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Some tips on hand saw piercing


#56

Greetings all:

There’s a really interesting book about how the use of the hand
influences the way the brain develops, and vice-versa. It turns out
that musicians and jewelers have very similar hyper-development in
some of the brain areas responsible for fine motor control.

It’s by Frank Wilson, and it’s called The Hand: How its Use Shapes
the Brain, Language, and Human Culture

It’s about how the hand and brain work together. It’s about how the
things we do with our hands at an early age actually change the
physical development and structure of our brains; how the structures
of the brain influence what we do with our hands, and how the two
evolved together. The first time I read this, it was like a
flashbulb exploding: it illuminated so much of what I’d noticed about
the difference between how craftspeople use their hands, and think
about making things, versus non craftspeople. Their brains are
different. Really. Every craftsperson I’ve talked to who’s read it
has found it vastly informative.

Regards,
Brian Meek.


#57

As I was doing some piercing today I realized I had an unconscious
habit, when I come to a corner or start a tight curve, I put my
thumb behind the blade and I keep the blade going up and down without
cutting, as I start cutting in the direction I want to go I can feel
how smooth I am cutting and I feel it is a way to be really
sensitive to what the blade is doing. I can also tell how straight
the blade is. If I am cutting really small areas, doing this allows
me to help control the blade and I can use it as a really small file.
I do not put pressure on the blade with my thumb, it is more of a
guide, and I can actually use my thumb as a pivot by gently pressing
the blade back into my thumb and sawing very slowly and moving my
thumb slowly forward as I saw.

Richard Hart G.G.
Jewelers Gallery
Denver Co.


#58

Brian:

There's a really interesting book about how the use of the hand
influences the way the brain develops, and vice-versa. It turns
out that musicians and jewelers have very similar hyper-development
in some of the brain areas responsible for fine motor control. 

After I restarted making jewelry and retrained my hands, I found that
my fine motor skills improved overall. Most noticeably, manicure and
nail polish application was much improved. Good thing too, since my
nails are cruddy and really need manicures now :wink:

Jamie


#59

Hi Helen,

Please forgive any repeats of previous advice…

I’m another string player who’s applied bowing principles to sawing.
I also found that a easy, straight bowing motion with loose wrist and
fingers and motion generated from the elbow (not the shoulder) made
sawing on the straights extremely easy. I pretend I’m a bandsaw.

As for the corners, I’d bet UKP 5 that you’re not holding the saw
straight up and down, even if you think you are. One of my
instructors had me sit down and saw for him - it turned out I needed
to (1) lower my seat - I’m very tall and (2) push my wrist forward
ever so slightly to bring the bottom of the saw forward. (It actually
FEELS a little like I’m overextending it even tho the position turns
out to be correct.) When I do this, I can feel the friction releasing
in mid-saw and the metal seems to magically part. It’s also quieter,
which means I’m not converting my energy to friction and sound
energy. Maybe you could have someone take photos of you from the side
while you saw - I’ll bet there’s a 5 to 15 degree slant there that
you can’t see or detect from your usual vantage point behind the peg.
I think you’ll agree that having a slant in the blade while going
around a corner puts tension on the blade, as though one is trying to
wrap the blade around the corner like a rubber band.

The other thing worth double-checking is the tooth size of your saw
blades. I think the Brepohl book has a good discussion of chip
making with saw blades. Tim McCreight’s book (in my hand) says that
three teeth need to be on the metal at all times. I find that if it’s
AT LEAST three teeth, I get no snagging and yanking.

Oh, and is your peg flat side up for sawing and slanted side up for
filing?

As for lubrication - I’ve used beeswax, spit and nothing at all -
they were all fine, but I do prefer using something for those few
moments each session when my technique gets lazy. I’ll try bur lube
at some point as well.

Making these minor corrections has sped me up enormously - no
kidding - this technique has me going faster than my classmates by a
factor of 2.

Hope this helps,
Erin


#60
That is interesting. In my years of teaching metalsmithing, I met
1, maybe 2 people who could saw right out of the gate. I wonder if
they had any musical background? 

Hmmm…I took to sawing like a duck to water, and I have had NO
musical training. Maybe I should take up the violin…

Donna


#61

Hmmm. Possibly a file buried into my next batch of artisan bread for
my friends serving time for tax evasion? You get the “unique” award
for the year!

