Next, let’s take a look at the type of saws available.
A portable saw is just that . . . portable. Remember that if your portable saw requires 220 volts/single-phase to operate that will restrict its portability, and if it requires 220 volts/3-phase that will restrict its portability even further. A portable saw can be anything from the basic circular saw to a small bridge saw. The most popular portable saws are those that run on a rail or track. You would lay the track on the stone, adjust the depth of the blade and then cut the stone. One advantage of the track saw over a regular circular saw is the ease of getting a straight cut, but you should be careful not to scratch the surface of the stone.
There are also many features that differ from saw to saw. For example, some portable track saws are self-propelled while others are manual. Some are very heavy while others are fairly light. Regardless of which saw you use, be sure to take proper safety precautions by wearing your personal protective equipment and use a ground fault circuit interrupter. This is a major concern with saws that have not been manufactured for use with water or on stone. If you start your business using a portable saw, then you can use it as a jobsite saw when you purchase a permanent shop saw.
A fixed bridge saw is normally less expensive than other permanent shop saws. The blade of the saw cuts through the same opening in the bed (table). The stone is moved after every cut to prepare for the next cut. Resurfacing the bed is not required as frequently as with the other permanent saws. More accuracy is essential when resurfacing because you cannot even out the whole bed with a grinding blade (grinding wheel).
The word gantry describes a feature of this type of saw. A gantry saw not only moves forward and reverse, but also side to side. This saves a lot of time when making accurate parallel cuts. In fact, if you calculate the amount of time you can save over a fixed bridge saw, this cost will normally pay for the gantry feature. The gantry saw will usually consume more room than a fixed bridge saw, but less room than the gantry saw with a turntable. The saw bed will require periodic resurfacing, but because of the gantry feature, you can use a grinding blade to smooth it out and make it perfectly parallel to the bridge and rails.