Mini table saw for metal?

Hi Folks,

Been through the archives on this, but didn’t find a direct answer.
I’m looking for an effective and quick way to cut strips of metal with
a clean, straight edge. Rio Grande used to have a mini table saw using
a circular blade like in a Jump Ringer for about $350, but doesn’t
look like they carry it any more. Does anyone have any experience
(especially positive or negative) with one of these, and a cost
effective source? It looks like MicroMark has similar, although it
does not specify use on metals:

I read John Burgess’ description of the razor saw, but want to move
away from manual sawing for these long, straight cuts. Also saw
discussion a while back about using a jeweler’s saw in a scroll saw. I
could go with a guillotine style shear, but dislike the slight bend at
the edge of the cut.

Any insight on this table saw idea is appreciated. Thanks, also to
everyone who responded to my wax model question! I have never seen
such a unanimous and consistent reply to a question… and something I
had never thought of! :slight_smile: You people are awesome!

All the best,


Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)

Dave, The best thing for long straight cuts is a sheet metal shear.
Much like a paper cutter but, with the right blade and gaps for
shearing metal. If you are in a larger city, there will be
metalworking equipment dealers otherwise, MSC, or Grizzley, or ENCO
(part of MSC now), or New Hermes(engraving tool/supply). Prices
can run from under a $100 to several hundred. If the metal is thicker
than 20ga you probably can’t use a small table top unit and you may
need to just take a quantity of metal to a local sheet metal shop and
have it sheared. Good luck.

dave - being pragmatically self-instructed i started using a lot of
shortcuts that would cause tachycardia in classic method instructors;
one of my all time favorite effort savers is my 9" ryobi band saw. i
use a shim under the metal - those thin pieces of wood, usually
cedar, that finish carpenters use to plumb door jambs. the shim seems
to help even the 14 & 16 g metal, but is especially good with the
thinner gauges - prevents ‘kick up’ & bending of the edges when the
blade wants to take the metal with it when it goes through the hole
in the table.

it’s possible to get a good used bandsaw at a pawn shop or the
classified advertisements; even new the ryobi is less than $200 & it
can be used for remodeling of your workshop! good luck - ive

Dave, I have used a small table top band saw with a fence to cut
strips of silver and gold from 16-18 ga sheet with no problem using a
fine metal cutting blade. To keep things under control, I use a water
soluble glue to glue the metal sheet even with one straight edge, and
on the top of, a piece of half-inch fiberboard. This material was cut
beforehand using the fence, so the edges are parallel. This gives me
perfect control and the base provides a foundation that does not
allow the edges to bend or the metal to warp. I throw the whole
thing in a bucket of warm water and all the metal comes free in about
half an hour. Perfect edges, perfectly parallel, and pieces which
are still perfectly flat.

Regards to all,

Wayne Emery
Jewelry Design Studio
author, “Jewelry Photography Made Easy”

Hi Dave,

I have been using table saws for about six years and find them an
invaluable addition to the shop.

My large saw is 1/2 horse, 6 inch blade that will cut up to 3/8

I also use an old Jarmac saw, I got in to fix and was never picked
up. It uses a 4 inch .035 thick blade and cuts quite well.

I believe it is the same or similar to the one sold by Micro Mark.

It can rip strips in silver and other non ferrous metals to an
accuracy of at least .003 over a 14 inch length.

A couple tips I have learned:

Raise the blade as high as it will go so the teeth are cutting closer
to 90 degrees, sawing less metal.

Put a little Bur Life on the blade or on the metal where the saw will

When you set the rip fence do not necessarily trust that it is
parallel to the blade. I try to set it parallel then open the back
.001 or .002 to give the metal a little clearance as you push it

It may take a little experimenting with setting the fence, finding
the right blade and cutting speeds, but I think you will find you can
cut an amazing amount of material including thick wire and tubing,
square and at angles very easily.

Many blades are available from MSC Manhattan Supply Co. at reasonable

Good luck,

Jeff Kahn


There are table saws and guillotine shears. If making a clean
straight cut is your primary consideration, go with the guillotine
shear. What you describe sounds like a bench shear, which cuts similar
to scissors–compression shear and curl away. Guillotines cut by
compression, rather than shearing, against a hard horizontal surface,
thus cutting with very little distortion. There will be slight bur one
one edge, but your metal remains flat. Simple guillotines, like from
Harbor Freight, go for around $235. The industrial type ones the metal
suppliers use to cut their sheet, go from $700-$1700. The lower end is
for straight 90 degree cuts, the higher end allows you to use stops to
cut straight angles. The more expensive models in both of these
subclasses cut thicker gauges of metal.

In my humble opinion, the best table saw for metal is the Cuti-Pi. It
has been so for a long time, and will probably remain so for a long
time. The reason you never see any used ones is primarily nobody ever
wants to give theirs up, and I know many that have been going for 25+
years. They also can be used for lapidary roughing with an adapter
kit. There’s rarely any annoying vibration, the cuts are smooth,
intricate cuts are no problem, and they use standard jeweler’s saw
blades. It’s on my wish list.

Hope this helps a little with your decision.


I found a cheap tile saw at Home Depot form about $99. The blade that
comes with it has a thick kerf, which is ok if you have a lot of
material. But you’ll want to replace the blade with a thinner kerf
one if you’re cutting expersive material.

Virginia Lyons


I use a Di-Acro 12 inch bench shear to cut strips of metal. It cuts
the metal clean and straight with minimal twisting or bending. These
shears are not inexpensive but are made to last several lifetimes and
also incorporate a micrometer backstop for precise adjustment.

I have never used a strip cutter but there is such a thing. However,
I believe they are only used with relatively thin gauge metal. I think
it is a shear that uses a circular blade to cut a continuous strip
from a coil of metal.

The Di-Acro will cut 16ga non-ferrous metal with no problem. I have
had mine for at least 15 years and don’t know what I would do without

Ken Gastineau

Hi Dave,

 I'm looking for an effective and quick way to cut strips of metal
with a clean, straight edge.

You didn’t say what guage sheet you want to cut. If it’s not too
heavy you can use a paper cutter.

Get the type with the large (usually square) wood or plastic bed.
There’s a metal; edge on the right side & a cutter blade with a
handle. I’ve been using one for years. I’ve sucessfully cut strips
1/8" wide & 7" long with it.

If that won’t work, you might try Taylor Mfg.
(\members\taylor) PO Box 1826 Rialto CA 923777-1826.
They make a saw for cutting metal sheet. I saw it demo’d at Tucson.
They’ve got an add on page 26 of the Aug 2001 Rock & Gem.

Dave -

For all who are looking for a table saw here is another company to
try… Micro-Mark phone 800-225-1066 The small tool specialists… shop
on line at Andy “The Tool Guy” Kroungold
e-mail @Andy_Kroungold