By Helen I. Driggs
It’s no secret that a jeweler’s saw is one of the most – if not the most – important tools you’ll use over the course of your jewelry making career. Choosing a saw is not usually something you overthink when you are a student or beginner, but using just the right one from the start can make your work life so much easier, and who doesn’t want that?
I recently test drove a new saw frame for several weeks in a most unlikely place: as the studio jewelry making instructor for a girls summer camp. As an experienced foundation skills instructor, I am painfully aware of the fact that sawing is typically not high on the list of tasks that beginners (or even non-beginners) love, so steering a student toward the right frame, blades and technique can make learning how to saw not only easier, but more pleasant, too.
Being a creature of habit, it was no easy feat for me to try out a new frame either, but I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised when I too stepped into student mode to run Gesswein’s Apprentice’s Adjustable Saw Frame (1871185) through its paces over the summer. Over the course of several weeks, I found the rigid steel and sturdy construction of this saw to be a great asset when sawing heavy gauge wire, tubing and sheet, and I honestly cut nearly 1000 sections of ring stock for my students while using it. This frame never underperformed, and unlike the other student level saws available in the shop, there was absolutely no twisting or bending and the design of the set screws made capturing even the thinnest of blades a breeze.
Speaking of blades, I also had a chance to try some Herkules® Saw Blades (1850040) in my personal favorite size 4/0, and they are simply fabulous. These super flexible German-made saw blades give you smooth action, no choppiness and a clean, straight cut – I will definitely be choosing them again in the future.
Pair them with some Gesswein Lube-Stik (8162461) for maximum ease and minimal friction while sawing. I keep a handy dispenser tube right in my bench pan for drilling and burring, too.
Helen is an experienced metalsmith, lapidary and studio jewelry instructor who has appeared in 6 instructional jewelry technique videos. Her latest book, Metal Jewelry Workshop, was published in 2017.
Follow Helen for news, her teaching schedule and other jewelry-related information.