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Using a bandsaw

Is a (woodworking) bandsaw a viable option for cutting shapes in
sterling silver. Looking for a faster and more controlled way to cut
outlines, not the interior shapes.

Liz Blanchflower
Stone and Sterling Design

Note From Ganoksin Staff:
Looking for aBenchtop Bandsaw tool for your jewelry projects? We recommend:

Metal cutting band saw machines for cutting thin metal, ie under
1/10th in thick require a relatively slow speed for the saw, as they
usually have teeth from 16 thi to 32 tpi. so a wood cutting band saw
machine is usually too fast in speed of the blade.

Therefore you would need to change the drive system with different
size pulleys to get the right speed for the blade. Also you will need
the bands made up in the right blade material and correct size!! for
the machine you have in mind.

If you can get your wood band saw machine for relatively little
money, then its worth considering.

I use a a metal cutting band saw for the odd shape I dont want to
comission a blanking tool for. the blade is 24tpi by 20/1000th in
thick and 1/16th in deep.

will go around a 1/4in radius.

I buy it by the 100 ft in a roll. to join it I silver braze an
angled scarf joint some 1/8th in a jig, using a paillion between the
scarfs flux, heat then allow to cool.

Clean up with a file.
Hope this helps.

Is a (woodworking) bandsaw a viable option for cutting shapes in
sterling silver. Looking for a faster and more controlled way to
cut outlines, not the interior shapes. 

The blade on a bandsaw is rather long. Not to mention that that’s
about the scariest saw ever made. Why not use sheet metal shears? (I
use aviation snips with the lines filed off and polished)

I have used a handsaw to cut sterling… but it’s a huge pain in the
butt, and you will have silver EVERYWHERE…

I would recommend a scroll saw, they are cheaper (generally) and
easier to control, and smaller, and i think way better for fine work


A scroll saw might be a better choice. They have smaller thinner
blades and a good one will have a speed control, stroke adjustment,
light and an air blower to keep the cutting surface clear of debris.

Also the design allows for backing the piece out of the cutting area
with minimal risk.

They will be slower than a bandsaw but more accurate and with less
risk of injury.


Even with a scroll saw, you will have silver EVERYWHERE! I tried it
once and just watched all that money fly around. Plus the fact the
scroll saw lives in the garage, and the jewelers saw lives in the air
conditioned studio, it was an easy choice to make. :0

best regards,
Kelley Dragon

true about silver getting everywhere…

but they make dust collection for scroll saws (or you could use a
small cheap vacuum)

and the kerf of a scroll saw is WAY smaller than bandsaw, so it will
always have less waste

I would echo another respondent’s suggestion to use a scroll saw. If
you choose this route, look for one that uses plain-end (versus
pin-end) blades, as you will be able to use your favorite jeweler’s
saw blades.


Hi Liz,

Yes a woodworking bandsaw works great for cutting sterling, brass
copper. I use it all the time. You should not cut metal that is too
thin with it, I usually don’t go thinner than 18 gauge. Also be
aware though that it will not cut as precise as cutting with a
jewelers saw, even when you get handy at it. I use it a lot for
thicker material as well, up to 3/8", that is where it really saves
you time.

Hope this helps.

The comments on the excessive length of bandsaw blades are useful -
(that is - “length” meaning distance from front of tooth to back of
blade) but it all depends upon what radius curves you want to cut.
Large radii are OK. That said, a bandsaw, if made to run slowly
enough, with a very narrow blade and fine enough teeth, might be
useful. It cannot, of course do piercing cuts. I have not tried one
except on larger-than-jewelry size work.

Scroll saws have been suggested. I tried that and found it not worth
the trouble. My experience with a small scroll saw (Rockwell) I
bought has not been good. Holding work down against the upstroke of
the blade is difficult. A very firm and rigid mechanical hold-down
is required rather than the springy hold-down supplied with most
such machines. Yet you still require the workpiece to be held
loosely enough to feed it through - not easy to do. The hold-down
must be easily adjustable to accommodate different thickness of
workpieces yet absolutely firm against upstroke forces when set. The
hold-down can obstruct your view of the work if the opening in it is
too small but it can be ineffective if the opening is large enough
to see the work easily. Inevitably there will be situations where
only one side of the cut is secured while the other side is free to
be bent and may be pulled up just a bit, thus quickly binding the
blade on an upstroke. Also - scroll saws typically have very short
strokes - thus only a very small number of the teeth are actually
used, resulting in relatively quick wear and dulling of the few
teeth in use.

Marty in Victoria, where life is up and down, but we are down to the
short strokes building our new house and studio.

If you really need to cut a lot of jewelry metal and would like to do
it with mechanical help, look at the Bonny Doon electric saw. It
works beautifully. It uses regular jeweler’s saw blades, and stops
when a blade breaks so you don’t get hurt. You can cut enormous
amounts of metal, easily pierce and generally turn your one
man/woman shop into a far more productive one. It cuts dies too.

It isn’t cheap but it is made for our kind of work.

Judy Hoch

Oh dear! When I recommended the mechanical jewelers saw, I used the
original name of the manufacturer - Bonny Doon. The Bonny Doon press
business was split off from Lee Marshall’s shop some time ago.

The business that makes the motorized jewelers saw is KnewConcepts.
They sell the saw directly at

They are one and the same the inventors and manufacturers of the
fabulous red saw that I love.

All the Knewconcepts saws are also available from RioGrande.
Judy Hoch

Proxxon makes a unique scroll saw that lets you use 1/3, 2/'3 or the
full height of a blade. It also has a height-adjustable roller
support for the rear of the blade. Using very short blades and rear
support, the stiffness of the blade system and hence the ability to
create accurate shapes in thin metal is excellent. It’s not one of
their full-size scroll saws, it’s the Proxxon 37088 (DS 115/E) or in
220 volt countries the 27088 (DS 230/E). Very small footprint on the
bench, variable speed, vacuum attachment is good at scavenging the
metal from the fine kerf.

And as an earlier poster noted, it accepts plain-end blades, so you
can use pieces of your favorite jeweler’s sawblades.

Mark Bingham
Fourth Axis