Cutting Tile on a Manual Tile Cutter
Make straight and angled cuts with a score-and-snap technique on this basic but capable tile-cutting tool.
Quiet, effective, and clean to use, manual tile cutters—or cutting boards—are very useful for making both straight and angled cuts in many kinds of tile 1. The tool’s wheeled cutter scores the surface, then a breaker bar applies pressure that snaps the tile along the scored line. To make a cut, place the tile on the board and align the cutting wheel with the marked line of cut 2. Now pull (or push) the tool’s handle down to put pressure on the cutting wheel as you draw it across the tile and score its surface 3.
Depending on the type of tile you’re cutting, you may hear the scoring action more than see its results. Now apply sharp, quick downward pressure to the manual tile cutter’s breaker bar until the tile snaps along the score 4. If the sharp motion doesn’t work, try applying slow and firm pressure. The tile should snap cleanly along the line of cut 5. To dull the edge of the cut tile, stroke it several times with a wet rubbing stone, held at a slightly downward angle 6. This not only prevents nasty cuts but improves the appearance of the cut edge.
|TRADE SECRET: To make cuts go more smoothly, apply some oil to the manual tile cutter’s rails at the beginning of every workday. Move the breaker bar back and forth to distribute the oil.|
Cutting Trim on a Manual Tile Cutter
In addition to cutting flat tile, you can use a manual tile cutter to cut shaped trim pieces, including liners and quarter-rounds. Hold the tile firmly against the board’s fence, and apply pressure carefully as the scoring wheel glides over the curved surface of the trim piece 1. When snapping the tile, position the breaker bar so that it’s centered relative to the score mark. The tile cuts at the mark 2.
Scoring and snapping problems
Even with a good score line, some tiles may shatter or just not snap cleanly. You can often remedy this by applying greater scoring pressure, changing to a new or different cutting wheel, or snapping with more or less strength. If the same thing continues to happen, you may need to switch to an electric wet saw. If glazed tiles end up with small marks due to the metal breaker bar, place a thin piece of paper or cardboard on the tile before snapping the tile with the bar.