Friday, May 30, 2014

Piercing Tin With Jeweler's Saw

I know some makers avoid using the jeweler's saw -- it can be tricky, the blades can break and you feel like you're hacking away at your project.  But!  A few adjustments in tools, technique and attitude can make you fall in love with that tricky saw.  Here's a project in the works:  middle-eastern inspired flapper dangles with pierced arabesques cut from (don't tell) an old Hostess Fruitcake tin.

The secret of using the saw is first to have the right blade for the metal you are using:  in this case very thin steel.  That means at least 3 teeth per thickness of the metal.  I used a 6/0 blade, and believe it or not, just one blade, one I had used on other projects, and finally threw out because it got dull.  The other secret is to use a relaxed hand in holding the saw, even letting your pinky finger tilt up like you're drinking tea from a fine china cup. This will help you avoid pushing the saw through the metal and just let the tee-tiny teeth of the saw blade do the work.  Keep the saw more or less in the same place, and turn the work piece gently with the other hand.  Then remember that if your mind wanders, so will the cutting line.  It can be like meditation, and enjoyable, with a little attitude adjustment!

When buying blades, get the best quality and look for ones that have a rounded back edge.

Once you get the hang of it on tin, you can progress to other metals, and it will be soft and silky like butter!


  1. I've just treated myself to a new saw since I was using a crappy hack saw before and that will only cut in a rough line!

  2. Nothing better than a good tool and good saw blades! There is so much you can do with them.

  3. Thank you, Pricilla, for more experienced helpfulness. Sawing has always seemed so unattractive to me, but you make it sound, gulp, even fun...

  4. hi sweetie! i've been gone for a while and i see you have a new name and everything! im glad you decided just to change the name. these are exquisite and i still am amazed by your patience.