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Trouble with Piercing and Filing

Hello everyone, something that has been irritating me is that whenever I do some piercing work, even something simple like a cross pendant, the lines always, always look messy and uneven. So I file them, and they seem to only get messier. The lines are all wavy and eneven. I don’t know what I can do, Is there a technique I need to learn? Or simply practice?

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Practice and experience?
I do have a fellow who I am friends with on FB, named David Sparks, who has posted quite a few images of tools he has developed to do his piercing work, and he is quite good at it.
He has even developed a foot operated bench pin clamp that I think is the absolute nuts for this work.

I do not know if David is on Orchid, but I encourage you to look him up on FB. His FB avatar is currently a pierced seahorses head, I believe. It would be worth looking back through some of his past post to see his tools and techniques that he has shared.

Thanks for the reply. I am sorry I am not familiar with FB, what is it?

Oh you meant Facebook. Nevermind :slight_smile:

Well Practice for sure. Perhaps your sheet is too thin. I’ve found I’m most successful with a thicker sheet for piercing and then put that on top of a 26 ga sheet. Use the thickness that allows you to cut smoothly without waves. And before you pierce practice a lot cutting on copper.

You may want to find a clamp of some kind to keep your work steady. Also, make sure you are using the correct size of sawblade and that the blade is under lots of tension. Loose blades wander more easily. Lubricate the blade with beeswax frequently. The rest is practice. I still have a tendency to hold the saw handle too tightly. Download some celtic patterns and saw them out in brass or copper. Look up sawing exercises and do a few. You will be surprised at how much better you will become and how much more you will enjoy the process!

Sometimes piercing an uneven cut line can be the result of your piercing methods, as others have said practice makes perfect, a few tips from me, first pierce on the flat side of the bench pin, I am always surprised when I see people piercing by resting the metal on the bevelled side of their bench pin. Make sure you use the correct size saw blade which is lubricated, I just use candle wax for lubrication. Next get used to piercing across the bench pin,if you are right handed, from right to left, not in a straight line away from your face, I was always taught “it is better to see where the blade is going, rather than where it has been.” Finally make sure you are comfortable with your saw frame, in recent years I have got used to the Knew Concept saw frames as I like their lightness. I hope this all makes sense, and good luck. This is some of my piercing.


Do you think Knew Concepts saw makes a big difference? I have thought about buying Knew Concepts, or Green Lion. What do other folks have to say about the saws they like the best???
Thank You for listening and posting about what you are experiencing while sawing.
Deborah/ aka, rosie Reven Heart/ aka, rosieblu…

Practice really does make perfect! Is your pin set up at chest height? Also Relax, don’t fight with the saw.Someone told me to let gravity do the downward movement, you just guide the blade. That made a big difference to me…

I have both. I gave the Knew Concepts saws to all my benchies for Christmas a few years back and for Christmas 2015 I gave each of them a Green Lion frame. Our collective and unanimous opinion is that the Green Lion is our favorite. While the Knew Concepts saw frame is very light and stiff, the saw blade securing and tensioning systems leave a bit to be desired.

In all fairness, the KC saws we have are very early versions, mine is actually a prototype that Lee sent me for evaluation when they were in the design phase. They are much better now, but I don’t have any experience with the latest design. Both frames are excellent and work very well. I use mine primarily for spiral wax blades, and it works extremely well in that application. The tensioning system is ideal for tensioning wax blades accurately. The KC 's we have don’t hold small blades, smaller than 2/0 very well.

I would easily recommend either one.

Thanks for that tip. It will be extremely helpful!

I have done a lot of piercing in my time, I must say that it is not the saw frame that does the work, it just helps to have a frame you are happy with, over the years I have got through quite a few frames.My favourite at the moment is my early Knew Concepts titanium frame.


I use the Knew Concepts saws exclusively. The winning feature is how you secure the blade and tension it - two steps, not one. The lever control is simply brilliant. I no longer have a bruise from trying to secure and tension a saw. I admit it is a different kind of blade holder, but you can learn how to use it. I didn’t like the early KC saws, that set tension with a screw, the lever is the bomb!

