I’m lazy and would like to cut some sheets of silver no more than 12
-14 gauge. Will a scroll saw suffice or should I just go with a band
I’m lazy and would like to cut some sheets of silver no more than 12
-14 gauge. Will a scroll saw suffice or should I just go with a band
Bands saw might be hard for corners. Scroll saw might be good but
you might break some blades. Use eye protection and maybe someone
else’s fingers, preferably someone you don’t like much. I worked at a
machine shop one time where we cut aluminum sheet with a table saw.
It worked. My mother in law has a scroll saw for sale. I was going to
take it but I got enough tools for now according to my wife.
Check out http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/13k if you want a power
No I don’t have one, just the manual ones made by them, but they are
No affiliation other than a satisfied customer
I was going to suggest our power saw, but Kay beat me to it. It’s the
only saw specifically designed to be a powered jeweler’s saw. There
are a couple of fairly serious differences between the KC power saw
and a scroll saw.
A) purely vertical motion. Many of the scroll saws use a sort of
rocking beam system, which causes the blade to arc backwards and
forwards. OK in wood, with thick (for us) blades, but it causes all
sorts of havoc on trying to turn corners with jewelry scale blades.
B) Fails safe. The blade is the final link in a cable system, which
drives the blade. If the blade breaks, the cable goes slack, and the
motion dies instantly. No worries about it slamming a busted blade
into your fingers. It’s the only saw out there with this kind of a
C) Uses the full stroke of the blade. It’s optimized for thin sheet
material, under 1/8" thick. So it uses all of the available blade,
rather than just jackrabbiting along working only the middle inch
like scroll saws do. (They’re designed to be able to cut boards an
inch thick, so they use less stroke.) You can adjust it to do
thicker things, but it comes set up for thin sheet metal.
D) Blade guides and hold downs set up for jewelry scale blades. It
has a pair of carbide blade guides that support the blade just above
and below the cut, as well as a ‘zipper foot’ that holds the
material down against the table. Both of them are set up for jewelry
scale blades, rather than woodworking sizes, which means the blades
won’t flop around in oversized guides.
E) It’s slooooooow. If you put a standard flex shaft foot pedal on
it, you can get it to crawl along at ‘just barely moving’ or floor
it and go to about 120 strokes/min. This gives you much more control
in thin metal than you’d get with a scroll saw.
(It doesn’t come with a foot pedal because we figure anybody who’s
buying a $2K saw probably has a closet full of spare flex shaft foot
pedals already, as well as having definite opinions about which
style they prefer.) Personally, I use a Lucas Low-Boy on mine, and
we stock those if you’d like one with it. (Not listed on the
website, but we do have a couple around. Just ask. They’re $45.)
Also, unlike the variable scroll saws, you still have full torque at
the lower end. (there’s a pretty serious gearbox stepping the motor
RPM down, so while the blade may be crawling along, the motor
F) if you want to do beveled cuts, the frame rolls over, not the
table. So you keep sawing level, even if the cut isn’t. A
surprisingly helpful feature.
Just for funzies, if you look at the picture, that’s one of my
workbenches that it’s stuck to, with my favorite tool chest in the
background. So a very minor studio tour there.
Hope that helped,
I did check the archives before I sent my question. Thanks for some
of the replies that already came in. A knew concepts scroll/band saw
is out of my price range though. I would like to also ask that in
the 2004 archives someone responded that a diamond bandsaw works
great. I can’t find anything that says it is for metals though.
Anyone using it for cutting thicker precious metals?
A knew concepts scroll/band saw is out of my price range though. I would like to also ask that in the 2004 archives someone responded that a diamond bandsaw works great.
Having never used either, I’d guess that a band saw or scroll saw
would “work” to cut precious metals, but probably not as accurately
and cleanly as a Knew. (Otherwise Knew would be out of business, and
never would have gained the popularity or following it enjoys.)
If you buy one now you can deduct the cost from your 2014 income
Hello Kennedi, If you just want to straight cut sheets and large
radius turns, not cut fancy shapes and tight corners, a bench shear
might be your answer - they are available from many, many of todays
low price tool stores such as Northern Tools or Harbor Freight -
loads of stores if you do an internet search. The price can be about
the same for a scroll saw. I have one and it works great.
If you would like to use a scroll saw to cut things a bit more like
a jewelers saw, your desire is one I have sharedthrough a ton of
hours searching to find an answer.
The problem is that next to no one makes blades designed for metal
cutting - it had always been “buy a wood blade and hope for the best
on metal. After devoting a considerable number of hours to an
internet search, I finally found ablade that would work and be
"rated” for use on metal. The metal cutting scroll saw blades are
from www. olsonsaw.com - they provide a nice, easy to read chart
listing blades for specific purposes.
Look for - Model FR44000 - 3/0 blade that measures 0.22" wide x
0.008 thick and a 2/0 blade that measures 0.22 wide x 0.010 thick.
There are more listed but they continue to grow larger from there
however, there are still two more items remaining for you to win the
battle to fully enjoy your Christmas gift to yourself.
