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Fitting blade in jeweller's saw


#1

I’ve read a couple of things lately about people tensioning their
saw blades by using their chest against the handle of the saw frame -
and the resulting bruises! I did that once, as I’d read that that was
how it’s done - but I didn’t like the pain or the bruise so never did
it again. Instead I devised a different method which eliminates all
the pain, and gives me a better tension anyway.

Using my chest, I very gently brace the saw frame against a dent
I’ve made in the front edge of my bench top - so that my hands are
free to partially fit the blade. Then I fit one end of the blade
(farthest from me and the handle) in the frame and tighten it and
locate the other end in its place in the other end of the frame, but
don’t tension at this stage. The difference is that then I take hold
of the handle in my left hand (I’m right handed) and push to tension
the blade, while tightening the last screw peg with my right hand.
This uses force from my arm to tension the blade, but you can still
lean into it without hurting yourself.

I’m not taking away from Lee Marshall’s wonderful new saw - it looks
great and I may have to try one if I ever get the chance. But for
those still using the traditional saw frame, the above has helped me
to do a regular job, without the associated pain and bruising, so it
may help others.

I hope everyone had a good holiday.

Helen Hill
UK


#2

Very good explanation Helen. In fact, I have developed about the same
tactic because most of my students are women and I have been very
careful to advise them not to press in on the handle using their
chest. In fact, after pushing in with my hand for demonstration so
many times, that is the way I doit all the time myself now.

Thanks for the confirmation!
Cheers from Don in SOFL.


#3

Hi Helen,

I tend to use my sternum, which is the traditional way, but my female
students have informed me that there may be some slight differences
in the way we’re constructed, men and women. So one other trick I
recommend to them is to stand up (it was time for a stretch anyway)
and put the end of the saw into the “V” of the bench pin, and then
put the handle up against your hip, with your belt in-between, as
armour. That way you just lean into it, and it’s done.

A dent in the bench is good, but the “V” of the pin is better, for
making absolutely sure it won’t skate out sideways as you tension it.

Cheers-
Brian.


#4
I've read a couple of things lately about people tensioning their
saw blades by using their chest against the handle of the saw
frame and the resulting bruises! 

I find this quite surprising. Like you, Helen, I brace the frame
between my chest and the bench (for me, a notch on the bench pin is
easiest for the front end of the frame) while I fit the top of the
blade in place. Then slight pressure on the frame to tension the
blade while clamping the lower nut. What I find surprising is that
anyone could bruise themselves this way. The pressure needed is
barely more than what’s used to keep the frame from falling. maybe a
couple ounces at most, I’d guess. I don’t hardly even feel it as
more than slight pressure, and it certainly has never caused a bruise
or discomfort. I find myself wondering just how much tension people
are trying to put on the blade, or just how rigid a sawframe they’re
using. I mostly use the standard german made frames, or occasionally,
the lightweight swiss ones or an old kind of ornate french frame.
None of them need more than light pressure to tension the blade. If
the bottom of the handle were cut to a point, well, that would hurt.
Maybe. But they’re not…

Puzzled.

Peter Rowe


#5

May I pass on a tip about tensioning saw blades in frames, those who
know my work will see that I do a lot of hand saw piercing. Well I
have a hole in my bench cut out wall to fit the frame end in when
fitting blades, just as Helen describes, I never tension my frame
using the bench pin as this will loosen the bench pin in time and I
advise a firm fitting bench pin for good piercing.

One on my past jobs were table lampshades, hand pierced from 18ct
gold and then plique a-jour enamelled to allow coloured light
through the shades like the Tiffany lamps. Each lampshade had over
four thousand seperate holes to pierce out, which meant that I would
be releasing and re tensioning the saw blades many times per hour.
When I first started I was getting a bruise on my chest when
tensioning the blades, so I made myself some protection. This is a
five inch triangle of 6mm plywood, which has foam rubber glued on one
side and leather on the other. I have tacked a length of ribbon to
two of the triangle points and I wear the piece around my neck like a
medalion, foam rubber against my chest and using the leather covered
side facing outwards, to depress the saw frame against the bench as
usual. As I have got older I use this item more and more when
piercing and it has worked well for the past twelve years. I made
another one just before christmas, this was for a young lady jeweller
friend who is just learning the trade and keen to learn new ideas,
and she tells me that my triangle chest protector suits her fine and
makes the job of changing and tensioning her saw blades much easier.

