Tips on using a jewelwer's saw, I'm a disaster with it
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Tips on using a jewelwer's saw, I'm a disaster with it
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Posted on Fri Oct 25, 2013 9:25 am
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I just got my jeweler's saw and made a notch in a block of wood to hold my coil for cutting, and I barely did anything but hollow out a very wide ditch in some of the rings, if they didnt get pulled straight out of the coil. If anyone has tips, I need the help. I have blades in sizes 2, 2/0,4/0, and 6/0. I generally only use aluminum and enameled or straight copper.

I'm so frustrated, thank you for the help.


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Posted on Fri Oct 25, 2013 11:07 am
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There are a few ways to do it.
I start with the v block hanging off the edge of my bench about 2".
Then place the coil on the v block with the working end facing me as I sit at the chair.
The blade you select will change with your wire size.
0/6 should be fine for 18 gauge 0/4 for 16 gauge.
It's a matter of personal choice but it should give you a starting point.

Put the blade in the saw and make sure the teath are pointed down so you cut on the pull stroke.

Rub the blade with wax/soap usually one pass is enough.

I then crab the coil near the working end through the frame of the saw and cut at around a 45 angle so the blade starts cutting the second or third ring before getting all the way through the first ring.

I have a hoop set under my chair to catch any rings that don't fall in my bucket. The dust and rings get swept up after each cutting session.

I get about 8-10 inches per blade useing 16 gauge aluminum.
Better blades get me nearly 20-24" of coil.

Traditional pierce work is done at an angle of 90 degrees if your intrested Mann has a good book on demystifing the jewlers saw that's fairly good.
There are a few YouTube videos and lots of web tutorials on small quick projects.

Joined: January 17, 2013
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Posted on Fri Oct 25, 2013 3:36 pm
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The biggest problem I run into is blade tension. If the blade isn't tight it jumps around all over the place. Keep in mind that as you use the blade it will warm and expand due to friction and will probably need to be tightened after a few dozen strokes, varies on the metal your cutting and how much pressure you're applying to the blade.

Keep it nice and tight and cutting is much easier.

Also wear leather gloves, if a blade breaks mid stroke they can stab through your holding hand before you know what's happened. With the teeth set to cut on the pull they go in (to your hand) easily, pulling them back out (when the teeth act like barbs and tear) is no fun. It only took two incidences of removing an inch worth of blade from my hand to make me remember to wear gloves when cutting.

Otherwise losthelm's instructions are bang on. Waxing and cutting angle are both important.


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Posted on Fri Oct 25, 2013 5:28 pm || Last edited by djgm on Fri Oct 25, 2013 5:33 pm; edited 2 times in total
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losthelm wrote:


Put the blade in the saw and make sure the teath are pointed down so you cut on the pull stroke.


alternatively i always push on the coil so i dont pull the coil apart, there's no right way really just whatever works for you. another note, if you use blue dawn dish soap rather than wax it cleans off easier after the fact. I also just make short coils and hold in my left hand with my finger or thumb on the end so i don't have to unclamp and clamp anything, really this method is a little hazardous you could cut your hand quite easily if you don't pay attention but i haven't cut myself yet. hand sawing links is hard, you probly arnt doing it wrong, it's just hard.

what size wire are you cutting? when i cut smaller than 16swg i opt to snip the links off the coil open them and then file the but ends with a high quality micro file.

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Posted on Fri Oct 25, 2013 5:29 pm
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Having just started doing some work with the Jewelers saw myself, I feel the pain!
Though I have not tried to brace my rings, I prefer to hold the coil in my hand as I cut. While dangerous I find I get a bit more control. I have cut myself a few times, but I have some pretty thick calluses on my fingers from work so they have not been bad.. however, it's a good idea to wear gloves, that and I find the pace I cut at the rings can get quite toasty! Especially copper!

I saw (ha!) a tip about switching the blade around to cut on the forward press instead of the traditional back-pull as to cause the spring to compress against itself versus pull apart, which I found to be of great help.

I found it just takes a lot of practice to find your own flow! Keep trying! Smile


"To the optimist the glass is half full, to the pessimist the glass is half empty, and to the madman there is not enough to go around!"

Joined: May 10, 2011
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Posted on Sat Oct 26, 2013 11:01 pm
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djgm wrote:


alternatively i always push on the coil so i dont pull the coil apart, there's no right way really just whatever works for you.

