Sawing Saga

I’ve been sawing for a while. Summer job in 1972…“it’s like drawing”, my boss said. It wasn’t, but I liked it. I liked making overlay, and became good at it way back when public schools had jewelry classes. Much later (1986) I discovered RT/Pancake dies, and that was the end of my jewelry making career :grin:

Sawing steel dies can save immeasurable amounts of time, making certain kinds of jewelry. Making hand-sawn steel dies all the time for other people is probably more than a little nuts, but it’s what I chose, and I haven’t looked back. Even with saws that don’t completely rely on arm power (one is leg-assisted, the other is gear-motorized) the repetitive stress would be a body killer if I hadn’t adopted a lifestyle that supports the physical aspects of the work. Workouts, massage, stretching, nutrition, all are critical at my age (67 give or take a few weeks at this writing) and it’s not getting easier. It is, somewhat surprisingly, better than it was in the early years, before I had the fine details of therapy figured out, and it’s an ever-evolving dynamic.

Sawing details…I could yap on and on, but since it would mostly be about dies, I won’t. Here are some examples of sawing- mostly dies, and some jewelry made with parts from dies.


Wonderful things! :heart:

1 Like

Wow, Dar,
Thanks for your post and the info about how workouts, massage, stretching and nutrition are all critical when doing things that make one prone to injury and RSI (repetitive strain injury). Your post came in at 9:41PM and I’ve been reading today since the morning about RSI. I initially thought I’d developed a traumatic injury leading to arthritis in my thumb joint from trying to bend a thick silver ring that I should have used a mandrel or pliers on. Several months on, I’ve discovered that the pain in my thumb joint has progressed to tingling in my right wrist and the back of that hand. Beginning carpal tunnel & related syndromes due to too much typing on a dining room table that is too high, not to mention too much sitting, etc., etc.

I had been studying a lot of books and sites about my knee problem in an effort to avoid knee surgery. That self-rehab is going very well about four months in and the self-therapy for the RSI will be along similar lines with some help from a massage therapist and a local PT. I’ve been afield into proper body alignment for sitting and walking, proper breathing, exercises to stretch and lubricate the knees and hands and associated structures, the psychology of pain, etc., etc. Your post was enough to make me believe in sychronicity! A lot of this resignation to “aging” is crap propagated by people who don’t know much about the truly amazing machine that is our body and our mind. Folks willing to sit and wait for the Grim Reaper who can’t overcome their fatigue to push thru to a higher level of functioning. Now all I have to do is convince myself that two hours a day of exercise and rehab is a small price to pay for another 10 to 20 years of healthy living…“If I’d known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.” -Groucho -royjohn, 77 y/o in another 19 days!


Great feedback, and great to hear about your alignment (pun intended !). I’ll just add a few more details; key things that have made big differences for me. First, to the overall holistic approach, and nutrition, specifically. Low inflammation diet. A neurologist/neurosurgeon gave be a detox protocol and icky green smoothie recipe for “cleaning out the nervous system”. No dairy, only Fiji Water or Trader Joe’s New Zealand artesian water for drinking and cooking, baking soda soak baths, in shoes, and I use it for deodorant and toothpaste. I’m not 100% strict on all that. Other things I’ve done are eliminate (or nearly) sugars (they’re everywhere) processed oil (all very bad) and a 12 hr fast every day. Again, not 100% strict, but we do what we can.

I was ready to get cortisone shots in my thumbs (already had some in my back, another chapter that won’t fit in here) but right before that I ran across this occupational therapist How to Increase Thumb Strength: 5 Thumb Strengthening Exercises with Therapy Putty ( She has a 30-day program for $100 that I highly recommend. I’ve been doing it with big success . I have gotten better, regained some ability to use my hands normally, and see that if things continue this way, I won’t need shots. She said I should try the program for a few weeks before I got shots, so I did. It works.

Another huge thing was to find a certain kind of doctor/therapist, and that happened in the form of a Naprapathic practitioner (many modalities of treatment, look it up) The main guy is a chiropractor and sports therapist, pain management specialist, and other stuff I don’t know what the letters mean. They gave me a program of homework (daily stuff, tailored to my needs) that has saved my butt a hundred times. I was very lucky to find them, maybe you’ll get lucky too. Elite OSM is the name (Dr. Beau Hightower ) who works out of a prominent MMA gym up the road in ABQ, but now has branch offices in Las Vegas NV and Florida (?) They helped with chronic back and leg issues with the right combo of exercise, trigger point “massage” (lots of torture with a Lacrosse ball and other painful (but wonderfully effective) objects. One key thing the deep tissue work does is to deactivate overly clenched muscle groups. BIG BIG piece of the puzzle , because normal whole body massage therapy is pretty vague and ineffective by comparison.

It’s taken at least 40 years to put all these pieces together , but I can walk around most of the time and not be in pain, and there have been times when that was impossible. I too am avoiding surgery at all costs. Medical mistakes of all kinds are the 3rd leading cause of death in the U.S., I read somewhere. I don’t want to risk it, and I don’t want to rely on it. If I can’t fix it or deal with it in sustainable ways…well, so far I’ve been able to ! Good luck to you; it sounds like you’re on a very good track.