What Is a Diamond Wire Saw?

There are many different approaches to cutting and removing concrete. Ring saws are one option because they are easy to handle, but they also have many limitations. If you need thicker materials cut and want something done with precision, a diamond wire saw is a better option.

Diamond wire saws are used to remove reinforced or large concrete structures by segmenting.  Wire saws can cut through nearly any material because diamonds are among the hardest materials in the world.

In short, a diamond wire saw is a saw which rotates loops of wire cable onto which are threaded metal beads crusted with diamond chips. The entirety of the cable and the beads is then protected from corrosion by an elastomeric compound covering.  The cable is made of multiple strands of high-tensile steel wire.

How Do Diamond Wire Saws Work?

If you’ve ever used a bandsaw or reciprocating saw, a wire saw operates using the same basic principles. The diamond wire is arranged around the material that requires cutting. It can also be threaded through a core hole. Then, the wire saw is rotated at speed, using the abrasion of the diamonds on the wires to cut through the concrete or other materials. 

Diamond wire cutting produces a significant amount of heat, which means cooling is essential. Many diamond wire saws use “wet cutting,” meaning there is a flow of water to provide cooling. 

What Are the Benefits of Using Diamond Wire Saws?

Using the strength of diamonds to cut through thick, dense, and hard materials like concrete and metal is incredibly useful. Here are some of the main benefits of diamond wire saws.

They Can Cut Any Size

Diamond wire saws have the ability to cut through any thickness or size of concrete and steel. The power and precision of these tools mean that they can tackle major projects like columns, beams, sections of bridges, dams, and other structures. Once cut, the sides of the material are smooth, making them easier and safer for workers to handle. 

They Are Incredibly Accurate

Diamond wire sawing is incredibly accurate. Trained professionals can deliver precise results even in the most extreme conditions, such as underwater or in tight spaces. Diamond wire saws are also very effective at cutting awkward corners and odd shapes. The flexibility of the wire allows technicians to complete work to precise specifications.

They Are Highly Efficient

Time is money when it comes to construction and demolition projects. Diamond wire cutting does the job with incredible accuracy and speed. Other cutting techniques don’t come close to measuring up. Because it is so efficient, there are less wasted materials at the end of the process and fewer work hours required to get the job done correctly.

They Are a Safe Option

Removing concrete and steel isn’t a safe activity by any means, but using diamond wire sawing is one of the safest options for workers. It’s fumeless, less vibrational, and quieter than other sawing options. With that said, only trained professionals should use diamond wire saws.

What Are the Different Applications for Diamond Wire Saws?

Diamond wire saws were initially used to cut stones in quarries. Over the years, their uses have expanded substantially. A diamond wire saw can cut through concrete (including reinforced concrete), steel, stone, granite, and brick. Some of the most common applications for wire sawing include the following.

  • Precision concrete demolition projects
  • Cutting through concrete structures, such as dams, bridges, columns, beams, and factory floors
  • Dismantling nuclear power plants
  • Cutting through openings with limited access
  • Angular cuts on horizontal and vertical structures
  • Precision cuts on restricted, sensitive, or confined areas
  • Cutting through heavy rebar or embedded steel
  • Subsea cutting of, pipelines, and other underwater concrete or metal structures

Just a Few of Our Diamond Wire Sawing Projects

Bluegrass Bit Company has worked on many diamond wire sawing projects. Here are just a few real-world solutions showing how our experts can cut anything. 

  • Gross Reservoir Dam Expansion — Bluegrass Bit has played an integral part in Denver Water’s Gross Reservoir expansion. In Project Phase 1, we removed the dam’s ogee crest by inserting diamond wire saws into core holes to cut blocks for removal. 
  • Lake Matthews Water Intake Structure Modifications — We used diamond wire saws to remove a 30’ diameter concrete water intake structure in sections to modify this water intake area of the Colorado River.
  • Port of Los Angeles — We removed a 14.5’ diameter concrete and metal sheet pile cell at the Port of Los Angeles. Using a specially designed 15’ underwater diamond wire saw, the material was cut into pieces and removed by a crane. 
  • NASA Concrete Silo Dismantling — We assisted NASA in removing existing concrete silos built for the space shuttle booster rocket to make way for other projects. Using diamond wire saw technology, we cut the concrete silos into segments for removal ahead of schedule. 

Worldwide Diamond Wire Sawing Services

Concrete cutting is one of Bluegrass Bit Company’s foundational services. We have revolutionized the field of precision concrete demolition and construction using our custom-built diamond wire technology. We became the first demolition company to use diamond wire saws for controlled demolition in the late 1970s.

Our concrete and metal cutting services are the safest and most precise in the industry. Our saws can cut a wide variety of materials under the most extreme conditions. We work on land, on elevated platforms, and deploy wire saws underwater at locations across the globe. Contact us today for more information about our diamond wire sawing services.

