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Using a Jewelry Saw

Blade versus Gauge


Using a Jewelry Saw
Metalsmiths often discover they need to saw metal or wire in order to construct jewelry, so your jeweler's saw is an important tool to have handy. However, it is also critical to use the right size blade for the gauge of metal you plan to saw. One good reference is the Rio Grande Tools and Equipment catalog, which usually offers lots of tools related information. This article discusses how to select the correct size blade and offers tips for sawing.

Size Considerations

The size of the blade used in a jewelry saw depends on the number of teeth per inch. The more teeth, the finer the blade. I’ve always been partial to a size 2 blade which works best with wire that is 16 to 18 gauge. According to the chart in my Rio Grande catalog, blade sizes 2-5 can be used for this size wire. Most of the time, I find that this gauge of wire makes a nice chain. Anything lower than 16 is too hard for my hands to bend, and anything higher than 18 is very soft. For a chain that will be soldered, it’s easier (for me) to work with gages 14 - 18.

Blade Quality

There are numerous manufacturers of blades. Laser blades are considered a higher quality blade because they are more consistent in the size of the teeth. My personal preference is a brand called Herkules, which come from Germany. I have used cheapo blades before and have had to change them constantly because they break so quickly.

Continue onto the next page of this article for some Sawing Tips.

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