Saw Frames and Saw Blades in Jewelry Making

A jeweler's saw frame and blades is essential for cutting metal. Learn more about things to consider when purchasing a saw frame and blades.

2 Minute Read

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Saw Frame

A jeweler's saw frame and blades is essential for cutting shapes out of sheet metal. The saw blade is placed in the holders above the wooden handle and tightened into place with the knobs. If the blade is too tight, it will snap when you start sawing. Too loose and it's ineffective and will eventually snap.

The teeth of the saw blade need to be pointing down to the handle as cutting is done with the downward stroke. You can run your thumb lightly on the blade, or rub the blade with a piece of cloth. The blade will snag in only one direction. The saw blade needs to be tensioned so it will PING. If the blade is too loose you can't saw accurately; too tight and you get to put in another blade.

I would suggest that you buy some good saw blades and some cheap ones to practice with. You will break blades, it's better not to use the good blades until you build up some skill with the saw frame. I use sizes 1 and 4/0. The rule of thumb is to have at least three teeth on the thickness of metal you are sawing.

Hold the frame, in a relaxed hand, at a right angle to the piece being sawed. A piece of beeswax or a piece of cotton dipped in wintergreen oil can be used to lubricate the saw blade so it won't bind up. A bench pin attaches to your work bench to provide support while sawing.

Saw frames are sold based on throat depth from blade to the back of the saw. A 3" (76mm) or 4" (102mm) throat depth is preferable as a start. I use a saw frame with a two and a half inch throat. If I need to cut a piece longer than two and a half inches I just turn the metal around and start cutting from the other side. In all the time I've been doing this I've used a deeper saw frame a handful of times. The deeper the saw frame the harder it is to use.

  • The Germans make a saw frame that is top-notch. Gesswein offers it on its website with various throat depths. The blades are sold separately based on thickness.
  • Amazon sells a less expensive version of the German saw frame on their website with various throat depths. Blades are sold separately based on thickness.
Saw Blades

Saw blades are sold separately in differing thicknesses. 3/0 is a universal thickness. They run from 8/0 (the smallest) to #14 (the thickest). Gesswein sells excellent quality blades on their site. PepeTools offers them as well. Spending a bit more and purchasing better saw blades is a wise investment.

You'll need a lubricant to coat your saw blades once they are strung in the saw frame. Beeswax is a common lubricant. Synthetic versions of lubricant are available on the PepeTools website.

Jewelers Saw Frame Recommendations

PhotoNameTop Reviews on Amazon
SE 2-in-1 Professional...image SE 2-in-1 Professional Jeweler's Saw Frame .

"Can be tedious securing the tiny blades. However, cuts through wood for small scale projects and jewelry making wonderully!read more

OLSON SAW SF63523...image Olson Saw SF63523 3-Inch Jewlers Saw Frame

"Fitted with a skip tooth blade, this little saw makes short work of dovetail waste. Turns 'on a dime'. With a bit of practice, it's easy to slip down the kerf left by the dovetail saw, and cut horizintally 1/16" from the scribe line. In a single pass.

The 3" frame can handle a long line of dovetails (or pins) by gently twisting the blade with pliers, where it meets the saw frame. I put maybe a 30 deg twist. Between that, and a bit of hand pressure, 'encouraging' a horizontal cut, the saw cuts nicely, and the frame rides along the tops of the tails/pins.

The handle can be slippy, especially with a twisting grip, so (nod to Rob Cosman) I wrapped it in gaff tape, with a bit of shoelace spiraled underneath.

You can use a regular full-tooth blade, but the skip version cuts faster.
"   read more

SE 3 SE 3" Professional Adjustable Jeweler's Saw Frame

"This is my learning saw. I bought it to make jump rings, and it does a much better job than I can do with flush cutters and a file. I recently bought a set of coil-cutting pliers, which hold in place for sawing and make it much easier than holding them in my hand. Two very use pieces of advice I greatly appreciate: Tighten the blade until it makes a "dink" when you touch it, and frequently coat the blade with a lubricant so the blade can move more smoothly and last longer. A plain white candle works well for me. Flick, flick, flick -- run it along the sides and teeth. The saw is comfortable in the hand, easy to load and tighten, and stable. The blade stays tight through hours of use. With the saw, I can produce jump rings so much faster and more cleanly than with cutters that there's no comparison. It's a useful jewelry tool, and I'm glad I have more

NIUPIKA Jeweler's Saw...image NIUPIKA Jeweler's Saw Frame Adjustable

"This was exactly what I was searching for. The item came in a nice package along with saw blades. To my surprise, these blades are wayyyyyy smaller than I thought they would be. This made it extremely easy to cut through small items like rings for sizing, etc.

The pack of blades that came with this surprised me even more when finding out not only had there been a few packed together but there have to be almost 20 blades for each little set of them! Which made for a very very large amount of blades one could use that I was not suspecting. The picture does not reflect this! There were way more blades then what the picture reflects.

It is a bit tricky to see how to clamp the blades in but once you figure it out it is easygoing from there. There is also the additional clamp along the mainframe that allows for other adjustments. Other ones I saw did not have this.
read more

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Megan Coward, Graduate Jeweler Gemologist, GIA, Graduate Gemologist

Megan Coward is a graduate of the GIA with Graduate Jeweler Gemologist and Graduate Gemologist accreditations. She has 20+ years in the retail jewelry industry in various roles including as a diamond buyer and gemstone appraiser.

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