What Is Concrete Core Drilling? What Purpose Does It Serve?

If you’re in the construction, mining, utilities, or infrastructure industry, it’s likely that your project will eventually require concrete core drilling. This particular service has revolutionized the construction and demolition process in many ways. Here is what you need to know about concrete core drilling, the different purposes it can serve, and examples of some of our projects using this service.

What Is Concrete Core Drilling?

Concrete core drilling, also called concrete coring, is the process of removing a cylindrical section of concrete from a structure or wall. This action is most often performed on walls, ceilings, and floors. 

Concrete core drilling must be done safely and carefully. A mistake could compromise the wall’s load-bearing ability or the entire structure. Once the hole is drilled, the result should be perfectly smooth and round. 

How Concrete Core Drilling Works

Concrete core drilling requires a specialized tool called a core drill. The tool’s purpose is to create large holes in masonry surfaces like concrete, stone, brick, and cement. A core drill looks like a hole saw, but the drill bits used will be either diamond or carbide, depending on the application. 

Before core drilling takes place, there is usually a test called GPR scanning. This is short for ground-penetrating radar. It’s a way to get a closer look at the inside of the concrete to ensure it is structurally sound enough to sustain drilling.

By using a specialized bit and core drill, a circular section of concrete is drilled and then removed from the structure. The drill is mounted in a way that secures the machine and ensures a clean cut. As the drill’s shaft rotates, it cuts into the concrete or other material as deep as required. 

The core created by the drill is called a “slug.” Depending on its size, it might be removed whole or in pieces. The resulting hole may be used for a variety of purposes. 

Uses for Concrete Core Drilling

Concrete core drilling has a wide range of applications. Nearly every new construction project, renovation, or demolition will require cutting concrete cores. Some of the most common uses for concrete core drilling include the following.

  • Creating holes for floor drains, heating and gas pipes, storm drains, and other plumbing
  • Creating openings for electrical conduits, feed wires, and other electrical needs
  • Creating holes for mechanical HVAC pipes and ducts
  • Creating spaces for fiber optic, cable, and phone wire
  • Creating holes for anchors and handrails
  • Taking out concrete samples for testing
  • Drilling water tanks or creating an opening for manholes
  • Creating cut lines on major renovation and demolition projects
  • Creating access holes for wire saw operations on precision demolition projects

Advantages of Using a Professional for Concrete Core Drilling

Concrete core drilling projects are complex and often hazardous. A simple mistake could be costly in terms of property damage and safety. Here are a few advantages of using a professional for your next concrete core drilling project. 

Maintain Structural Integrity

If not done correctly, making cuts or drilling holes in concrete can have damaging effects on a building’s structure. A professional concrete drilling company will ensure your project is done in the correct manner. 

100% Precision

Accuracy is a critical factor in handling concrete. If the work isn’t done correctly, it could lead to flaws or the need for future reworks. A professional will always use high-quality equipment and trained professionals to achieve accurate and precise results. 

Environmental Considerations

The dust created by these projects can be hazardous to the environment and have the potential to cause serious illnesses. A professional will employ a wide range of solutions to take these environmental issues into consideration. 

Ensured Safety

Many projects involving concrete cutting take place in extreme environments, and handling the tools themselves can be dangerous. When you work with a professional, you ensure the safety of everyone involved. 

Examples of Concrete Core Drilling Projects

Bluegrass Bit Company provides concrete core drilling as one of our specialty services. Here is just a sampling of the many projects we’ve completed that involved core drilling. 

Contact Us for Expert Concrete Core Drilling Services Worldwide

Concrete core drilling takes years of experience to perform safely and properly. It’s never a good idea to attempt to alter concrete on your own. Instead, hire a seasoned professional so the job is done right.

Bluegrass Bit Company offers quality core drilling services to clients worldwide. Since 1979, our company has become well-known for its innovative techniques for cutting and removing concrete. Our core drilling technicians and equipment are capable of drilling cores up to 42″ in diameter at any angle and up to depths of 50′. Contact us today to discuss your project.

Bluegrass Bit’s Complete Guide to Concrete Cutting

This is a photo of a person cutting concrete.

If your facility has concrete in the wrong place or needs to make some changes for another reason, what are your options? Blowing it up is probably one, but that route has many downsides, including being dangerous and destructive to surrounding structures. 

The best solution is concrete cutting, which is safer and more controlled. Here is what you need to know about concrete cutting, how it’s used, and the different methods for precisely removing concrete during your project.  

What Is Concrete Cutting?

Concrete cutting is a controlled process that modifies or removes concrete. Because concrete has a high compressive strength relative to many other construction materials, it requires a unique approach when you need to change its structure. If you need to make any repairs or improvements to your facility, and concrete is involved, you must cut the concrete to get it done. 

