No. Not all blades need a water feed. Some blades are dry-cutting (that is, they don’t need a water feed or wet-cutting kit), while other blades are wet-cutting (that is, they do need a water feed or wet-cutting kit).
You need to know what kind of blade you’re using before you start cutting, because you’ll quickly destroy a wet-cutting blade if you run it without a water feed. You can also endanger the saw operator if you cut dry with a wet-cutting welded blade. Dry-cutting with these kinds of blades can weaken the welds holding the cutting segments, leading to segment loss and possible injury or death for the saw operator.
Dry-cutting blades usually have drilled holes that allow air to flow through and cool them during cutting, so you don’t need a water source at your worksite or a water feed or wet-cutting kit on your saw to cut with them. Dry-cutting blades also tend to make crisper and cleaner cuts than wet-cutting blades, and without generating gallons of water and slurry that can cause water damage and must be cleaned up after you finish cutting.
The trade-off is that dry-cutting blades can’t easily make deep cuts. That’s because they’re cooled by air flow, which diminishes in deep cuts. It is possible to cut deep with dry-cutting blades, but only by taking them out of the cut periodically to let it run free and cool off – a practice that can increase cutting times and slow work. You can also use a wet-cutting kit with most dry-cutting blades, but doing so negates many of the advantages of dry-cutting.
Dry-cutting blades also generate more sparks and dust than wet-cutting blades, making protective equipment like goggles and masks essential, especially when cutting hazardous materials.
Wet-cutting blades, on the other hand, can cut deeper with greater ease and speed than dry-cutting blades, because of their constant flow of cooling water. Water feeds can also increase the lives of wet-cutting blades – in some cases, by up to 30 percent over dry-cutting blades – as well as reduce sparks and dust generated during cutting.
However, the greatest advantage of wet-cutting blades is also their greatest weakness. Not all saws are equipped with water feeds or wet-cutting kits, and not all worksites have readily-available water sources. This limits the tools that you can use and the places where you can cut with wet-cutting blades.
Wet-cutting blades also produce large amounts of water and slurry, which can cause water damage in some worksites and just generally be a pain to clean up.
For more information, visit Desert Diamond Industries’ frequently asked questions page.
Desert Diamond Industries. “Wet Cutting vs. Dry Cutting.” Desert Diamond Industries Product Catalog Contract 20. N.p.: n.p., n.d. 32. Scribd. 12 July 2012. Web. 10 Dec. 2012.
“Frequently Asked Questions.” Desert Diamond Industries. Desert Diamond Industries, n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2012.