One of my goals, going into another year, is to become better at piercing. I have only ever used a saw frame to cut off pieces of metal and an occasional bit of piercing. It has always been a battle because I just won’t stop to earn how to do it. I have been making more pendants that have a bit of a design sawed into them and then it is filled in with colored resin. My current saw frames include several very old, flimsy and not very easy to use German style frames and a Grobet frame that just won’t hold a blade. I am willing to invest in a new frame but am at a loss for what to buy. It doesn’t have to be very deep, but I would like it to hold blades and not flex when I use it. Any suggestions would be appreciated…Rob
I recommend the Greenlion Sawframe hands down.
Check out the Knew Concept saw frames, I have found them very good and very light weight also, which helps when piercing for a long time, this is my favourite saw frame.
If James Miller says it…
I have used several Knew Concepts frames, starting with the original model, then the cam lock model which I traded to a friend for a doughnut (yum) when I got the cam lock / swivel model, all 3" throat.
I prefer the cam lock without swivel because sometimes the lower swivel mechanism moves out of position unnoticed by me, which puts a twist the blade. No biggie, I just have to pay attention to that. It turns out I’ve not used the swivel feature to make longer cuts than the 3" throat can handle, so having to pay attention to that is a minor inconvenience.
The frame design is certainly rigid enough that a 5" model with cam lock would work as well if you need to make longer cuts. The cam lock feature is definitely of great value when doing a lot of piercing with a single blade. Set the tension once, it is set every time you re-position the blade and flip the toggle to tighten.
Incredibly light, very rigid saw frame. A delight to use.
Well I always knew that the Knew concepts frame was good, but when a master like James Miller endorses it, who am I to quibble? The very best part is absolutely repeatable tension.
James…Thanks for your reply. I appreciate hearing from someone as talented as you are. I will definitely get this saw on order. Thanks again…Rob
That’s a lot of saw frames…Rob
Knew Concepts hands down for the fine work. I have them in 3 sizes. I also love my Green Lion saw for larger pieces, very comfortable to use.
Thanks for all the great advice, especially Jame’s picture of all of his saw frames. I realize that a lot of piercing success, or any jewelry making success, is not necessarily tool dependent, but a result of technique and practice. A new tool does helps once in a while. I will keep you posted on how it goes…Rob
I’m a bit late to the party, but here’s my two cents. I had two of three of the typical cheap “German” saws and none of them held a blade well. I was always retightening and fitting them with other wing nuts, etc. I thought about a Green Lion or a Knew Concept, but I didn’t want to spend that much at the time…I researched a while and ended up buying a “Swiss” saw, which is made differently in the blade jaw area and the blade goes into a hole rather than a slot. IDK exactly how the blade is held, but it does work much better than the German saws. I did make sure to get one made in Switzerland, but it was only about $15. I haven’t had any trouble with blades loosening since. A nice light weight adjustable saw. So that’s an alternative if you don’t want to go for the Green Lion or Knew Concept Saws…which I am sure are worth the expense.
As far as the well-esteemed Mr. Miller is concerned, I googled him and looked at some of his wonderful piercing work and thought I needed a Knew Concepts saw to do such, but then I ran into a very old picture of him sawing something that looked like an apple shaped piece of tracery…and he was clearly using a typical “German” saw…he looked to be about 30 or so in the picture…but I guess if you are skilled enough, one of the old saws will work…good luck to all, whatever saw you use…-royjohn
Interesting, Knew saws seem to be polarizing. I tried a mark 3 I think (red one) and a titanium birdcage and found them both nearly unusable in terms of feel. I returned then both and went back to the probably 80 year old euorpean one inherited from a long dead jeweler and it feels good in my hand. My work is MUCH better with this one. Granted, my piercing work is fairly pedestrian, perhaps if I was a specialist I might feel differently about the knew saws. The idea of doing finer or higher complexity work makes them less appealing to me though. Seems like most either love em or hate em. -Lawrence
I have several saws including two swiss ones which I’ve replaced the handles, I then purchased an early KC one which I liked. However as a tool neard I bought a very old antique french one essentially as a collectors item but had to try it. The frame is forged and a little heavy but very rigid and it is now my first saw. My KC one is now on the students bench and a swiss one has wax blades. Using the old one I brake less blades and saw much better which is great as I lost one eye and found sawing straight a problem but not anymore.
Robin from Scotland.
I have done a lot of very intricate sawing over 45 years–with a simple saw (probably German) like the one in the foreground of James’ picture:
Black wooden handle. Never had any problems with tension or it not holding the saw blade firmly. Never had to replace any parts.
I’m posting this for those of you who are starting out and may sometimes get the impression that you need to buy all kinds of expensive equipment. You don’t. A simple frame works fine and dandy with good quality saw blades— and impeccable sawing technique.
I have a love hate relationship with saws. I still use the saws my Dad used as well as the few I have purchased. I find in my hands simple is best but that can also be a function of too many injuries have affected how my hands and wrists work.
I tried a Swiss Saw and my initial enthusiasm is waned just a little as it tends to not grip the saw blade dependably. When it does it is great, when it doesn’t it is a trial. I am looking for a great saw. Is the Knew Concept that saw?
MY son Greg has purchased a saw that I probably would not have recommended, only because I haven’t tried it myself and his money is limited to some extent. I do like the Old World look of the saw but looks don’t cut metal.
I don’t hear much about the other half of the saw dilemma. What is/are the odds on best choice of saw blades for piercing and fret work?
Thank you James.
I have the exact opposite experience with the Swiss saw for what little I have used it…it seems to hold the blade much more reliably than the German saws (3) I used before. Could be my Swiss saw is from a different manufacturer? Or perhaps I can still (73 with some thumb grip problems) tighten the nuts a little tighter than you can? You might try tightening with a pliers and if that works, then replacing the tightening knobs with wing nuts might work…IDK…wonder what experience others have had? -royjohn
I think the thing that this thread sparks for me is learning how to use a saw, and using one that feels good might be more important than the objective parameters of stiffness etc.
I’m largely self taught and tend to learn the things necessary to create what I envision. Anyone have a favorite source for sawing/piercing instruction online? I had a conversation in passing at a conference with Tom Herman a few years ago that probably taught me more than all the books and videos I had seen up until that point. Always interested in deeper insight to go along with the hours of practice. -Lawrence
That distinctive curved shape is the Green Lion. All the rage at the moment.