Types of Concrete Cutting Methods

When you know you need to modify your concrete, what’s the proper way to do it? Depending on your circumstances and goals, there are several different types of concrete cutting methods. 

Wall Sawing

Wall sawing refers to making a cut into an existing concrete wall. To accomplish this, a concrete cutter will use a large diamond blade or a diamond wire saw that can cut completely through the wall. The saw will have an attachment allowing it to be guided along an established line or track in the wall. 

Slab Sawing

Similar to wall sawing, slab sawing involves cutting horizontal pieces of a concrete floor, road, bridge, or anything else that is flat. One operator runs the slab saw from behind to guide it along the surface. 

Core Drilling

Core drilling involves cutting a round hole into a specific area of the concrete. This is commonly used to facilitate repairs or add in a variety of infrastructure components such as wiring, plumbing, or ventilation. The holes vary in depth and diameter, depending on their intended purpose. 

Wire Sawing

Wire sawing is a particular concrete cutting tool that requires experience and skill to set up and operate, but these saws are the most accurate concrete cutters available. A diamond wire saw is made of a main wheel that is driven by a hydraulic or electric motor, which steadily pulls the diamond wire along the cut path. The diamond beads use friction to cut through any material, from concrete to titanium. 

Why Concrete Cutting Is Used

Concrete cutting is common in construction and demolition projects where the primary material used is reinforced concrete, cemented concrete blocks, concrete bricks, stones, and other hard-to-cut items. A variety of projects will use concrete cutting, such as bridges and overpasses, dams, wharves and piers, sewage treatment plants, chemical plants, and nuclear power plants.

Benefits of Concrete Cutting

Concrete cutting offers numerous benefits over methods like explosive demolition. 

Less Intrusive

When you blow something up, there’s a chance you might damage more than you intended. Even the most skilled explosive expert can’t make guarantees, while concrete cutting only targets the areas you want to be altered. Thus, it is much less invasive to your structure. 


Explosives are noisy, potentially dangerous, and disruptive. Sure, concrete cutters can make some noise, but they are much quieter than the alternative.


Concrete dust is a known health hazard, so it makes sense to minimize this as much as possible. Instead of paying for an explosion of dust, you can have a controlled cut that is safer for the people in the area. Bluegrass saws use water to cut in a “wetted” condition, and the resulting slurry is efficiently captured and contained. 

More Economical

Because concrete cutting is more precise, it can be the best option economically. You are only removing the concrete you don’t need. 

Examples of Concrete Cutting Projects

Bluegrass Bit Company is known as a global pioneer in the field of precision demolition. Our specialized concrete cutting equipment works on land, deep underwater, and under the most extreme conditions. Here are just a few examples of our concrete cutting projects.

  • Gross Reservoir Dam Expansion — This is an ongoing project in support of Denver Water’s Gross Reservoir Expansion, which will triple the reservoir’s capacity by raising the height of the dam by 131’. In 2022, we assisted with removing the dam’s ogee crest through precision concrete cutting and concrete block removal. 
  • Humboldt Bay Nuclear Plant Decommissioning — We assisted with removing a 250’-tall ventilation stack at this nuclear power plant by cutting it into ring sections under harsh conditions and removing them from the premises. 
  • Arecibo Observatory Tower Repairs — This observatory located on a mountaintop in Puerto Rico required extensive repairs after damage to the dish. We used diamond-wire saws to cut damaged towers into smaller pieces for removal by crane.
  • Pecan Island Compressor Base Cut — We helped remove a 90,000 lb. compressor on Pecan Island that sat on l-beams, which had been leveled using concrete grout in varying depths. We cut the base using diamond-wire technology, which allowed the compressor to be removed while remaining intact.

Contact Bluegrass Bit Company for Your Precision Concrete Cutting Needs

If you have a need for precision demolition, Bluegrass Bit has the experience, capabilities, and resources necessary to take on your job, anywhere in the world. We offer diamond-wire sawing, concrete shaving, core drilling, and other precision demolition services to clients in heavy industrial, offshore, heavy metal, nuclear, heavy civil, and other industries. We were the first demolition company to use diamond wire saws for controlled demolition in the 1970s. 

Our more than four decades in the business have made us a global authority in the demolition and decommissioning business, and we are known for our advancements in diamond-wire sawing as an alternative to using explosives. Contact us today to discuss your project and learn more about how we can help you achieve your goals.

Project Spotlight! The Gross Reservoir Expansion Project

The Gross Reservoir Expansion Project in Boulder County, Colorado, is one of the major elements of Denver’s long-term water supply plan. The project involves significantly increasing the capacity of the dam by boosting its size. However, before it can be enlarged, the top of the dam must be removed. Here are some of the specifics of this project and how Bluegrass Bit Company played a vital role in Phase 1.