Peace and good health to all, from a snowy UK.
James Miller FIPG.


#6

Peter…just goes to show how tough you are!! (:slight_smile: Seriously though,
I have found that my women students are very wary about using their
chests to tension a blade. Even tho the tension is not great, the
slight knobbness of the end of the saw handle tends to increase the
pressure in a very concentrated area. This can cause at least a
gentle pain or at worst a bruise on tender skin. Now, that is
primarily if they are not wearing an apron. Despite insisting theyall
wear an apron, some of the younger ones insist on wearing lower cut
tees or the like.

So I simply advise them to use their left hand (if right handed and
vise versa) to produce the tension. Works about the same!!

Cheers from Don in SOFL.


#7
What I find surprising is that anyone could bruise themselves this
way. The pressure needed is barely more than what's used to keep
the frame from falling. maybe a couple ounces at most, I'd guess. I
don't hardly even feel it as more than slight pressure, and it
certainly has never caused a bruise or discomfort. 

Surprising indeed. In order to put correct amount of tension, frame
only needs to be compressed a millimeter or so. The handle of a saw
frame has this particular shape not because it was designed by a
sadist, but to prevent over-tightening. It is kind of a built in
trainer to teach correct amount of pressure. So pay attention to it.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#8
have found that my women students are very wary about using their
chests to tension a blade. 

I have taught metalsmithing since 1992 and never had a woman balk at
chest-usage-to-tighten-blade. There have been a number of references
to breasts getting in the way in this thread, and that’s really not
an issue.

Elaine
http://www.CreativeTextureTools.com


#9
I have found that my women students are very wary about using
their chests to tension a blade. 

Huh! I learned to do it this way, and have taught hundreds of
others, and no one has ever said a thing! (Almost all my students are
women.) I do also show them that they can stand up and use their hip,
but I don’t believe anyone has ever bothered to do so. And most, by
the way, do not wear aprons.

Like so many other situations, the body meets the challenge put to
it. There is a bruise at first, then it is never a problem again
after that, it seems to me. Much less painful than getting used to a
bike seat!

Noel


#10

I have an alternative way to replacing a blade in a frame. I came
across it by not being taught the proper way and doing it in a way
that makes sense to me.

I use a traditional saw frame. Grobet is the distributer/manufacture.
I first loosen the adjusting thumb screw on the top of the saw frame
until it just about comes out. Then install the blade tightening the
thumbscrews that hold the blade. I then take the saw frame in my left
hand holding it on the back part of the frame that comes 90 degrees
from the handle. I push the saw blade taught by pressing my thumb on
the end of the top part of the frame that slides. While pushing on
the end of the saw frame with my thumb I tighten the adjusting screw
with my right hand until it’s tight. This tightening of the adjusting
screw while pressing on the top of the frame causes the saw blade
mounts to move opposite of each other thus tightening the blade.

It’s difficult to describe in text and I hope this makes sense. I’ll
have my SO take some photos of the procedure and post them on my blog
in the next couple days.

Rick Copeland
Silversmith and Lapidary Artisan
rockymountainwonders.com


#11
This is a five inch triangle of 6mm plywood, which has foam rubber
glued on one side and leather on the other. I have tacked a length
of ribbon to two of the triangle points and I wear the piece around
my neck like a medalion, foam rubber against my chest and using the
leather covered side facing outwards, to depress the saw frame
against the bench as usual. 

There are some interesting solutions being put forward for this
problem, and judging by the frequency with which you had to change
blades in your work James, yours is a great solution to the bruising
problem.

Helen
UK


#12
What I find surprising is that anyone could bruise themselves this
way. The pressure needed is barely more than what's used to keep
the frame from falling. maybe a couple ounces at most, I'd guess. I
don't hardly even feel it as more than slight pressure, and it
certainly has never caused a bruise or discomfort. I find myself
wondering just how much tension people are trying to put on the
blade, or just how rigid a sawframe they're using. 

Mine obviously needs considerably more force than yours then Peter,
as it really hurts and can bruise. Granted I’ve always bruised
easily, but it does need quite some force to flex my saw frame even
a little, to get a tight enough blade. I don’t over-tighten it
though. Just enough to get the correct tension, but it must be a more
rigid frame than yours. Holding the handle in my hand and leaning
into it gives enough force without the pain.

