut cement board.
« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2013, 02:23 PM »
I have the Ridgid saw and just used it for a bunch of 1/2" Hardi board cuts yeterday.  Best way bar-none for such work, especially the cuts I was making, intricate odd-angle stuff to wrap a Basement glass block window sloped opening.

Wish I had bought that Ridgid saw years ago - I use it with the vacuum, either the CT or a Clarke Tool-activated vac I also have.

Julian