Folks, cutting metal is not difficult, but the size of the blade
does depend on the width of your metal. Often I find novice
metalsmiths placing a death grip on the handle, expecting to squeeze
wood juice to help lubricate their arm and sawframe. RELAX!!

Let the blade do the work. You should be able to hold the sawframe
with two fingers and and use your other hand to simply guide the
operation with the rest of your hand wrapping around the handle.

Blades. Buy the best ones you can afford. Personally, I like
Hercules. Stay away from Economy, they will give you nothing but
problems.

Turning the blade also works, but here again, if you turn the blade,
you put torque on this tiny and delicate piece of metal. Start your
guide cut with one sawframe with a forward facing blade (and teeth
down) and then continue the second cut with your turned blade.

Karen Christians
Cleverwerx


#62
Interesting! The first time I held a saw, I sawed perfectly, never
had a problem. I studied cello from the time I was 5... 

I think I can explain that. People who play violin have hand to eye
coordination so superior to regular folks, that it is even difficult
to offer a relative scale. Violin string emits sound by vibrating the
whole length. At the same time each half of the string will vibrate
at
twice the frequency, and each half of the half, and so on until
length
of the section of the sting start approaching the thickness of the
string. These are call harmonics.

This is an ideal situation and requires violinist to engage a string
in a very precise and controlled fashion. Everything is important.
The angle, the speed, the pressure, the direction, the position of
the
elbow and many other factors. Besides every violin requires slightly
different approach. If any of the parameters violated, the different
sections of the string start vibrating at different frequencies
interfering with each other and sound becomes very unpleasant. And
that is only one string. Violinist has to control 4 string at the
same time. Imagine coordination and sensitivity required when playing
fast piece.

Getting back to goldsmithing. The very first lesson on hand piercing
which everybody gets is to tighten the blade correctly. This is not
minor by any sense. If blade is over or under tighten it will dull
very quickly, start overheating, and break. How do we know when it is
done right ? Blade should emit pleasant sound when plucked. Exactly
like violin. Hand sawing does have a lot in common with violin
playing.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#63
That is interesting. In my years of teaching metalsmithing, I met
1, maybe 2 people who could saw right out of the gate. I wonder if
they had any musical background? 

As I stated in another reply, I bet it is because they are letting
the bow do the work and have a light touch on the instrument. Metal
is the same.

Look at it like slicing bread with a sharp serrated knife. If you
push down on a dull knife, you squish the bread. A sharp knife will
allow you to GUIDE the cut and make an even slice of bread. No
difference in cutting metal.

karen christians
cleverwerx


#64
reminding me that it is 21 century and the phone has been invented, 

There’s only one thing wrong with Leonid’s pre-telephone method of
low-and-slow tempering, and that is that you don’t know what the
steel is to begin with. You could fix a bad sawblade, or you could
ruin a perfect sawblade. But there’s certainly nothing wrong with
trying it, in the end.

However, I’ve gone through 4,976,348 sawblades without feeling the
need to tinker around with either the blades or the frames. It comes
under the “it’s not the tool, it’s the hand” heading. Those of you
who enjoy fussing with things might enjoy Leonid’s pre-modern method,
but for those who are nervous about it, modern sawblades are
perfectly fine, quite sharp and quite durable, straight out of the
box - quality brands, that is. Certainly I generally throw away more
dull blades than broken ones…

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#65
That is interesting. In my years of teaching metalsmithing, I met
1, maybe 2 people who could saw right out of the gate. I wonder if
they had any musical background? 

A very interesting theory! I loved to saw from the very beginning;
when my teacher saw my first pieces, she asked me how many blades I
broke. She was pretty surprised at my answer: none!

My musical background was mostly piano and voice, with a little
clarinet and glockenspiel thrown in for variety.


#66

Leonid,

I’m missing something with the bread and saw blade trick. Unless you
really carbonize the bread there is still water present… the
temperature CANNOT go above 212 F (100 C) Way too low for any
tempering. Might as well stick the blades in your coffee and save
the bread.

Jeff
Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing
http://www.gmavt.net/~jdemand


#67

Yeah! Yes, a small sawframe is EXACTLY like a bandsaw. The movement
you are providing, i.e., the power, is the same as a bandsaw motor.
You can’t turn the whole bandsaw when you make curves, you must turn
the wood.

