The saw wars are heating up!

Gryphon's new Omni-1 Diamond Wire Saw should liven up the market for glass saws considerably. This is certainly good news for users, as the choices and quality of glass cutting machinery has never been better.

The Gryphon Corporation has been producing glass-cutting machines for a long time. They more or less created the market, and we've been following, testing and reporting on their products regularly since their introduction of their first glass band saw way back in the early years of glass crafting. With each new generation of their tools, the company sets out to improve both the functionality and value of their glass cutting arid shaping machines. The recent Omni-1 Diamond Wire Saw continues in that pursuit. A "wire saw" by definition, it bears a distinct difference from other Gryphon machines. The cutting blade is a round, 360 degree, full diamond grit wire blade that operates much in the same way a reciprocating (jig) saws does. Woodworkers out there will be familiar with the action of this particular type of tool.

As a reciprocating saw, the blade travels up and down at a very fast speed, guided and powered by a 1/4 hp 4200 RPM motor driven armature. The rapid reciprocating motion provides the cutting action of the blade. Since the blade size is a mere .063" in diameter and round, it allows users great flexibility and versatility in cutting shapes both intricate and tightly configured without leaving an unwieldy kerf or cut space. Each blade is 7" long. The ones supplied for our Road Test were in a package of three. According to literature supplied by Gryphon, fifteen of the Wire Saw blades cost as much as one band saw blade, but fifteen Wire Saw blades will cut nearly twice as much glass under normal use as one band saw blade. Blades are available in Standard 180 grit, Power 120 grit and SuperPower 100 grit grades. All come in packages of three.

The initial out of box experience for the Omni Wire Saw calls for some assembly, but nothing that will challenge your abilities. The tool arrives in three basic pieces and some fasteners that have to be put together. Instructions are illustrated clearly and simply. Assembly for us took less than twenty minutes. We set up the water feed and drain tubes, mounted the blade housing to the Omni's base cabinet and installed our Wire Blade. Most of the fasteners can be tightened by hand with the exception of the blade mount, which is tightened by a wrench that Gryphon supplies. The Omni is also equipped with a battery-operated surface light that illuminates the cutting area. This light is located within the front cover of the motor housing. We installed two AA batteries for the light. Fully assembled, the dimensions of the Omni are 19" tall, 14" deep and 131/2" wide.

One difference you will notice on the Omni saw is that water is poured into a basin up on the motor housing itself. Water is fed down onto the blade by means of a feed tube instead of being forced up onto it. The water in turn drips into the base of the tool where it can be drained out through a tube located at the bottom of the Omni. A valve on the right side of the motor housing governs the amount of water feeding onto the wire blade. A finger guide protects the user from the wire blade during operation. The perforated work area is a generous 1 square foot. There is ample clearance between the blade and motor housing for all but very large pieces of glass; five inches to be exact.

Of course, we were anxious to cut some glass with the Omni, so we put it through its courses with a variety of glass types. Our first cut was through a 2 1/2" wide piece of Kokomo granite textured glass. That took about 40 seconds. Next we sent a five-inch slab of Uroboros ripple through. That took about a minute and twenty-five seconds. Lastly we sent a pretty conventional 3" piece of Wissmach smooth textured glass through the Omni. Total cutting time: twenty-five seconds. We applied little pressure to the blade.

Like any of the saws on the market, performance will vary according to glass type, intricacy of cut, and the touch and feel of the user. Heavy-handed use will compromise both the accuracy of the cut and the life and performance of the blade. This is true of any glass-cutting machine. The reciprocating blade provides a solid, smooth path through the glass, while the water feed eases friction without becoming intrusive provided you properly gauge the amount of water feeding from the reservoir.

Cleaning and maintenance of the Omni are simple tasks. Two vertical shafts on the inside of the blade housing need to remain lubricated. An occasional check and coat of light oil will do the trick. Also, emptying the lower water basin is accomplished by means of a valve and tube located at the bottom of the Omni. All standing water can be drained from the lower basin into a bucket when necessary.

Gryphon's Omni Wire Saw has a lot of winning ingredients, top of the list being affordable, long lasting diamond wire blades. Ease of assembly, use and maintenance will endear it to new saw users, and the absence of belts and consumable (wearing-down) parts is a definite plus. Saw blades can also be rotated in the housing for more mileage. The fact that it is a Gryphon places it in a family of tools backed by a reputable company. The Omni Wire Saw comes with a one-year warranty.

We suggest you give the Omni a try first chance you get!

Gryphon Diamond Wire Saw Road Test

Reprinted with permission from:

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Gryphon Omni-1 Diamond Wire Saw

by Joe Porcelli

(note: test was performed with Standard Blades rather than the newer and faster SuperPower Blades now included with each saw)