I am going to wait in this morning for the delivery of a tool from this company who I have already mentioned a few days ago, including their brilliant video in the post, so I thought I'd spend a bit of time boring you about it while I wait. Why should I suffer in silence?
Steve the ghost walked through the wall and wrote his phone number into the dust of my desk (I'm a slattern) just as I was about to top myself yesterday, and now I await delivery of a 9 inch, flush-cutting diamond disc, the like of which no other company has even heard of in my area. Some of them told me that they have been in the business for 25 years, etc., and could assure me that no such blade existed, otherwise they would know of it's existence.
Without going into too many details at this time of the morning, ordinary blades stop moving when the centre fixing nut hits the stone which you are cutting, giving an effective depth of cut of around 3 inches. This blade has no centre nut, so the cut depth is unlimited. Very useful, and it will half the cutting time of the job I am doing right now.
"What sort of a rim do you want on the blade?" asked the beautiful young woman on the other end of the phone.
I started to ineptly describe a blade that I had bought from them years ago, mumbling conflicting information about continuous-rim , but not continuous, blah blah, when she interrupted me and said, "I know what you want - the same type as you bought from us in July, 2004." Very impressive.
"Right", she continued cheerily, "It will be with you at 7 o'clock tomorrow morning!"
I pleaded with her to make it about 9 o'clock, and she instantly changed the delivery time. Phew. Bear in mind that this company is about 150 miles away on the other side of London, and I was calling them at 4 o'clock in the afternoon. Like I say, very impressive.
Now I know that I said that I would not go into any details, but I was lying. I refuse to use any other blades than diamond-coated metal ones, because I have had a few tungsten-carbide ones explode on me in the past and, believe me, it is no joke when you cannot avoid jagged bits of blade coming at you invisibly with the speed of bullets as they fly tangentially off the tool at 6000 RPM.
Because these tungsten blades are held in the centre by little rings of metal, sometimes the material around the ring disintegrates and the wheel simply falls off the tool (at 6000 RPM), bounces on the floor a couple of times until it gets a foot-hold, then chases you around the workshop at about 60 miles per hour. Like I say, it's no joke.
Then you have what are known as 'segmented' blades. These are when the diamonds are applied to little curved sections of metal which are then brazed onto the side of the circular blade. These are fine, until one inferior braze on one segment fails, and it is impossible to tell which one is going to fail just by looking.
In this case, the segment flies off at the speed of a bullet, and even if it ricochets off a wall and comes straight back at you, it can still kill you. I have a friend who had to have one of these segments surgically removed from the joint between his thumb and his hand, so deeply was it embedded.
So now you can see why I will only use continuously coated, diamond-dust blades wherever possible, and never cheap, segmented ones.
Considering the above safety issues only concern one, small aspect of modern stone-working, is it any wonder that all masons are a miserable and fearful bunch of twisted misanthropes?
We we put ourselves in mortal danger every day, just to enhance the aesthetic beauty of your otherwise dull and mundane lives. We cripple ourselves purely in order to erect your proud and vainglorious busts and statues, as they crippled themselves in the time of Ozymandias.
Next time you walk in the cool shade of your marble-porticoed terraces, spare a thought for the dusty and dishevelled drunkard who sits in a dark corner of the pub, mumbling obscene insults as you as you sip your gin and tonic in the saloon bar.
(As soon as I had finished writing, the doorbell went, and the blade arrived. I've posted a picture of it above)