Forcing the blade through material will damage the saw by increasing the amperage, burning up the motor and overheating the blade, which causes premature wear and damage, says Skaff. He has seen blades burned so badly they have a purple rainbow around the rim.
Metal in the diamond rim can get so hot that it actually covers the diamonds. Glazing over diamonds on the rim can cause blades to dull and stop cutting, even though there's a lot of life left on the diamond rim of the blade, Skaff continues. This issue can be solved in the field by dressing the blade.
"You always want to let the blade do the cutting, whether you're using a handsaw, stationary saw or walk-behind saw," he adds. "That will increase the life of the blade and the life of the tool."
Smith advises using a step-cutting technique.
This involves making several passes to complete the cut. "In reality, you shouldn't even use half of the diameter of a blade," says Fisher.
Don't be pushy. Any equipment can fail if it's pushed beyond its operating limits; saws and blades are no exception. Avoid pushing a blade too hard just to get a job done fast.
Do install the blade properly. Often, saw operators will spin a blade in the wrong direction. While a blade will still cut if it's spinning the wrong way, the diamonds will be eaten up quickly, Fisher points out.
Pay attention to the directional arrows labeled on the blade to ensure the blade is installed properly and spins in the intended direction.
When mounting a blade to walk-behind saws, don't forget the drive-behind pinhole, reminds Fisher. In addition to the center arbor, the second hole on the flange steadies the blade and prevents wobbling.
Do use caution in the turns. Skaff offers another word of caution for walk-behind saws: "If your blade is an inch deep into a cut and you want to turn, don't rotate the saw while the blade is still in the cut. I've seen segments of blade bend and break because a machine changes directions while the blade is still in the cut.
"If you're going to change directions," he continues, "make sure your machine is off, the blade is up out of the cut and the machine is unplugged."
Manufacturers offer manuals that cover diamond blade basics (how to use water, how to mount blades, how fast to spin blades, how to determine the proper size saw for the proper blade, etc.). Contact your saw or blade manufacturer directly, or work with your local dealer, rental center or supply house to make sure you have access to all the information you need to operate efficiently — and, of course, safely.