Denver Water’s Long-Term Supply Plan

Denver Water is Colorado’s oldest and largest water utility, serving a rapidly growing population of over 1.5 million people in the city of Denver and surrounding communities. To help service its community and ensure the future of its water system, the utility has created a long-term supply plan. 

Denver Water is the third-largest landowner in the state of Colorado. Its reservoirs are used for both water storage and recreation. The utility has ensured sustainability by encouraging conservation by its customers in combination with its 50-year planning process. Part of its long-term plan is undertaking major expansion projects.

The Gross Reservoir Expansion Project

The Gross Reservoir Expansion Project is one of the most significant parts of Denver Water’s long-term supply plan. Gross Reservoir is located in Boulder County and is owned and operated by Denver Water. It is named for former Denver Water Chief Engineer Dwight D. Gross. 

The reservoir was completed in 1954, has a surface area of 440 acres, and receives its water from the western side of the Continental Divide via the Moffat Tunnel. It also provides recreational opportunities, such as kayaking, canoeing, fishing, swimming, and primitive camping. 

Through the Gross River Expansion Project, Denver Water aims to provide future water security to its customers, who comprise roughly one-quarter of the state’s population, and boost the net environmental health of the state’s water quality through various initiatives on both sides of the Continental Divide. 

Specifically, this project will increase the height of the dam by 131 feet once the project is completed in 2027. By raising the dam’s height, this more than triples the reservoir’s capacity from roughly 42,000 acre-feet to 119,000 acre-feet. 

Of the additional capacity added through this project’s expansion, a vast majority will be allocated to the Denver Water customer usage. The rest will go into an environmental pool, which will enhance the stream flow of a 17-mile section of South Boulder Creek and provide additional storage for Lafayette and Boulder.

In past years, excess water flowed out of the state because there was no place to store it. This project will allow Denver Water to store water from spring runoff in Gross Reservoir during average and wet years.

The project received final approval and $531 million in funding from the Denver Board of Water Commission in 2021. Kiewit Barnard Joint Venture was awarded the initial construction manager / general manager contract for the project, and because the team’s performance in this design / planning phase met Denver Water’s expectations, a separate contract for the construction phase was awarded.

Construction began on the project in 2022 and is expected to take five years to complete. Early work on the project involved removing rock on either side of the canyon to make way for the additional concrete that will be installed over and above the existing dam. These activities took place before the intricate demolition in Project Phase 1 could commerce. 

Environmental Benefits of the Project

In addition to securing the reservoir’s future for Coloradans, the Gross Reservoir Expansion Project will provide many other environmental benefits. Denver Water has committed to protecting South Boulder Creek, as well as the Colorado, Blue, Williams Fork, and Fraser Rivers. 

Denver Water, through various settlements and agreements, has committed to more than 60 different enhancement and mitigation projects on both the East and West slopes at a cost of more than $30 million. Some of these projects include the following.

  • In partnership with the cities of Boulder and Lafayette, Denver Water will create a 5,000-acre environmental pool to improve South Boulder Creek’s stream flow during periods of low flow. 
  • The agency committed $50,000 to improving stream channeling on the Fraser River. 
  • Denver Water will monitor water quality, stream temperatures, channel stability, and aquatic insects in numerous streams on both the East and West Slopes. 

Because of these initiatives, these waterways will be better protected for the future. 

Project Phase 1 – Removing the Dam’s Ogee Crest

Construction began on the project on April 1, 2022. Before the additional height could be added to the dam, the top needed to be removed. In Project Phase 1, Bluegrass Bit Company was tasked with removing the dam’s ogee crest. This section measures 13’H x 28’W x 160’L. 

We worked from the dam’s narrow crests and platforms secured to the dam’s face. This was hazardous work where each movement of personnel and equipment had to be precisely planned. At the same time, our team had to run its saws simultaneously to prep the massive (up to 60,000 lb.) blocks for removal. 

We drilled a 4” core wire access hole through the dam’s width, using these as access points for wire saws. We used those saws to create vertical slots, which were used to hold our patented rail saw frames. Those diamond wire saws would do the precision cutting required on the ogee crest. 

With two vertical and two horizontal saws stacked into position, the machines were run simultaneously in a way that accelerated cutting time and allowed for material removal as cutting took place. Thanks to the efficient planning and execution of our Bluegrass technicians, over 20,000 square feet of concrete was cut into blocks and removed as planned with no safety incidents. 

Worldwide Precision Demolition Experts

Bluegrass Bit Company has the expertise and resources to take on any precision demolition job of any scope, anywhere in the world. Founded in 1979 and headquartered in Greenville, AL, we are known globally as an authority in demolition and decommissioning using diamond-wire sawing as a non-explosive technique for cutting metal and concrete, a method we are also able to deploy underwater.

Contact us today to discuss your project and learn more about how our reputation for problem-solving can benefit your business.