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Experience with knew concept power saw

A friend is considering purchasing the Knew Concepts Power Saw (wish
it were me but its to expensive !) Was just wondering If any of you
coul d give your reviews on it for me?

Regards, gail

Hi Gail,

(for those of you confused, I normally post from my personal email:
[masked]. As I’m talking about a KC product, I figured I should use
the KC email…)

Lee and I both read Orchid, so we can certainly answer any questions
you have about it, although we can’t claim to be entirely objective.
(Given as we make it…)

The short form is that it’s the first powered jeweler’s saw that was
designed from the ground up to accurately cut metal on the jeweler’s
scale, rather than a scroll saw for wood pressed into service to do
something it was never really intended to do.

The reason this matters is two or three fold.

(A) stroke length: jewelry metal is seldom more than 1/8" thick at
most, while wood parts tend to run in the 3/4-1.5" range. Which
means that wood saws have a much shorter stroke, to keep from banging
into the 1.5" thick piece of wood that might be in the way. The
reason this matters is that if you try to cut metal with a wood
saw, it only uses the middle bit of the blade, and wears it out

(B) safety: the KC Power saw is the only saw of it’s type that I
know of that uses a tensioned cable system to drive the blade. Which
means that when the blade snaps, the whole thing goes slack, and
blade motion dies, instantly. No worries about the broken ends of the
blade getting driven into your fingers. (Speaking as someone who’s
had to yank jeweler’s sawblades out of my tender little fingers, this
feature is near and dear to my heart (or fingers.))

© Controllability. The KC Power saw is designed with an infinitely
variable speed motor that allows you to use a standard Foredom foot
control to control the speed evenly all the way from moving so
slowly you can count the blade teeth, to 120 strokes per minute. It
also has tungsten carbide blade guides that support the blade almost
at the contact point with the work, for maximum rigidity and control.

If there’s anything I can do to help, or explain, please drop me a
line directly.

Brian Meek
Knew Concepts.

Hello Gail, I have two of them on the bench and no longer used
anything else. After a slight learning curve it it a terrific tool.
Quite an improvement over the old fashioned saw frame. I’m not
affiliated with the maker in any way, just a very satisfied customer.

Have fun.
Tom Arnold


This was reviewed extensively in 2010; you can find the comments in
the archives. I love my Knew concept saw. Blades last much longer
than conventional saws. Knew concept is significantly lighter in
weight which is a big plus. To my knowledge, it is the only
innovation in sawing in years. Some have had trouble changing blades.
It is worth the cost. The archives will be very helpful. Good luck.

Best regards,

I have the KC power saw and I love it, It feels like sewing. I can
turn corners, take broken blades out easily and put new ones in
easily. Best saw ever.

Jennifer friedman Studios dot com
ventura, CA

There are two types of sawblade breakage. Breaks caused by the frame,
and breaks caused by you. The KC will prevent all of the breaks
caused by the frame.You still need to buy quality sawblades, of
course. I just tried some german ones, under the name Herkules, and
they were amazing for fine work.The KC won’t end war and poverty;
nor will it make you a better jeweller, but it is, so far as I’ve
seen, the best saw frame around.___

Jamie Hall

This was reviewed extensively in 2010; you can find the comments
in the archives. 

Are you sure? The current question is about the POWER saw, ie. the
motorized version.

Hi Brian,

I hope that all is well.

I just wanted to pass on some comments that I heard from about 4
students in my class at Arrowmont last week.

They all disliked the KC saw (the hand powered one). And all for the
same reason and the same reason as I do:

The frustration with loading it. It seems that blades are simply too
short in many cases. Once the saw is loaded it is a dream but the
frustration involved in replacing blades raises blood pressure too
much and causes us to grab the old standard frame.

To be fair, there was one student who loved theirs.

Their comments were unsolicited by me and each was reluctant to
admit their disappointment.

I know that you passed on my concerns to Lee and he did try to take
me aside at the conference. I was very busy with responsibilities and
couldn’t talk at that time but, really, the thing that put me off was
Lee telling me “Let me show you what you’re doing wrong”. I have no
problem being corrected in my use of a new (or even old) tool. But
his assumption out of the gate that it was my problem really put me
off. He is a great guy and a huge asset to the field but perhaps not
the best public relations man.