Yes, this happened to me when I cut the only coil I've tried; ripped it completely apart, and lost several links. What a waste!
djgm wrote:
another note, if you use blue dawn dish soap rather than wax it cleans off easier after the fact.

Does blue dawn really work to lubricate? Amazing! That's great
djgm wrote:
I also just make short coils and hold in my left hand with my finger or thumb on the end so i don't have to unclamp and clamp anything, really this method is a little hazardous you could cut your hand quite easily if you don't pay attention but i haven't cut myself yet.

I may try this, I made a ditch with a stop at the end in a block of wood. No clamping with that either Wink
djgm wrote:
hand sawing links is hard, you probly arnt doing it wrong, it's just hard.

Thank you, that makes me feel better, seriously. Thank you.

djgm wrote:
what size wire are you cutting? when i cut smaller than 16swg i opt to snip the links off the coil open them and then file the but ends with a high quality micro file.

I had an 18g 8mm coil. I work in 18g a lot. I used the #2 blade though, that seems to have been a mistake, I originally got the size recommendation from the notes for each blade size on the Ring Lord's website, then bought them from Amazon since I live in the U.S.


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Posted on Sun Oct 27, 2013 1:32 am
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pink.owl wrote:
I had an 18g 8mm coil. I work in 18g a lot. I used the #2 blade though, that seems to have been a mistake, I originally got the size recommendation from the notes for each blade size on the Ring Lord's website, then bought them from Amazon since I live in the U.S.

18g at TRL means 1.2mm. 18g at many other places means 1.0mm. Get in the habit of looking for an actual measurement and not a gauge number. It will save you a lot of grief down the road. Wink


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Posted on Sun Oct 27, 2013 2:07 am
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There are a few charts to convert between gauge systems and to real numbers.
The wire can also be slightly smaller and still be with in tolerance.

Gauge finder is a free app for apple that works for me.

I have the same issues with drill bits.
Fractional inch, metric, and letter drill bits are all slightly different.

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Posted on Sun Oct 27, 2013 4:55 am
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losthelm wrote:
There are a few ways to do it.

The blade you select will change with your wire size.
0/6 should be fine for 18 gauge 0/4 for 16 gauge.
It's a matter of personal choice but it should give you a starting point.


Rub the blade with wax/soap usually one pass is enough.

I then crab the coil near the working end through the frame of the saw and cut at around a 45 angle so the blade starts cutting the second or third ring before getting all the way through the first ring.

I have a hoop set under my chair to catch any rings that don't fall in my bucket. The dust and rings get swept up after each cutting session.

I get about 8-10 inches per blade useing 16 gauge aluminum.
Better blades get me nearly 20-24" of coil.

Traditional pierce work is done at an angle of 90 degrees if your intrested Mann has a good book on demystifing the jewlers saw that's fairly good.
There are a few YouTube videos and lots of web tutorials on small quick projects.

Thank you, losthelm, the blade and angle advice should prove extremely useful!


Never trust atoms.
They make up everything. Wink

Joined: May 10, 2011
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Posted on Sun Oct 27, 2013 5:03 am
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Thank you Levi, and Victus for your helpful input.
And thank you, lorraine, I do know that there is SWG and AWG, and that they are different, I just don't really know how to check what type of measurements a seller is using, do most specify AWG or SWG?

losthelm wrote:
There are a few charts to convert between gauge systems and to real numbers.
The wire can also be slightly smaller and still be with in tolerance.

Gauge finder is a free app for apple that works for me.

I have the same issues with drill bits.
Fractional inch, metric, and letter drill bits are all slightly different.

Thank you, losthelm, again Smile


Never trust atoms.
They make up everything. Wink

Joined: May 10, 2011
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Posted on Sun Oct 27, 2013 5:05 am
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lorraine wrote:
pink.owl wrote:
I had an 18g 8mm coil. I work in 18g a lot. I used the #2 blade though, that seems to have been a mistake, I originally got the size recommendation from the notes for each blade size on the Ring Lord's website, then bought them from Amazon since I live in the U.S.

