Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Using a Jewelry Saw

For the longest time, I feared the jewelry saw and I avoided using one. But it you want to do metalwork, you're eventually going to need to saw some metal!

My first feeble attempts at sawing resulted in many broken saw blades. Even trying to saw out a simple figure was difficult. My circles were misshappen, my ovals were eggshaped, and my squares turned out as quadrilaterals.

So I decided that if I couldn't make a simple geometric shape, I better try something different. Fluid forms might not be too bad - I could disguise the fact that I couldn't cut a straight line. And they're pretty interesting and make the back of a pendant seem a little bit different.

So I started cutting out wavy patterns on the backs of my pendants. After a while this got easier and I began to break fewer saw blades.

The other day, I bought the cabochon you see on the right. To me, the pattern of the stone looks like trees on a mountainside, with misty hills in the background. I planned to bezel-set this stone in a pendant, and as I soldering the bezel in place, I suddenly got an idea: I would saw out the back of the bezel in the shape of a leaf!

For someone who'd never sawed anything more intricate than some rounded shapes, that was a pretty daring idea.

So I took my sharpie, drew a leaf, chose my blades, and began sawing away.

And this is what I got:
(Look ma, it took only 6 blades!)

Let me tell you, I learned a lot by just doing this and I've gotten pretty comfortable with my jeweler's saw.

The pendant is still a work in progress but I promise to post some pics when it's finally done.

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  1. Anonymous said...
    Wow....that's pretty crazy to look at the photo of your saw and then what you made! I can't believe you can get that detailed and fine with that tool. Wow...congrats, what a great hand you have!
    ShinyAdornments said...
    6 blades! Holy moly!

    I TOTALLY feel your sawing pain. I can't cut a straight line or circle to save my life. I do find it easier using a pair of Optivisors though. LOL

    Contrariwise said...
    ???I'm not sure if you meant that 6 blades was a lot or not. LOL.

    Until recently, I'd been making do with a pair of scissors that I bought at Harbor Freight for 99 cents. They do great down to 24 gauge!
    Designs by Victoria said...
    I'm another straight-line challenged person. That's a truly amazing bit of work!
    ShinyAdornments said...
    A Lot! I think the most I've destroyed on one piece was 4.. but I've never attempted anything so ambitious as a leaf.

    Shhhh.... I use garden variety kitchen scissors a lot too.

    Contrariwise said...

    My scissors are used a lot too. Harbor Freight sells a pair for 99 cents that are awesome on light gauge metal plate!

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