Just wanted to express my thoughts off the forum out of respect to
Lee. I don’t wish to place you in the middle but my experience has
indicated that a direct approach is not the best choice in this

Take care,

Just to make a clarification, I am talking about the “Power saw” not
the red hand saw (which I have and love BTW!)


Apologies and mea culpa

To all Orchid members,

I want to apologize for airing my concerns and opinions about the
Knew Concepts saw on the forum. My feelings should not have appeared

I was emailing only to one specific person–or so I thought–but,
obviously, that was not the case. I am usually more careful in my
virtual communications. As I wrote in the ill fated original email, I
think that Lee Marshall is a great guy and I consider him to be an
asset to the field. His innovations have changed the face of jewelry
making and metalsmithing.

In any case such inattention is really inexcusable and I hope that
my action did not cause any one any problems or hurt feelings. If
there was an “undo” button I’d be pushing it right now. I will
certainly be more careful in the future.

Andy Cooperman

The frustration with loading it. It seems that blades are simply
too short in many cases. Once the saw is loaded it is a dream but
the frustration involved in replacing blades raises blood pressure
too much and causes us to grab the old standard frame. 

My questing is to Brian. All this talk picked my curiosity. I want to
give it a try. What is the best model in your line for ultra-light

Leonid Surpin

Hi Leonid,

My questing is to Brian. All this talk picked my curiosity. I want
to give it a try. What is the best model in your line for
ultra-light blades? 

Well, that’s an interesting question. They’ll all take blades down
to 10/0, so mounting fine blades isn’t an issue. (To forestall people
asking, I just got a batch of 10/0 blades from Tevel (Allcraft) so
he’s got them, or at least he did as of SNAG in Seattle.)

The differences between the models are differences of throat size
and tensioning mechanism. To whit: the saws are available with throat
depths of 3, 5 or 8". Traditionally, goldsmiths like 2-3" frames,
because the smaller frames were both lighter, and stiffer. The
aluminum truss-frame on the KC saws make that a non-issue. The 5" KC
saws are both lighter and stiffer than traditional 3" frames. So for
a good ‘all-round’ frame, I’d recommend a 5". If you’re sure you’ll
never do anything bigger than 3", and the extra size really bugs you,
get a 3". The 8" frame is the stiffest deep frame on the market, so
if you’re doing a lot of deep piercing, that’s definitely the one you

Then you have a choice of tensioning mechanisms. The basic saws have
the screw knob tensioning system we started out with. It lets you
dial the tension in by feel, on each blade. The drawback is that it
requires you to dial the tension in on each blade. Which makes
blade changes take a little longer than the next option.

The midrange saws have lever tensioning. They have a cam lever that
lets you quickly flip the saw from singing tight, to loose, in a
second, and tension it again just as quickly. They also have the
same knob adjustment system as the basic saws, it’s just that the cam
tensions it quickly once you’ve got that set. So the cam-lever saws
are just adjustable as the basic ones, and much quicker to change
the blades. For super fine blades, I’d probably reach for the lever
saw, but pay much more careful attention to how it felt and sounded
as I tensioned it than I normally do. (Normally, you just set the
tension knob once when you load a new size of blade, and then it
stays put until you switch to a new size. Gives the exact same
tension on every blade.)

These saws are easily capable of tearing a #2 blade apart, (I’ve
done it), so a super fine blade will take some dialing in to get the
tension right. But a traditional sawframe is just as capable of
snapping a fine blade, so there’s no great difference there, it’s
just a question of how the tension’s applied: by rotating a knob, or
bruising a sternum. Frankly, I find it easier to calibrate a knob,
than how hard I lean.

The ‘deluxe’ model has the same lever tensioning system as the
midrange saw, as well as blade swivels, that let you rotate the
blade 45 degrees either side of the axis of the sawframe. (with a
locking detent at zero, just to make sure you’re back to straight.)
The rotating blade clamps were originally developed for the
woodworking market (they use them for doing dovetails) but we’ve
found that there are a couple of neat tricks that they make possible
for jewelers as well.

(A) they let you get a 3" sawframe many inches deep into a large
piece of metal. Rather than bottoming out on the back of the frame,
you just swing it out of the way, and keep going. The swivels are
most useful (for jewelers) on the 3" frame.

and my personal favorite (B): The Optivisor avoidance system. How
many of you have sawn with your optivisor on? How many of you
haven’t whacked the back of the sawframe into the optivisor? With
the swivels, it becomes possible to just roll the back of the
sawframe out of the way, and keep sawing without any risk of smacking
the optivisor with it. It’s a little weird cutting at an angle to the
frame, but I got used to it pretty quickly. (I couldn’t see the
frame through the optivisor anyway, so it didn’t really matter, it
just felt weird.)

