by Barbara Bechtel
I've been really enjoying reconnecting with my jewelry saw over the last few months and this week, I've been challenging myself to making very tiny shapes using the scraps in my scrap pile.
Arguably, the most important tool in any metalsmith's studio, I'm often surprised more people don't have one or haven't tried it! It is inexpensive and so versatile!
To get started, you will need to invest in a simple saw frame, an assortment of blades, some Bur-Life or beeswax, and a bench pin and sheet metal.
A bench pin is a wooden v-shape plate that will help you achieve the cuts in your chosen design. It need not be expensive or fancy and if you happen to have a spare piece of wood and a jig saw, you can even make your own!
An assortment of saw blades will start you off. The more intricate your design, the finer blade you will use. For large or rough cutting, you will use a thicker and heavier gauge blade. Always begin by lubricating your blade with bees wax or metal lubricant such as Bur-Life.
There are a wealth of videos and tutorials on the internet that can get you started if you're the go-getter type. I also heartily recommend Thomas Mann's book Metal Artist's Workbench: Demystifying the Jeweler's Saw
If you learn better through classes, local museums, arts leagues, and even community colleges often have beginning metalsmith classes that cover this most basic and useful skill!
Do you use a jeweler's saw?