Saw blade questions

I have been going over the document i made of all the discussions on
which blades are best. I must admit I am still somewhat comfused but
I did order some 3/0 tonight. I have 2 questinons.

Even tho I do work with about 18 - 22 gauge nickel, I do pierce.
Does piercing with nickel change the size of fine blades that one
would use with silver, brass or copper?

Also, I have some blades that somehow I failed to label and I forget
what size they are. How can I figure this out? My eyes are not sharp
enough to count teeth… sigh thx brenda

Hello Brenda,

Piercing or just cutting out a shape - you need the same size blade.

It’s related to the thickness of the sheet. Although you can use a
blade with more teeth… it will just take a little longer.

If you can’t count the teeth on the mystery blades with the naked
eye, and you don’t have an optivisor, get a pair of cheapie reading
glasses that will magnify enough to allow you to see and count.

Hope this helps and keep on sawing,

Judy in Kansas, where temps have risen into the 90s during the day
and the gusty winds make it seem even hotter. Happy Solstice
everyone. Summer is officially here.

In the future do what I do with my solders mark them with different
colors of magic markers for each size. even without good eyes we can
see different colors. Helps me. hope it helps you…

Hello Brenda

This chart (below) may help you figure it out. Its a standard
textbook reference chart (public domain) that I had on a cork board
with a sheet protector as a cover. It’s particularly useful if you
want to choose the correct drill for beginning a piercing

The main thing to remember in assessing which blade size is correct
for your work is : the higher the number of teeth (beginning with
10/0) the lighter the gauge- that should help clarify the ’ blade
rule’ for you. Many blades serve a range of gauges too, for example,
anything from a 3/0-1/0 is fine for 22 gauge dead soft material, the
harder the metal the less teeth you want. in my estimation that’s the
confusing factor in blade selection! more teeth means a thinner,
perhaps softer metal. I know some metalsmiths that use all gauges of
silver and gold in different karats, but generally soft temper and
keep a 3/0 blade loaded in the frame, ready to tighten down all the

Nickel is a bit harder than silver and copper so keeping that in
mind you may go a gauge higher (i. e.- if the sheet is 18-22, go with
a #2 blade) and remember to lubricate it well with a bur lube or
beeswax- the stick types, whatever the brand, tend to work better
than the liquids for saw blades. Also your strokes should rely on the
angles you use rather than pressure- It’s pressure (and binding) that
snap blades- also check the blade’s hold downs periodically. I like
the lightweight Swiss saw frames because of the mechanism that locks
the blades in place and seems to cut way down on breakage, but still
keep a few various throat sizes of German type clamp lock frames on
hand for very large and very small work pieces. The only drawback to
the German frames is the clamps need occasional roughing to grab the
smooth ends of the blades particularly if they wear on the inside of
the square clamps- or there are kits from many suppliers for
replacing them entirely. You can take a jeweller’s loupe and count
the teeth in an inch on the blades and take a piece of tape to wrap
the end to mark the sizes (I’m hoping they are still bundled!).Keep
your blades protected from humidity so rust doesn’t set in. A sheet
of waxed paper around them is good if not apiece of parchment, or
cellophane tube as for packaging incense (they are quite inexpensive
and cellophane helps keep moisture out…

Hope this helps,

Sawing nickel silver, brass, copper or silver in the same ga.
doesn’t require any differnce in sawblade size. You may possibly
want to use one size bigger with NS because it’s tougher, and the
bigger blade will allowyou to saw faster if you push harder.

I don’t have it memorized, but sawblade sizes are also accounted for
by their thickness, and there are charts for this wherever other
jewelry charts are forund (^8. You’d need an accurate caliper,
because the differences are as little as .001", with some variation
that large between different brands of a given size.


Put a saw blade on a copy machine next to a ruler and make a copy at
300%. Then it’s easy to count teeth/inch.

Jamie King,

Put a saw blade on a copy machine next to a ruler and make a copy
at 300%. Then it's easy to count teeth/inch. 

Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about! Thinking out of the box for sure.

Thanks Jamie.

Judy in Kansas, who has been pulling a huge crop of weeds in the
strawberry bed. WHERE did they all come frome

Put a saw blade on a copy machine next to a ruler and make a copy
at 300%. Then it's easy to count teeth/inch. Now that's what I'm
talkin' about! Thinking out of the box for sure. 

nside the box for a sec (because it’s easier sometimes) : You could
just put on a magnifying visor. I like using calipers to measure
thickness because it’s faster than counting teeth. I only count
teeth when I’m flossing, and then I’m really counting the spaces.
Usually, there’s the same number…

Except for sawing pancake dies, where it is definitely required to
know what size I have, I am not too particular. I use big ones on
thick stuff, medium ones on medium stuff, and small ones on thin
stuff. I have a couple of trays of strays that are away from the die
sawing area, andit’s a serious ‘mixed sizes’ situation.