If you look at the website, there are two other saws listed: the 5"
woodworker, and the 5" titanium.

The woodworker is a deluxe 5" frame (Lever & Swivels) but it has a
plain waxed wood handle instead of the red ones that come on the
jeweler’s saws. (the wood crowd really likes wood handles, so we
oblige. The red handles are the exact same piece of wood, just
painted red.)

The titanium saw appears similar: 5" frame, lever & swivels, waxed
wood handle. But it’s an order of magnitude stiffer than any of the
aluminum saws.

It’s slightly heavier than the 5" aluminum, but the difference in
stiffness is unbelievable. Take the difference between a traditional
5" sawframe and one of the KC Aluminum 5" frames, and extrapolate
that much again. The Ti5" was originally developed for the
woodworking world, because they use absolutely massive sawblades.
(From a jeweler’s point of view) and need the extra stiffness to
enable them to properly tension those huge blades.

From a jeweler’s point of view, the Ti saw is probably overkill, but
speaking as someone who uses one for jewelry, they are sweet. Your
blades go exactly where you want them to, with no chatter. The
extra stiffness makes saw-filing really easy too: the blade just
doesn’t bend. At all.

Leonid, to answer your original question, when I use those 10/0
blades, I use them in my 5" Ti saw, because the extra rigidity of
the frame means I don’t need to crank the tension up quite as much as
I would otherwise, to damp secondary vibrations and harmonics.
(vibrations induced in the frame itself by the teeth of the saw
clawing their way through the metal. Hit the right speed, and any
sawframe will resonate. The Ti saw is so stiff that its resonant
frequency isn’t anywhere I’ve ever found.) (Frame resonance is most
obvious with really deep frames, like 8-12". I’ve got a traditional
11" frame that just howls if I use the wrong pitch blades.)

If I didn’t have a Ti saw, I’d probably use a 3" lever saw, for the
same reason: the 3" is the stiffest aluminum frame, so it’ll have
the highest resonant frequency. Which means I don’t have to crank the
blade quite as tight to keep it from inducing resonance in the
frame. (I’d still crank it tight, but perhaps not quite as
tight.) Definitely a matter of feel and sound at that point.

Hope this helps,
Brian Meek.

“Tried and True” provides solace to those that put their faith in

I am reminded of the Neanderthals quatting beside the riverbank,
shaping a stone using another stone.

A new fellow was walking by, noticed what the first person was
doing, and pulled his stone out of his bag, and said:

“Check this out”, and showed him thathe had secured his stone to a
stick with thongs. making the first hammer.The tribe gathered around
and stonedhim to death as he was ignoring tradition.

The problem with tradition is that itallows you to ignore
observation and rational thinking. What has always workedwill work
into the future forever.

The knew concepts saw falls into this arena. It does not work with
blades that are too short. It does not accept broken blades. It was
designed to take advantage of the standardization ofmanufacture that
settled on the 5-1/8" length.Now, here is where faith in
traditiongets in the way. In spite of standardization, blades
continue to vary inlength!

Regardless of the cost per dozen, expensive blades will vary some
as well as the cheap ones.

However, tradition says that thesenever vary…truth be damned! With
the flimsy frames that we all learned on, blade length was not a
problem, as you could use any length blade and it would work.

When people say that the knewconcepts frame will not clamp the
blade, they never check the length of theblade, they just blame the
thing that is new.

Tradition is a protective shield thathelps you ignore the hard
reality of observational thinking and reasoning.

According to Andy Cooperman:

It seems that bladesare simply too short in many cases.

When I designed the knew concepts saw, Iadmit that I fell into the
same trap of expecting all blades to be the same length. I did not
expect the variability required to handle as much as 1/4"difference
from one batch of blades to another.

The Cam-Lever saw handles varying blade lengthswith ease, and makes
piercing fun. Brian and I have developed a retrofit kitthat enables
the original frame to be modified so that it accepts the Cam-Lever.
I have held up the release until I received the last component (an
injection molded end cap for the lever axle). This last piece makes
the installationreally easy, and requires only a bit of sawing of
the frame in the upper windowto make room for the lever.

