Builders’ Tip: A Jig to Make Accurate Diagonal Tile Cuts
As part of a recent bathroom remodel, my client requested that I install a decorative border with a horizontal row of square, dark tiles oriented vertically, like diamonds, flanked by white triangular tiles.
Click for larger image.
The challenge was to cut the white tiles in half at a 45-degree angle as accurately as possible. Any error would create an installation nightmare — and plenty of wasted tiles — because any error in cutting a tile would double the damage.
If, for instance, my cut was just 1/16-inch off-center, there would be a 1/8-inch difference between the sizes of the two “halves.”
So, to cut the tile precisely and efficiently, I rigged the jig shown in the accompanying drawing.
- I started with two inexpensive triangular plastic squares that I would cut and trim for the jig so that I could precisely position each tile for the cut. The plastic squares cost about $3 each.
Using the tile saw, I made two identical cuts on the plastic squares. To do this, I hooked the fence of the square over the right side of the sliding table on my tile saw, making sure that the other side of the square butted against the fence of the saw. With each square in this position, I made the cuts with the tile saw.
Because the blade on the tile saw is designed to grind through ceramic material and not the composite material of the squares, I made these cuts in several passes, taking off a little each time. When completed, both squares were cut precisely the same, with the cut running parallel to the fence of the square.
- Next, I clamped one of these cut squares on the sliding table to the right of the saw blade. As before, I hooked the fence of the square over the right edge of the sliding table and butted the edge of the square against the fence of the saw.
I used a 1-inch C-clamp threaded through one of the holes in the sliding table to hold the square in place. In this position, the cut edge just kissed the right side of the saw blade.
- After clamping down the first square, I used another 1-inch C-clamp to affix the other square to the left of the saw blade. But first I had to cut away half of the fence on the square so that it would lie flat on the table. I used a coping saw to make the initial cut and then used a belt sander to finish the task.
- After sliding the edge of the square against the fence of the saw and positioning the square so that the cut end just kissed the left side of the saw blade, I clamped it to the table. The space between the two squares equaled the width of the kerf created by the saw blade.
- When using the jig, I slid a tile into the V-shaped space formed by the two plastic squares. As the drawing shows, this space held the tile at a 45-degree angle, with the corner of the tile in line with the saw blade.
- After a few trial-and-error cuts and minute adjustments to the position of the square on the left, I had everything positioned to make precise, uniform cuts.
Using my jig, I was able to cut the 100 triangular pieces that I needed in about 20 minutes — with no waste and no mishaps.
— John Carroll Durham, N.C.
Tips & Techniques provided by Fine Homebuilding.
©2008 The Taunton Press
To contact Fine Homebuilding, e-mail Christina Glennon.
Tax Credit Web Site Looks at Opportunity of a Lifetime
Builders and other industry professionals can help spur home sales by referring prospective first-time home buyers to www.federalhousingtaxcredit.com. The NAHB Web site provides detailed information on the $8,000 federal tax credit for first-time home buyers included in the economic stimulus legislation signed into law by President Obama.
Consumers can use the Web site to find information on the tax credit — including a detailed question and answer section. It also includes information about other housing-related and small business measures in the legislation and a number of home-buying resources for consumers.
Spanish Version Also Available Online
A Spanish version of this increasingly popular Web site is also available to provide detailed information on the tax credit to Spanish-speaking first-time home buyers.
Industry professionals are encouraged to highlight either tax credit Web site when marketing to their potential first-time home buyer market.
Set Yourself Apart With CGB Designation
Join the ranks of the nation’s top building industry professionals with the Certified Graduate Builder (CGB) designation. The “Builder Assessment Review” (BAR) is your first step towards obtaining the CGB.
This comprehensive assessment measures your expertise in the four key areas of the building industry: building technology, business and finance, project management and sales and marketing.
Your results will show the areas where your knowledge is strongest and weakest and will help determine the courses required for you to obtain your CGB.
To learn where the next BAR will be held, visit NAHB’s education listings, or call the Professional Designation Help Line at 800-368-5242 x8154.
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