For tight turns, back your sawframe slightly, KEEP THE BLADE MOVING
and rotate your metal.

For straight cuts, tilt your blade at a 45 degree angle. For curvy
cuts, straight up and down works best. Keep a light hand, let the
blade do the work.

For practice, pierce your name in script without punching any
letters out. It’s a good exercise for drilling a pilot hole,
threading your sawframe through, re-attaching and off you go.

When loading your blade, make music when you pluck it! That’s how
you know your blade is tight and ready for action.

karen christians
cleverwerx


#68

Well I was a cellist for many years and felt (still feel) very
comfortable with the saw. In fact, sawing and piercing are my
favorite activities. Now if I could just feel as comfortable about my
soldering techniques. But that too will come :slight_smile: Happy holidays to
all of you, whatever one(s) you celebrate.

Sandra Graves
Artistic Endeavors with Wings of Light
Blog at http://sandragravesisisrising.blogspot.com/


#69
That is interesting. In my years of teaching metalsmithing, I met
1, maybe 2 people who could saw right out of the gate. I wonder if
they had any musical background? 

Interesting alright. And not just with string instruments. I took to
piercing straight away. Actually, I think my instructor was a bit
annoyed. It was just a one day introductory workshop given to glass
lampworkers. She wanted us to just cut squares out, bend them a bit
and then ‘sand’ them with coarse pads and hey presto. Very dull and
boring to people who already had a proven creative slant…I ended
up piercing an intricate leaf shape with ‘flame’ type bits all around
the side. Sort of like piercing a sun shape with curvy rays all
around it. She kept telling me to stop at the start, that it would be
much simpler just to do the squares :slight_smile: I knew she thought I would
just run into trouble but then I knew myself that my starting point
in these things is always a bit higher, even if I’ve never done it
before.

The difference? Also a musician :slight_smile: Mainly timpani, percussion, then
a bit of saxophone and guitar. Its all about consciously knowing how
hard/soft you are hitting the instrument so it definitely converts
over to piercing!

Nicola.


#70
I'm missing something with the bread and saw blade trick. Unless
you really carbonize the bread there is still water present... the
temperature CANNOT go above 212 F (100 C) Way too low for any
tempering. Might as well stick the blades in your coffee and save
the bread. 

We are not trying to temper it. We are trying to age it. When metal
is taken to high temperature atoms of iron and carbon moves at
different rates. When metal is cooled rapidly, carbon is arrested by
surrounding iron and carbon is not in its proper position as related
to crystal structure. Tempering is a process of re-crystallization
to allow carbon find it’s place. However, to do it perfectly, we
would
have to heat each and every atom of carbon at different temperatures
depending on exact location of atom. The reasons are that one atom
maybe almost in the right spot and needs little amount of energy to
get to it’s place, while another atom may be far away and needs more
energy to get into position. We obviously cannot do that. Heat is
applied evenly and that causes some atoms to overshoot, some
undershoot, and a few will wind up where they suppose to be. That
result in the alloy which is fine in general, but far from perfect.

The process of re-crystallization will go on forever, unless we
store metal at absolute zero. From experience we know that couple of
year at room temperature will do the trick as far as goldsmith is
concern. The process of baking inside the bread is simply to
accelerate this process. Bread is a temperature control device. If
one have an electric oven and quartz sand, overnight in the oven
buried in the quartz sand works even better. Temperature should be
under 212 Fahrenheit. At 212 degrees atoms start moving to fast. 160
to 180 degrees probably the best range. Process can be repeated if
desired or modified. 2 nights at 140 may work just as well or better,
and so on…

We want to give every atom just enough push so when it gets close to
the right location, it would be arrested by internal forces which are
responsible for maintaining crystal structure. Think of it like black
hole in space. Once object gets close enough so attraction overcomes
inertia, atom gets sucked into the position and remains there until
the metal gets heated again. We want to maintain this environment
where atoms have enough energy to wonder around until enough of them
would find proper places to form crystal structure of required
properties.

