Saturday, 7 February 2009
Firstly, I'd like to say that these tips are my tips (found over years of trial & error) and other metalsmiths may have different techniques which are just as good , if not better than mine. So try them out, see how you like it...
Sawframe: Must be of good quality, otherwise you have a hard time sawing and break many blades! I use German ones, only because i find them the most comfortable for me. I have also found a really cheap one that some of my students use that I also find very comfortable. There are different 'throat' (how deep they are) sizes.
These must be the correct size for the thickness of the metal used. a good guide is 4 teeth (approx) to the metal thickness.
When you put the blade in, make sure the teeth point down (towards the handle, as I consider the handle the bottom. Also make sure that the blade is quite taught and should have a high pitched 'ping' when you pluck at it like a guitar string to see if it's not loose. Lubricate it with sometime of lubricant. I use bees wax or candles(old ones)or if i can't locate the wax and am in a hurry I use spit (YES , spit!!)
I usually 'mark' the spot that i am going to start on by running the blade in a upwards motion first. That makes it easier to start cutting (going up & down).
It is easier and smoother cutting if you make a paper pattern of what you are going to sawpierce. By that I mean, draw whatever you are going to cut out on a piece of paper and then stick it on to the metal with glue and then strt cutting. I find that the blades stay sharper for much longer and it is alot smoother cutting.
Oh yes, and most importantly PRACTICE A LOT!!
Hope that helps a bit.