The first item for you to be aware of is that the above metal
cutting blades are only made in “pinless” form, therefore you must
purchase a scroll saw that will use pinless blades - today, most
saws are set up for pinless blades but thereare still some that are
not. No real difference in the saw’s price, but I believe its no fun
to get your saw home and ready to do some fancy cutting only to find
out you cannot attach the correct blades.
The second item is more of a recommendation from me - purchase a
scroll saw that is variable speed - different metals cut better at
different speeds and require you to experiment - and again there is
no real difference in price between fixed and variable speeds but,
although most are variable there are still some that are fixed speed
so it still pays to read.
The bladesare available in some Hardware stores and through Olson’s
web site but not in the home improvement super centers like Lowes
and Home Depot; and they are more expensive than most scroll saw
blades. The metal cutting blades are $8 to $10 a dozen. And for my
last scrooge trick - if you find a hardware store that sells Olson
blades but doesn’t carry the ones you want - have the hardware store
order them in for you - they will come in with the stores regular
order fromOlson and you will most likely not pay for freight if you
talk with the owners - ordering through the web, that good old
freight adder is always there.
I closing, please be aware that these blades will not work cutting a
1" x 1" bar into butter pat sizes and are as sensitive as 2/0 and
3/0 blades can be.
I do hope that this little find of mine will help a bunch of you - I
know that I am grateful of the help I’ve received from all of you.
Merry Christmas!!! Bob A. DeMarcki
Brian, your description leaves me jonesing for one of your saws,
even though I love piercing by hand and totally don’t need one. I
just love good engineering. I wish I could have included it in the
webinar I did on saws and sawing for Interweave (LJ/JA). I LOVE my
Knew Concepts (red) saws.
OK, gotta go clean up the drool now.
a diamond bandsaw works great. I can't find anything that says it is for metals
The several brands of diamond bandsaw are intended for materials
like glass, ceramic, tile, or stone. They don’t work well with
metals. And while they’re great at cutting larger curves and such in
stone (mine can manage about a one inch diameter circle, though not
all that well), and can save much material over what can be done
using traditional lapidary trim saws (straight cutting disk type
saws), they don’t cut the type of intricate tight curves and
precision cuts that metal cutting manual saws can do.
And for metal, consider that there may be reasons beyond cost why so
few jewelers and metalsmiths use any sort of power saw. The manual
jewelers saws are capable of precision, intricacy, and even speed
that is hard to duplicate with any of the power saws on the market.
The Knew Concepts power saw does very well at what it does, but
again, there are reasons why it’s costly, and even it cannot quite
match everything a manual saw frame (Like the Knew Concepts manual
saw frames, or traditional saw frames, etc.) can do. Engineering a
saw to both be powered, and match what a manual saw can do, including
using the small blades that manual saws can use, isn’t easy.
Woodworking scroll saws work well with wood, but do it in part
because they can use the much tougher and larger wood workers saw
Standard metal cutting band saws are great for larger cutting tasks
in metal, but not commonly used on precious metals simply because
they’re not normally what is needed, and waste a good deal of metal
in the wider kerfs they cut. Power tools have their place and can be
great savers of muscle power and sometimes time, but it’s easy to
forget just how efficient and capable the traditional manual tools
can be. Powered is not always better, even if it’s more costly. If
it were, then lots of manufacturers would have developed lots of
powered jewelers saws and they’d be fairly cheap and affordable.
A few years ago a friend talked me into getting a DeWalt scroll saw.
Best tool I’ve bought in ages! It takes jewellers’ blades, including
spiral, has adjustable speed, and an 18" throat so can handle big
pieces. I use it for cutting anything over 2mm because it is faster.
I can cut 4mm stock for flatware blanks in amazing time. It takes a
little time to get used to (like anything), mostly to know how much
pressure to use. I also use it to cut 1" closed cell insulation
board to make custom shipping boxes for hollowware.
I bought a scroll saw years ago and tool a old Jewelers hand saw and
cut the blade clamps off both then silver soldered the jewelers
clamps onto the scroll saw. been working great for years.
I can cut 4mm stock for flatware blanks in amazing time. It takes a little time to get used to (like anything), mostly to know how much pressure to use. I also use it to cut 1" closed cell insulation board to make custom shipping boxes for hollowware.
Karen, what brand of blades do you use? I do a lot of production
work in 16 ga. using both a Knew Concepts and a scroll saw and find
they both break blades after about 30-40" of cut (if I’m lucky).
thanks for the info on Olson saw blades, I’vebookmarked their page.
I just purchased a scroll saw -not even out of the box-for the
purpose of experimenting with incorporating wood elements in my
jewelry. I know absolutely next to nothing about woodworking but
know that blade choices are important to success. Olson certainly
has a great selection. I think I’ll also try the ones you suggested
for metal cutting. Very timely post for me!
Greetings to Kennedi & all Orchid Members, I couldn’t help but notice
this thread “Scroll saw - xmas gift for me” and found it interesting.
