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Choosing a Jewellers or Piercing Saw for Work with Wood and Metal Miniatures
Parts of a Jewellers Saw or Piercing Saw Frame used for models, miniatures and dollhouse furniture.

Parts of a Jewellers Saw, also known as a Piercing Saw, used for cutting metals, as well as for cutting wood and metal parts for miniatures, models and dolls house furniture.

Photo copyright 2010 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.

A jeweller's or piercing saw, similar to a coping saw, is a useful saw for work with wood or metal miniatures. The fine blades can cut intricate fretwork, precise veneer designs, or curved lines in metal and wood for everything from dolls house furniture to modifications in toy soldiers or die cast vehicles. A wide range of saw styles are available. A beginner needs to choose a saw which can adapt to most of their project work. Fine jewellers saw blades are best used for curves and intricate shaping. For straight cuts in wood for model buildings or dollhouse furniture where precise straight or angled lines are needed, a razor saw and mitre box are more appropriate tools.

To Choose a Jewelry Saw or Piercing Saw:

  • What Size Is Your Material? Jewellers saws are held straight up and down to saw. The size of material you can cut, will be determined by the throat depth of your saw. Smaller saws will only be able to cut into the center of a piece of wood which has a radius (measurement to the center) less than the depth of the saw frame's throat. A saw with a three inch throat can only cut into the center of a piece of wood which is six inches across, or can cut completely across a piece of wood which is three inches across.
  • Adjustable or Fixed frame? Will you only work with full sized frame blades (pegged or unpegged) or do you prefer a saw (always unpegged) which can accept any length of saw blades, including longer bits from blades you have broken during work? Adjustable saws can be adjusted to a shorter frame to hold broken bits of blade.
  • Method of Tensioning the Blade Non adjustable frames must be tensioned by pushing the head of the saw frame into a piece of scrap wood or the edge of a work surface, while you press down on the handle to temporarily narrow the gap for the blade. Adjustable frames can be tensioned after the blade is attached to the frame, by pressing down on the stop at the bottom of the adjustable frame. There is no particular advantage to either system, although the tensioning adjustment via the adjustable frame is sometimes easier to set more precisely.
  • Hand Grip Some newer models have soft, easily gripped handles. As blade control is related to grip, you may want a larger, softer handle if you suffer from arthritis or have a weak grip.

Choosing Blades

Blades for jewellers saws are usually listed in a range from 8/0 (the finest) through zero, up to 8 (the coarsest). Finer blades have more teeth per inch and are generally thinner, so they cut with a smaller kerf (line where the material is cut out). 8/0 is usually only used for very fine piercing. 3/0 is for general gold and platinum work, 0 to 2 are generally used for silver work. Blades from zero (54 tpi) up to 5 and 6 (around 33 teeth per inch),are useful for general wood work. Tpi (teeth per inch) often varies with the blade manufacturer. Jewellers saw blades are often listed alongside the drill size necessary to drill a hole large enough to insert the particular sized blade through a piece of pierced work.

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