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RSimmons 2011-01-19 8:02am

Wet Cutting of Glass
I was cutting some cane with a wet diamond saw and started thinking about the mist coming off of the blade and what it might contain. I collected some droplets, dried them down and looked at them in a scanning electron microscope. The particle sizes range from quite large to well below 1 micrometer. You definitely want to wear respiratory protection when wet cutting glass - you get a lot of mist produced and it's full of very tiny shards of glass. The image was taken at 25,000X magnification and the sale bar is 1 micrometer. You don't want to breath this mist and should clean up thoroughly afterward to keep the dust from becoming airborne.


ABRCaleb 2011-01-19 8:32am

I'll second that, this is exactly why we do all of our wet saw cutting outdoors.

Truewealth 2011-01-19 8:34am

Robert...thanks for sharing this important info!

You have some of the most fun toys, by the scanning electron microscope!

RSimmons 2011-01-19 10:17am

The cool toys add to the fun of my day job.O:)


yamaha200 2011-01-28 3:29pm

hey robert, what are your thoughts on how this might apply to other wet coldworking applications such as:

-using a grinder for stained glass people
-using a flat lap on beads or other pieces
-using a diamond saw on stained glass pieces

I am guessing your advice should apply to these activities too, but I'll bet there are TONS of stained glass people out there who have never been told this or even thought about it...


RSimmons 2011-01-28 6:09pm

You make a very good point and few glass workers ever consider this. Any of these activities that generate a mist around the machine include these tiny bits of glass in the mist. Flat laps, in my experience, generate less mist and spray if they're set up right but they still produce shards in mist. I use all of the above tools at one time or another and I always use a mask, even when working outdoors with my bigger saw.

It occurred to me one day a while back that mist is the equivalent of sawdust from the woodworking world (I'm a reformed wood turner) and dust control is important for maintaining your health in that business.

If you do a lot of cold working and don't use respiratory protection then, IMHO, you're opening the door to respiratory problems and possibly silicosis.

My favorite device is the Triton respirator system that I bought for the wood shop ( You get impact, noise and particulate protection in one package. It's not cheap or particularly stylish but it's very good for a number of different applications, up to and including running a chainsaw.


cheng076 2011-01-30 10:18am

And don't forget the microscopic particles in that bead release. Clean those used mandrels under water and clean up the area well after.

Mr. Smiley 2011-02-01 5:25am

Thanks Robert and I've seen pics of you in that suit... you make that suit look good! Keep rocking the safety advise! ;)

RSimmons 2011-02-01 10:36am

Here's the Triton helmet in action while slicing murrini with a modified tile saw. A powered (filtered) air supply keeps the face shield fog-free. Terribly stylish?
Thanks Brent.


Yvon 2011-02-01 5:14pm

Actually sorta cool looking. . . and you are saving your health. When you look at what you look like from the point of safety, you can't worry about what you look like but about what your health will make you feel like later down the road. As always, thanks for sharing the safety tips.


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