Judy H

Just my 2 cents, not trying to be contrary with my betters on these points, but practice makes my piercing more acceptable, and it may make it decent eventually, but alas I’m not getting anywhere near perfection… :upside_down_face:

I’ve had no trouble at all with thin blades, even down to the 10/0 blades Knew Concepts offers. My K.C. saw frames hold the thinnest blades well and I find the 10/0s to be surprisingly strong. I break them only when being careless. There is an anvil opposite the tightening screw that can be set with a hex wrench to adjust for blade thickness, and that will let you accommodate the thinnest blade.

I have purchased a few variations of the K.C. frames. My latest is the model with the swiveling blade feature (for holding the saw frame offset so you can saw the length of a long piece of metal). In fact I rarely use that feature and have had the lower blade clamp go into the offset detent accidentally, causing the blade to be twisted. That does not improve my piercing in the least so I have to keep an eye out for that when I change blades or move to another section to pierce. In my case, I’d rather stick with the fixed angle, toggle top frame.

Neil A

My saw is a standard, ordinary saw that looks like this:

It saws perfectly straight lines when desired and perfectly along the lines of complex, intricate designs.


  1. Sit up straight. No slouching over the benchpin.
  2. Both feet flat on the floor.
  3. Shoulders level!
  4. BREATHE when you saw. (Take a few really deep, slow breaths just before you start.)
  5. Wax the blade (I use an ordinary candle).
  6. Saw along the right-hand edge of your line (if you are right-handed) so you can always see it.
  7. Practice straight lines first. If you can’t saw a straight line, you won’t be able to saw a clean curved line. Saw endless sheets like this (like a ‘comb’) until the lines come out straight:
  8. Hold the sheet square with the bench pin so that you, the bench pin, and the the workbench are all square/parallel (i.e., not tilted diagonally at different angles). It helps if your workbench is also square with the room (not angled)–usually they are.

If you do all of the above, your sawed lines will come out nice and straight along the lines with about an hour of practice–with an ordinary, simple saw.

Also: There is no need to get bruised or to otherwise injure yourself when adjusting the tension of the blade:

  1. Make a hole in the front edge of your workbench which accepts that little ‘tab’ on the top end of the saw (if you don’t already have some sort of hole there).
  2. Position the blade in the saw and tighten the bottom screw.
  3. Make sure the top of the saw blade is in position in the saw.
  4. Hold the saw in your left hand, pushing the top tab into the hole in the workbench.
  5. Then, while pushing against the bench with your left hand, tighten the top screw with your right hand.

I could never figure out why people push the saw handle into their chest instead of using their left hand to push it into the workbench.

Good luck!

Janet in Jerusalem


I was, just now what raw up grade I should saw I should buy. I thought it was Knew Concepts was the one until I saw the article about Green Lyon. I am going to look for a Green Lyon. I will let you know how I it works out. Thank you for the information.

I actually enjoy saw piercing. Yeah I know. I’m kinda sick that way. It’s like meditation to me.
I actually have a separate bench pin just for precision sawing. It’s a thick piece of brass attached with a single heavy screw so that it swivels out of the way when I’m not using it. When I want to cut a straight line I lean my sawframe forward. When making corners I make sure my saw frame is straight up and down. I tell my students to have a relaxed grip and to not push on the metal. Just let the teeth do the cutting. Do not try and turn the blade when cutting a curve or corner but rather turn the metal you are piercing. If I have a cut in the middle of a piercing I want to correct I use the side of my blade as a file rather than use a needle or escapement file.
Sawing can be fun and satisfying. Really.

  • Jo

Tilting the blade forward has made all the difference for me cutting straight lines (thank you @JimGrahlDesign). The long cut you get helps guide the blade in that straight line you want. It still takes practice, but what doesn’t?

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Thank you Janet B. Clear and consice. I still use the “basic” saw also. No bruising either. It’s true - practice, practice, practice. i’m

The kc was a game changer for me, I hated changing blades and always struggled with sawing and from the moment I got my kc it all changed esp. changing blades is nothing now, but I have had my eye on the green lion just because I love tools but money is tight so can’t justify esp. since I love my kc, aloha, angi in hana