18g at TRL means 1.2mm. 18g at many other places means 1.0mm. Get in the habit of looking for an actual measurement and not a gauge number. It will save you a lot of grief down the road. Wink

OOOOh! I get it now, sorry, duh!!! Wink Laughing


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Joined: January 17, 2013
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Posted on Tue Oct 29, 2013 10:57 pm
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Here is a little render I made to show how I'm holding my coils when saw cutting them.


Here's how it works.

1. The slotted gray mandrel is secured in a vise (not visible, it's behind the hand) and angled with the slotted tip down-wards on a 15-20 degree angle. The ID of the mandrel should match the ID of the coil as much as possible.
2. Your hand holds the coil from sliding up the mandrel. I use both my thumb and index finger to hold the coil in-place.
3. Hold the saw with your other hand and angle the blade to a 45-60 degree, whatever feels most comfortable to you. See tip d. for further details.

Further usage tips.

a. Keep the coil away from the tip of the mandrel. The mandrel is keeping the ring in-place. If the coil is too near the end of the mandrel the ring will pull upwards and wiggle as you cut through it.
b. A washer with an ID that matches the mandrel OD can make holding the coil a bit easier, will probably have to be moved out of the way for the last 5-10 rings. The washer goes on the mandrel before the coil.
c. Put a large container under the tip of the mandrel. Cut rings will just fall off the mandrel into the container.
d. From experience thus far having the vise & mandrel mounted at around hip height (sitting or standing) is the most comfortable. Regardless the ergonomics are not great, take breaks and stretch between every few coils.
e. Holding the coil and mandrel in your hand without a vise is probably not going to work out well.
f. A 2x4 secured to a bench with a hole drilled in it that matches the OD of the mandrel will work in a pinch if you don't have a vise. Probably a good idea to put a screw into the 2x4 that secures the mandrel in it.
g. If you let go of the coil it will likely slide off the mandrel into your container.
h. The mandrel does not have to be metal, a wooden dowel or plastic rod should be strong enough for the task.

I'm probably forgetting something (I can't seem to find the article I was writing on the subject...) I'll update as I recall details.


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Posted on Tue Oct 29, 2013 11:50 pm
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Levi, I have a feeling you NEED to get all your information down and submit them as articles! Razz


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Posted on Wed Oct 30, 2013 8:55 am
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Levi wrote:
Here is a little render I made to show how I'm holding my coils when saw cutting them.
, whatever feels most comfortable to you. See tip d. for further details.

Further usage tips.


b. A washer with an ID that matches the mandrel OD can make holding the coil a bit easier, will probably have to be moved out of the way for the last 5-10 rings. The washer goes on the mandrel before the coil.


Thank you Levi, could you explain in a little further detail about what the washer does?

And, thanks to everyone's suggestions, I was able to cut a coil last night successfully, no warped or broken blades, if fact I could still pluck it like a guitar string. I'm cutting 18awg solid copper, using a saw blade of 2/0. This evening I wanted to cut some rings off a much smaller diameter coil (3.5mm), so I grabbed one of the 6/0 blades so as to not take so much material out of these smaller rings and it went beautifully! I got a ring on every third stroke!! Still no warped or broken blade, and the cuts were nice. Very Happy So happy, thanks to everyone!
~erin


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Posted on Thu Oct 31, 2013 3:24 am
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EDIT: I'll update the render again the washer should be between the index and middle finger. The middle finger and those back from it back apply downwards pressure on the washer which presses against the coil. Your thumb and index finger steady the coil and prevent it from twisting.

I've updated the render to include the washer, the vise is also now visible, I added another finger to my meatball hand and quickly made a handle and frame for the saw blade.

The washer makes for a larger surface to apply pressure to the coil, with the washer between your hand coil otherwise you have to pinch/hold the coil with your thumb and fingers the whole time.
It also keeps your hand at the back of the coil, a bit further away from the blade during most of the process. As the coil gets smaller your hand gets closer to the blade. When you get to the end of the coil the washer will start to get in the way of the blade at this point I side the washer up past my hand and hold it back with my pinky finger while holding the coil with my thumb and index finger and finish off the coil.
Did I mention wear leather gloves!
I can finish a whole coil on the mandrel but I most often leave the last few rings. I've broken more blades trying to get the last 2 or 3 rings from a coil, it's just not worth the extra time and effort for a few rings. Toss them in a pile hand cut them later.

I glad to hear you've had success pink.owl.


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