Helen
UK


#13
and then put the handle up against your hip, with your belt
in-between, as armour. That way you just lean into it, and it's
done. 

That also seems like a good method. I just find the chest method far
too painful personally, so any alternative is worth considering.

Helen
UK


#14
I have taught metalsmithing since 1992 and never had a woman balk
at chest-usage-to-tighten-blade. There have been a number of
references to breasts getting in the way in this thread, and that's
really not an issue. 

Elain, Didn’t say anything about 'breasts and didn’t insuate same
either! Its a fact that pressing against the saw handle can cause
bruising on a woman’s chestand it is simply unnecessary!! Its also a
fact that some of my women students have ‘balked’ at doing it that
way and so… I give them a useful alternative. Guess we just have
different students!!

Cheers from Don in SOFL


#15
This tightening of the adjusting screw while pressing on the top of
the frame causes the saw blade mounts to move opposite of each
other thus tightening the blade. 

The only trouble with doing this is that when you break a blade, your
frame is now set to a wider distance between mounts that it was with
the prior blade. Change a few blades, and you’ll then have to take
the time to adjust the frame smaller again before mounting a blade.
Not a bit problem, but still a bit of extra time. Plus, you’re adding
a whole extra operation. Mount the top of the blade, press the handle
in on something, (hand, chest, whatever) while you tighten the bottom
screw, and you’re done. with your method, you now have to do an
entirely different operation to tension the blade. And if you’re
doing the sort of piercing where you’ve just threaded the blade
through an opening, that extra step can be awkward, since with one
hand holding the frame, the other tightening that set screw, you
don’t have one left to hold the workpiece which is suspended on the
blade. With larger work or thinner more fragile blades, that can be
a problem…

cheers
Peter


#16

Rick C.: I use the same technique to tighten my blades, I found it in
Tim McCreight’s, “The Complete Metalsmith” {page 49, Method #2}. I
used it while in University, and broke 1/3 to 1/5 the blades others
broke while learning to pierce and cut!

Ed Wales


#17

I think it’s clear that it depends on the stiffness of the saw frame
and the constitution of the user. There are people who are more
robust than others and for whom such a thing is no problem, but
there are also those of us who bruise at the merest touch, so fitting
saw blades the traditional way is a real problem. And of course there
are the folks like James Miller, who was doing thousands of hours of
saw piercing, with many blade changes. As such some of us have
devised alternative methods. My own saw frame needs a fair amount of
force to move it even the slightest bit to tension the blade. If I do
it the “normal” way, I don’t get enough tension, and the blade bows
when I try to use it. I find it interesting to learn other people’s
solutions.

Helen
UK


#18

I thought that I should explain the situation when I was getting
bruises through loading my saw blades into the saw frame. Many of you
have written saying that you do not understand how you could get
bruising loading a saw into the frame. Well let me try and describe
the jobs I was working on at the time. I was helping a designer
jeweller friend of mine to make four pairs of identical table lamps
that he had designed, each lamp with saw pierced and plique a-jour
enamelled shades. Each shade had 4,250 shaped holes to drill and
pierce, I was piercing for seven hours a day, each hour I was cutting
out 30 holes so I was unloading my saw frame at least 30 time per
hour and re loading the blade 30 times per hour, more times if I
broke blades. A pair of lamp shades took forty days piercing and as I
was piercing eight shades, I was piercing for six to seven hours per
day for a total of 160 days, if you are interested I was using my
chest to depress the saw frame 68,000 times at least, while releasing
and re loading the sawblade into the frame over that time period. So
you can see how I might get bruising on my chest without using some
protection. I admit that this type of work is unusual to most but I
hope I have explained how I started getting a bruised chest
depressing my saw frame, before I made my medalion chest protector.
Peace and good health to all, Oh how I wish for some warm weather.

James Miller FIPG


#19

Thanks Rick, You explained this method very well. I’m new to
silversmithing, but have been successfully using this method and
after reading all the post was beginning to think I was doing it
wrong. Thanks for reassuring me.

Take care & God Bless!
Al Simms


#20

This is the number ONE reason to consider the new saws from Lee
Marshall!

NO pressure required - screw tightened blades mean no more bruised
chests! sturdy, light weight…

check them out at: http://www.knewconcepts.com/forum/index.php?id=3

Robyn Hawk

follow me to the Tucson Gem Shows…
http://tucsongemshow.ganoksin.com