If it helps, think about aging wine, cheese, and etc. The process is
the same. Can a wine be drunk right after it is bottled ? Sure it
can, but it is so much better after a few years. So are 8/0 blades.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#71

Hi Erin,

As for the corners, I'd bet UKP 5 that you're not holding the saw
straight up and down, even if you think you are. 

That’s certainly something to investigate, thanks. I’ll get hubby to
take a look the next time I’m doing some sawing.

Tim McCreight's book (in my hand) says that three teeth need to be
on the metal at all times. I find that if it's AT LEAST three teeth,
I get no snagging and yanking. 

I read two but three has got to be smoother with less snagging so
definitely worth considering.

Oh, and is your peg flat side up for sawing and slanted side up
for filing? 

I use it flat side up for everything actually. An Orchid friend told
me it’s supposed to be flat side up so I changed it from slanted
side up to flat, although it took a bit of getting used to.

Thanks very much for your input - it’s all really useful advice.

Helen
UK


#72

Hi Helen

When you get to the corner think in your mind that you are 'sawing’
with the back of the blade as you change your direction. This is how
I explain it to the teens when they have problems with the corner.
This is due to the fact that you only want to change the direction of
the blade to maintain a crisp corner. The only other thing I would
also think about is what was already suggested, that you saw into the
two corners from two different directions.

Karen Bahr - Karen’s Artworx
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
http://karensartworx.ganoksin.com/blogs/


#73
The difference? Also a musician :) Mainly timpani, percussion,
then a bit of saxophone and guitar. Its all about consciously
knowing how hard/soft you are hitting the instrument so it
definitely converts over to piercing! 

For me it was violin, guitar, mandolin and flute. “Playing” the saw
too hard is not the problem - I have a VERY light touch in fact -
it’s just my impatience, trying to go round the corners too fast, or
as Erin pointed out, maybe I’m not sawing vertically as I think I
am. I’ll get it sorted thanks to the advice of everyone who has
answered this topic.

Helen
UK


#74

I started this thread on hand saw piercing tips, which has interested
some members and there has been some interesting postings. On one of
my postings I asked members to send me examples of any saw piercing,
two members kindly sent me their photos and I returned some photos of
my piercing. So I thought Hanuman might be kind enough to make
available a couple of photos of one of my finest piercing examples.
Some years ago I worked in collaboration with a friend who is a fine
designer jeweller. His name is Edward Evans and he had designed some
sets of table lamps that had been commissioned by Asprey. As Ed Evans
is a jeweller by trade he needed my help with some of the
goldsmithing. Ed Evans’s son Simon had been trained as an enameller
by the master enameller Keith Seldon and Simon shared a workshop with
his father, so the three of us worked together in the manufacture of
six of these 18ct gold and enamelled table lamps, each lamp stood 16
inches tall and the shades were hand saw pierced before being plique
a-jour enamelled, the shades were transparent enamels so that the
light shined through in the style of old Tiffany glass shades. The
lamps were also set with diamonds as decoration, the flowers were
hard fired enamelled and each shade was supported by six octagonal
rock crystal pillars, after completing these table lamps Ed Evans
designed a further four pairs of table lamps, in differing designs,
for Asprey which we also made together. Photos of these tablelamps
will not be included in my book as I was unable to contact Ed Evans
to obtain his permission to include them which is a shame, I believe
Ed has left the country and is touring the world in retirement, his
son Simon emigrated to Australia and I believe has stopped
enamelling. My book will show many other examples of my piercing work
as there are over 100 photos of my original work.


Peace,good health and season greetings to all Orchideans.

James Miller FIPG
http://www…ganoksin.com/exhibition/v/orchid/JamesMiller/


#75
I'm missing something with the bread and saw blade trick. Unless
you really carbonize the bread there is still water present... the
temperature CANNOT go above 212 F (100 C) Way too low for any 

I’m sure the temperature can rise above 100C when there is liquid
water present provided certain conditions are met, such as the input
of heat energy exceeds the rate it is removed by change of state of
water from liquid to vapour, and / or local or global increases of
pressure above atmospheric. And once all the water is turned to
steam, the temperature can rise without any such impediment. Bread
is factory baked in the UK with steam at around 250C (or used to be
when I was working my way through uni in a factory bakery), and I
would guess wouldn’t carbonise at that temperature unless the amount
of water vapour in the oven as a whole drops below a certain critical
value.

Paul Jelley
London