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Jun 25, 2021/Stone Care Guides

Diamond Pad for Grinding, Honing, and Polishing

As a stone restoration contractor, you know everything about diamond pads, right? But there might be some finer points you've missed. And when it comes to your trade, there's no such thing as too much education.

Purchasing Equipment and Materials

When it comes to purchasing the equipment and materials you need, you only really have three choices. The first choice is to blindly trust a salesperson or some fancy brochure to tell you what's what. The second choice is to rely on the testimonials of other contractors who are already using the equipment and materials you're looking for. Or you could get to know about your trade as much a possible and make intelligent buying decisions on your own.

Both the first and second points rely on second-hand information. You never want to rely solely on second hand-information. And the salesman is biased towards the products he is selling as well. Contractors base their opinions on very different situations, different preferences, and often incompatible comparisons. And not all contractors are stellar. 

And some people just work in different ways. Often, contractors don't recommend the best equipment because they use cheap equipment. So, asking contractors isn't always helpful for help buying equipment. Therefore, it is best to make your own decisions based on experience and research, as only you know your exact job specifications.

Efficiency and Honing 

Many contractors shop for price and/or how long the pad will last when it comes to diamond pads. They assume diamond pads with different grits all work the same. Or they are simply happy with the machine they currently have. And many contractors don't care about efficiency. Some just don't know to polish with diamond pads efficiently. If the contractor's values are different from yours (for example, you value time saved, not cheap equipment), you cannot get good advice from them as well.

The best thing to do is save time without cutting corners. Less time to finish the job means higher productivity. And consequently, more profit. If you can polish twice as fast, you can make nearly twice as much money. It can make the difference between earning a living and making money! 

When it comes to floor machines, more powerful machines are faster but more demanding (friction-wise). A floor machine can also be made more efficient by using productivity-increasing attachments.

Diamond pads outperform other diamond pads by delivering better clarity. There is a saying, 'polishing is just as good as the honing preceding it!' And it's true; the polishing can only be effective if the honing is done right. But what shows honing has been done well? Clarity! Clarity is the key to fast and effective high-quality polishing. Clarity allows a contractor to finish the honing one or two cuts earlier. 

Therefore, a proper understanding of diamond parts is needed. Keep reading for unique insights on surface stone processing and diamond cutting pads of all varieties.

De-lippage Tools

You may have heard about de-lippage tools, metal bonding pads, diamond pads, and resin-bond diamond pads. And you may have heard of pads for marble, pads for granite, and pads for concrete. But do you really know the difference? Is there a real difference to begin with, or is it all just a big marketing gimmick? And if there is a significant difference between the two, what happens when you use, for example, a diamond pad for marble on granite and vice-versa?

Well, it's complicated, so let's start with the de-lippage tools. The following information comes from two respected manufacturers of diamond tools. It cannot be fully verified, but there is good reason to believe it's accurate. It's what is referred to as an 'industry secret.'

De-lippage tools are made with little blocks of metal with embedded synthetic diamonds. They come in various grits, typically 30, 50, 60, 70, 100, 120, or 200. The metal alloy that holds the synthetic diamonds is cobalt with nickel and sometimes copper. (Copper is used for softer pads.) The way the metal and the diamonds are put together is called 'sintering.' Let's see what it is.


So, what is sintering? It's impossible to mix either synthetic or real diamonds with molten metal because the temperature is too high. (It would burn them as diamonds are just carbon.) According to the way carbon presents itself (graphite, coal, diamond, etc.), it may be more or less readily combustible. But will burn if heated. So, in order to avoid that, the sintering process consists of applying very high pressure to a metal in a powdery form, in conditions cold enough not to affect the diamonds. This produces a solid block of metal with the diamond grits deeply embedded throughout its entire structure.

The grinding machine then 'drags' these 'blocks' across the stone's surface while the diamonds do their cutting. The metal binder slowly wears down, continuously exposing new diamond grits. When it comes to di-lippage tools (which are the best to grind stone with), there is a small technical distinction between tools meant for marble, granite, and concrete. But in practicality, there is no real difference. Some manufacturers indicate using sintered de-lippage tools designed for marble and granite would wear down faster on concrete. But they don't specify the inverse, which begs the question of why the de-lippage tools designed for concrete wouldn't be applicable for all materials. They cost more per unit, but your inventory would be leaner, so it would work out to be cost-effective.

There are, however, two factors that do make a difference: the design and the ratio between diamond grits in an embedding agent.


So, in conclusion, when you're buying equipment, make sure to make your own decisions based on experience and research. And saving time means higher productivity. When it comes to honing, it has to be done with clarity. And there isn't a great deal of practical difference between different types of de-lippage tools (granite, marble, concrete, etc.) And sintering is a process where you mix diamonds with molten metal.

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