Metalsmiting: The Jeweler's Saw

Metalsmiting: The Jeweler's Saw

The Jeweler's Saw: One of the first tools you learn to use when beginning working in metals.  When you start a metals project you will almost always begin with a sheet of metal.  This fabulous tool is what you use to cut out shapes, circles and slits.  
A basic jewelers saw has a "C" shape frame and a wood or plastic handle.  Saw blades are usually bought separately and come in different sizes.  You use specific sizes to cut different gauges of metal.  For example a number 2 saw blade would be good for cutting a 16 or 18 gauge sheet of metal.  A 2/0 has much smaller teeth and would be good for cutting 24 or 22 gauge metal.  It has to do with the number of teeth for the thickness of metal. Another thing to remember is you always want the teeth facing down and toward the metal. There should be a nice tension on the blade as well. Just enough so if you pluck the blade it goes "ting".
Before you begin cutting it is helpful to run your blade over a wax block for lubrication.  Learning to use a jeweler saw for the first time can be a bit frustrating as many blades snap while you learn the movement and tension needed.  Most beginners have a tendency to apply to much forward pressure, ending up in a snapped blade.  It is well worth the effort to keep practicing, as the process can greatly expand the range of pieces you can create.

Basic Jeweler's Saw

Below is an example of a piece I created that consists of different layers of silver and copper, the intricate patterns all handout with a jewelers saw. 

Hand-Cut Layered Pendant

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