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A Wayward sawblade


I’ve just started using an antique jewelers saw frame that has
exaggerated a problem I have experienced with some of the newer
frames: The sawblade cuts to the right, making diagonal cuts across a
shank when used for sizing. We use stuller blades and it does it with
every blade. I use proper sawing (rocking) techniques, but the
problem seems to be magnified by this saw frame. It is aligned
properly with the blade parallel to the frame and perpindicular to
the metal being sawed. No pressure to the right, but it has a mind of
its own. Perhaps it has a demon that needs to be exorcized.

Any ideas on why this happens?

Sterling VanDerwerker CGA (AGS)
Royal Diadem Jewelers
Greensboro, NC


If you have used that blade against a stone, it will not cut with
the newly burnished teeth, only the teeth that are still sharp.
Otherwise, I have never had a similar experience.

    I've just started using an antique jewelers saw frame that has
exaggerated a problem I have experienced with some of the newer
frames: The sawblade cuts to the right, 

I had a similar problem, I have been using the same saw frame for
about 20 or 25 years, I was getting quite perturbed by the saw cuts
drifting oddly all to the right, I used nothing but Hercules white
lable blades for many years, I tried another saw frame and with a new
HIGH classed frame, it did the same, Usually I buy my blades by the
gross so I unwrapped another bundle and sure enough same same. I went
through the remaining 6 or 7 bundles trying diffeerent blades No

I broke down and tried the RIO Grande Laser Gold blades and Guess
what, they cut straight, last longer and break less often, they do
cost more, but at the end of the day they save money, time,
frustration and time spent changing saw blades,

usual disclaimer, No connection with them other than being a
satisfied customer, Very Satisfied !!

Kenneth Ferrell


How about brand new blades?

I’ve tried several brands but find most of them list to starboard
perhaps less than a degree and I simply compensate. My guess is
that the pitch of the teeth tends to favor that direction. If anyone
knows of a true-tracking blade, I’m interested.

I’ve tried twisting the tangs at each end to right the little
boogers but that seems to weaken the blade enough to cause premature
snapping. (I hate when that happens).

Pam Chott


he only thing that governs which way a jewellers’ saw cuts is the
blade - assuming that, as you say, the frame is not twisted and that
the blade is held square to the frame. If the teeth are not set
evenly, i.e. if the ones on one side are pushed more away from the
central axis than the ones on the other side, or if they are sharper
on one side than the other, then they will automatically cut more to
one side than the other and the saw will wander. This situation
occurs with a lot of the less expensive or more haphazardly produced
blades. There are basically two methods used for making jewellers’
saw blades - 1. the teeth are punched into the edge of a sheet of
steel, they are set and the blade is then cropped to width with a
shear or 2. the blade is made from flattened steel wire and the teeth
are milled into the edge. The former method automatically produces a
flash or burr on one side of the teeth and along the back and the
quality of the blade depends upon whether the manufacturer carries
out the added stage of sharpening and de-burring the steel after
initial punching - many do not. The wire method is used mainly by the
Swiss manufacturers and produces a better blade with much less burr
and none at all on the back of the blade. I would suggest that you
try blades from a different source and, if possible, examine them
before buying them. Also, if they are the flat, cropped from sheet,
type, I also run a fine oilstone along the back of the blade before
use (being careful not to blunt the teeth !)

Best Wishes,
Ian W. Wright
Sheffield UK



I have a small collection of saw frames that I have discarded after
ordering them. It may be that these frames were not manufactured with
quality in mind and every blade I placed in them twisted.

I have purchased these frames to use for different size blades
instead of changing blades in my favorite saw.

The saw I have used for many years with absolutely no problem even if
I use the cheapest of blades, is a steel frame G.F.C. made in

A new saw frame is cheap enough even in a good quality to do an
experiment and see if that may be the problem.

Good Luck
Greg DeMark
Link Exchanges Welcomed


I, too, have a vintage saw frame that I enjoy using. It has a
shallower throat than my newer saw frame, and therefore I have to
exert much more pressure on it when inserting a new blade in order to
get proper blade tension. If the blade is not tight enough, it will
not cut straight. Period.

I find it much easier to put force on the deeper throated frames in
order to get proper blade tension.

Possibly that is the problem.

Karen Olsen Ramsey


Hi all,

I have found that if I over tighten a blade in a saw, the result is
a tendency to want to drift off.

I use reasonable quality blades, but not the brand names some of
your are speaking about.

I find that I can cut straight, I just need to not tighten the saw
quite so much. ie A lower pitched ping when plucked.




You have hit on a very important aspect of selecting a saw frame. I
usually tell my students to purchase a 4 or 5 inch frame. The three
inch frames (or unbelieveably even the 2.5 inch) are just too hard
for students to get the feel of how much pressure they need to get a
proper tension. And they certainly will not saw very deeply with
such narrow throats. A 4 inch throat is the best all around I find.
The 5 inch are all right but tend to be a bit hard to balance.

For years I have used the German flat steel saw frames but about a
year ago I purchased a Swiss made Grobet 4 inch square metal frame.
I love it…it is well balanced and keeps the blade firmly in
place. I can saw all day with it with no fatigue.

Cheers from Don at The Charles Belle Studio in SOFL where simple
elegance IS fine jewelry! @coralnut2