Sawing with pain

I’m an ex-carpenter trying to learn jewelry making. Carpal Tunnel,
tendinitis of the elbow, operations - still a lot of discomfort. But
the sawing is the potential straw on the camel’s back. Has anyone
experience with such devices as a jig saw fitted with jewelry saw
blades or the Sawing Machine from Otto Frei? Or is this hopeless?
I’ve been getting a tremendous amount of info from the extremely
generous/knowledgeable people on this site and hope some one can
address this issue.

I’ve got one of MicroMark’s jig saws that I use for some work –
mostly larger cuts. It’s a little clumsy on small work, but there’s
no reason why it shouldn’t work.


Hi Jean,

This is a bit left of field, but have you tried the Asian method of
using a saw frame? I’m not sure how bad your RSI is, just wondering
if you’d tried the saw frame inverted?

I had a look at that Sawing Machine, it looks very much like a
scroll saw, and as an ex-woodie you’d be able to adapt to that really
easily, I would think, at the very least the learning curve would be
very shallow.

Sure it’s pricey, but for a person with RSI it looks the ticket. I
used to make artificial limbs, and this device would allow one handed
use for the handicapped.

Regards Charles A.

I’m surprised no one has mentioned Lee Marshall’s amazing saws. His
jewelers’ electric scroll saw is the ultimate sawing tool. I look at
it every now and then on his site and salivate. He has truly
reinvented piercing, both with this and with his saw guide and his
precision hand saw.

Janet Kofoed

Jean - it’s expensive but look at for their power
saw - it works. All of Lee’s saws work better than anything else. If
you can’t afford the power saw, the hand saws use much less effort
and might work for you.

I am a biased long time customer. I love his press too.

Judy Hoch

What is the Asian method of sawing?

The OP might also want to look at the KnewConcepts electric saw. IT
will do fine work.

Have you looked at these saw aluminium frames;

I do a lot of piercing work and I find that the light weight of these
Knew Concept saws makes saw piercing easier. Since I was introduced
to these saw frames I find that I use them for all of my piercing
work these days, and sometimes I am piercing for many hours at a
time. This company also makes an electric piercing saw, I have no
experience of it but if it is engineered as fine as these aluminium
and titanium saw frames I am sure it is good.

Peace and good health to all
James miller FIPG

I’m a woody myself (house boots in Amsterdam) I would go for the
Proxxon DS 230/E. You can adjust the length of the saw blade on that
machine, didn’t see this feature anywhere else.

Get well, Kiffer

The weight of a saw frame, combined with a good ergonomic handle is
crucial to repetitive and delicate piercing. For years I have used
the Swiss style frame with both a short and wide throat, a stubby
and cushiony handle combined with a quick load feature for blades.

If you have an old style wood handle, new style rubber handle or the
wonderful Knew Concept style, to achieve consistent piercing without
pain, you must loosen your grip. Those tiny blades know exactly what
to do. Let them. You should be able to pierce with holding the saw
frame with only two fingers. The rest of your hand just helps you
drive. Keep your hand moving up and down at all times.

Beginners often put a death grip on their handles, trying to force
out “wood juice”, thinking if one grabs onto the handle and force the
blade to their will, that the metal will yield. A pile of snapped
blades grows around their benches, shoulders tense and their poor saw
blade and frame scream. The fusion between the maker and tool creates
a particular sound, and piercing is no different.

Different metals pierce differently. Use the correct saw blade to
match your metal. Manufacturers of saw blades a whole other topic

Piercing is not unlike driving. You don’t GRIP a steering wheel.
With the aid of power steering, you GUIDE the steering wheel. Or
think of a whisk for making an oil and vinegar dressing. To create
the perfect blend, one must move the whisk around quickly and deftly
by loosely holding the handle of the whisk and allowing the shape of
the tool to do its work.

Lastly, for every 20 minutes of piercing, give yourself 5 minutes to
rest and stretch your hands and back.

Karen Christians

I have the electric concept saw and love it, it is restricted by the
thickness of the metal. I can’t cut round hollow ware objects on it
or shallow bowls. My silver must be flat. It runs and sounds like a
sewing machine and can be a tremendous help to you.

Jennifer Friedman
Ventura, CA

Jean - I feel your pain. I’ll do anything to avoid using a saw - my
suggestions are to use a disc cutter when possible, use aviation
sheers (FABulous) when possible, and if absolutely necessary to use
a saw, get one of the Knew Concept saws - they are wonderful. Use
plenty of lube and correct positioning - that’ll save you a lot of

Good luck!
Sam Kaffine

Have you thought about making things that don’t require a lot of