We are assembling the kits now, and will beassigning a part number
and pricing so that they can be ordered. They will beavailable very
soon. “First adopters” are very important to me and have beenthe
driving force behind the successes of both Bonny Doon Engineering,
and Knew Concepts.

Lee (the saw guy)


What a literate explanation to a very good question. Totally
understandable, and somewhat explains some negative comments. I’ve
seen it received and shelved immediately with a comment, “why would I
try it, I don’t need it.”

Would not surprise me to see sales pick up because you took the time
and effort to so clearly explain its value.




I ordered your cam lever saw and have not been particularly happy
with it.

I can assure you the problem is NOT because the blades I’m using are
too short.

More accurately, they aren’t too short BEFORE I put them in the saw.

When I tighten the knobs to hold the blade in place, BEFORE
attempting to tighten the blade with the cam, the knobs simply break
about a 1/4" off the end of the blade.

If I’m doing something wrong, I would love to know what. But putting
a blade in the slot and tightening a knob seems pretty simple to do

If it’s 1 out of 3 blades that survive that step, then I’m very
happy with how the saw works.

I use the standard Rio blades in a variety of sizes.

What gives? Any ideas?
Thanks in advance

I use them in my 5" Ti saw, because the extra rigidity of the frame
means I don't need to crank the tension up quite as much 

Thanks for the info. 5" Ti it is.

Leonid Surpin

Lee,the slight adjustment thru the tightening mechanism seems more
tham sufficient to fit any and all blades I have used. I have t wo
of your frames, one for wax and one for metal. they are in constant
use. It seems like I’ve saved a good bit of m oney on saw blades- I
just don’t break them anymore. Thank for designing and making these
frames.I suppose I could complain that I no longer have epoxy
applicators laying all over my pan. Oh well.

Tom Arnold

I accept that I am a windoze person operating in a mac world, but the
automatic (I presume that it was auto) editing and run together words
of my recent post is really incomprehensible. I appreciate and enjoy
the use of language, and to have it garbled like a five year old’s is

Lee (the saw guy)

My questing is to Brian. All this talk picked my curiosity. I want
to give it a try. 

That would be great. I would love to hear your opinion.

What is the best model in your line for ultra-light blades? 

I like the 12/0. They never break…Teddy

Dear Lee,

When people say that the knewconcepts frame will not clamp the
blade, they never check the length of theblade, they just blame
the thing that is new. 

Here’s the thing: Those who purchased the Knew Concepts saw were
never told that blades varied in length. As a matter of fact, I
recall that we were told just the opposite; that you had looked at
and measured a wide variety of saw blades and found very little
variation. Now, you:

admit that I fell into the same trap of expecting all blades to be
the same length. 

Yet you paint the problem of blade length as some sort of refusal on
the part of some users to adopt a newer technology and to cling
stubbornly to outmoded tradition. I am at this point really surprised
at how far you will push any unanticipated flaws in the conception or
development of the Knew Concepts saw onto the consumer.

Tradition is a protective shield thathelps you ignore the hard
reality of observational thinking and reasoning. 

Were those of us who ran into the blade dilemma somehow lacking in
cognitive ability? Was there an expectation that we should have
immediately began measuring blade lengths as soon as we encountered a
problem with the saw? Perhaps if the consumer had been advised about
the disparity in blade lengths this problem could have been avoided.
But, again, you indicated that there was a consistency in this area.

Perhaps if you could recommend one brand that offered consistent and
specific lengths appropriate to the saw the problem could be
mitigated. But honestly, had I known that the saw would only work
with specific saw blade lengths I may have more carefully considered
my purchase. When the blade is loaded and the saw working it is like
sawing in heaven–piercing on a cloud. But after many, many
frustrations in loading, I abandon the saw. I might not have had a
negative reaction had I been informed in the variation in blades.

This is NOT the fault of the user. Period.

I understand that this saw, like any innovation, is an evolving
thing. Maybe what’s needed is a blog with updates and tips on new
developments and patches for any unanticipated snags. It would
create a community of Knew Concepts users which would be a good thing
and even lead to new directions–dare I say… new concepts.

This really is not a matter of Luddite Neanderthals huddling in
their dark and smoky caves refusing to tie a rock to a stick. It
seems that the rock simply won’t fit all the sticks. Don’t blame the

According to Andy Cooperman