Carbide saws equipped with carbide or coated cermet-tipped blades are designed to cut extremely hard materials.  The effectiveness of the blade depends to a great degree on the way that the saw is built.

The relatively brittle carbide or cermet tips require very rigid and backlash-free machines, operating with low vibration to avoid cracking of the cutting tips and to ensure an equal chip load on each tooth of the saw blade.  This is especially important with the spindle drive.  The spindle drive gears must have low backlash and must be supported by preloaded, heavy-duty bearings to minimize vibration.  The same is true with the blade feed mechanism and the head slide or pivot mechanism.

Generally, there are two types of saws — slide-type or pivot-type saws — differentiated by the way the blade is fed into the work piece.  The more common saws are slide-type machines, where the head slide can be arranged in a vertical, horizontal or angular position. The preloaded slide can glide on box ways or preloaded linear ways. Experts still argue whether box ways using low-friction lining and hydraulically preloaded way clamps have a better dampening effect than linear ways with hardened balls, rollers, and blocks.