The Knew Concepts Scroll/Band Saw may be a little out of your price
range, but if you should purchase another brand of saw that does not
have a variable speed control built into the machine, than you should
consider also purchasing a good quality Foot Speed Control. I may be
a little prejudice but my Company just happens to manufacture the
best foot operated speed control in the Jewelry Industry and goes by
the name of #9 LOWBOYand is available for $45.00 ea. from LUCAS
Dental Co. and can be seen on the ‘Featured Products’ list along with
the Casting Machines that we also manufacture. We are also a couple
of weeks away from introducing our latest speed control LowBoy #9XR
which will operate on the Foredom TX DC Motors… If you should have
any questions, feel free to contact me, Sincerely, Richard Lucas.
Would you mind sharing the model number of your DeWalt Scroll Saw?
Your work is lovely (googled) and I can see how the scrool saw would
Margery Cooper, Narberth, PA
The Knew Concepts Scroll/Band Saw may be a little out of your price range, but if you should purchase another brand of saw that does not have a variable speed control built into the machine, than you should consider also purchasing a good quality Foot Speed Control. I may be a little prejudice but my Company just happens to manufacture the best foot operated speed control in the Jewelry Industry and goes by the name of #9 LOWBOYand is available for $45.00 ea. from LUCAS Dental Co. and can be seen on the 'Featured Products' list along with the Casting Machines that we also manufacture. We are also a couple of weeks away from introducing our latest speed control LowBoy #9XR which will operate on the Foredom TX DC Motors.... If you should have any questions, feel free to contact me, Sincerely, Richard Lucas.
Could not agree more!!!
Andy Cooperman, Metalsmith
A couple of years ago now, My husband restored an old Walker Turner
14" scroll saw, from 1935, for me to use on my bench.
The only photo I have handy is one we took just before we mounted it
on the bench.
We changed the pulley size on it to slow it down & it’s powered by a
1/4 hp motor mounted under the bench, with the belt coming up through
It’s great because it has a small foot print, and uses regular plain
end 6" jewelers saw blades.
I also hooked up an on/off foot pedal from Horrible Freight that
I also hooked up an aquarium air pump with some tubing that I
attached to the old hold down finger.
I have it rigged to turn on with the saw automatically, and it gently
blows the clips away from the cut line.
We also made a zero clearance top for the table from 1/8" Masonite,
so I can hold a small piece right up the blade.
Best thing, is if the blade breaks an empty space occurs, I never
have a blade " coming at me".
And my instinct is to just take my foot off the pedal & it stops
I also have found strangely enough over the last couple of years
using it, that cheap jewelers blades work better in the powered saw, as
they are not as hard and are a little more flexible. I save the good
blades for my hand saw.
Works for me
Live Oak Studios
Good to hear that you are plugged in to the needs of this field,
with the new LowBoy. I have loved the foot rheostats from you from
the minute I first heard of them/used them/ordered them. I have my
flexshafts plugged into LowBoys, and especially appreciate the ones
that run my Kate Wolf Belt Sander and my Dumore Drill Press (also a
beautifully designed tool for the small work of a jewelry studio).
It has always been puzzling to me that the other foot pedals for
flexshafts on the market have not been noticeably improved over the
years, but remain barely adequate for the job of infinite speed
adjustment and not as durable as the LowBoys. And as far as the
drill presses that masquerade as mini or small, nothing compares
with the quality of the Dumore Sensitive Drill Press., and again,
why is it the only company that makes a product so perfectly suited
for jewelry work?
There are a number of manufacturers I consider in our field who have
created products that I consider are just beautifully designed and
among the best. I know I’m not naming all of the truly great tool
designers, so I would love to hear from other Orchidians re: your
thoughts on well-designed ‘stuff’ we need and use).
Anyway, Richard, thanks for making the LowBoys. Hope your company
continues to make them in perpetuity. And just so the rest of you
Orchidians know, I am not associated in any way with the manufacture
or sale of LowBoys. Just love 'em.
So are the Lowboys good pedals for all flexshafts? It wasn’t clear
to me from your post, Alma, but I really can be a bit thickheaded
The current flexshaft I have is the ‘economical’ model from Contenti
(seen the rheostat pedal consistently gets hot after a few minutes of
semi-continuous use (ie, about 10min) at a medium speed. I’ve
already had it replaced once for the same problem, and am tempted to
do it again. But I’ve the impression that no matter how often I do,
I’ll continue to have the problem with each replacement. It does make
for intolerable waiting periods while finishing.
I just wondered if it were me, doing something wrong, or if it were
as typical an issue at it seems to be. And if the latter’s the case,
would the Lowboy be a good idea?
Many thanks for letting me post ‘off topic’ so to speak.
The current flexshaft I have is the 'economical' model from Contenti (seen the rheostat pedal consistently gets hot after a few minutes of semi-continuous use (ie, about 10min) at a medium speed. I've already had it replaced once for the same problem, and am tempted to do it again. But I've the impression that no matter how often I do, I'll continue to have the problem with each replacement. It does make for intolerable waiting periods while finishing.
I just wondered if it were me, doing something wrong, or if it were as typical an issue at it seems to be. And if the latter's the case, would the Lowboy be a good idea?
Whoops, the link vanished. I meant to say “…the ‘economical’ model
from Contenti (seen here:…)” Anyhow, here’s the link again, in
case it’s helpful.