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What is your opinion on the best Jewelers Saw

blockquote, div.yahoo_quoted { margin-left: 0 !important; border-left:1px #715FFA solid !important; padding-left:1ex !important; background-color:white !important; } Wish I had been next in line for that treasure!Cheers,Karen

I could never get used to the Knew Concepts frame, it was something about dialing in the tension and going to different saw blade manufacturers that didn’t work for me. Perhaps some day I will give it a try again.

Additionally, I’ve used fixed length Swiss as well and find that the blades often slip out. My go to and favorite is the plain ole German Saw frame.

Speaking of saw frames, look at the historical jewelry and one can easily be impressed by work that has been done by modest means. Can you imagine what jewelers had to go through before the luxury of stamped saw blades?

I say what’s ‘best’… is what’s best for you. Find other jewelers willing to let you try them all out and make up your own opinion.

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I used a traditional saw frame early on - being self-taught, I broke tons of blades for a long time. Later on I started hand sawing my own steel blanking dies on a bench peg at the correctly calculated angle and keeping my saw perfectly vertical by eye/hand. This was quite tricky because I had to saw in one direction only and if the blade broke I had to feed a new one through the angled cut and then re-tension in the frame. I decided to try the Knew saw - wow! It made such a difference to both accuracy (admittedly my old frame was a cheap beginners one) and the number of breakages.

I agree with those saying it is personal choice, but my experience of the Knew saw has been exceptional.

Hope santa brings you what you want!
Annie

HI gang,

Lee and I are both very glad that (with a few notable exceptions) people seem to really like the saws. It’s been a long road.

One piece of advice, speaking as a former benchie, is that you really want the lever version. We keep the original screw design around for the students, but in terms of time, for a professional jeweler, you can’t afford the time to fuss with it.
The lever is so much easier to tension that it’ll pay for itself in days. The 45 swivel version has some neat tricks it can play, in terms of not smacking yourself in the face with the frame when wearing an optivisor, or cutting into a larger sheet, but neat tricks are not the same level of ‘need’ as the lever. The swivel version really started out for the woodworking market. There are things they do that require it, but it’s on the ‘neat trick’ level for jewelers.

One thing to keep in mind is that we are constantly improving the saws, based on what we hear back from people. The lever came about because of a request from Jim Miller and others, back in the mists of time. (?2010?). I’ve tweaked the design of the lever guide on the frame at least 3 times to make it stronger & easier to use. The individual changes aren’t anything you’d notice unless you held up an early saw next to a current one, but they are there.

Some of it comes from expanded machine capacity. When we started, with the original saws with the spring, we were hand machining the clamps, one-at-a-time on a manual lathe. (that’s now in my garage) Then we moved to a CNC mill, which was a radical improvement, and then on to a CNC lathe that’s like something out of Star Trek. Our ability to tweak the design took a quantum jump each time we changed machines, but we had to build the business to the point where we could pay for the neat toys first, before we could do that. (Yes, they really are made in the US, by people you know.) Even if we’d known exactly what the ‘final’ saw would end up looking like when we started, we didn’t have the gear needed to make the current design. (and couldn’t have afforded it anyway)

By way of example, on the early saws, there was no countersink to guide the blade into the hole. It was a manual lathe, and we just couldn’t keep swapping the drill out for a countersink every time we made a clamp. As soon as we had a CNC with a tool changer that could swap tools, that was the first thing I added in, to make threading the blade easier. There was no way on earth we could have done the swivel blade clamps or the lever until we had the CNC mill, and the things that we can do now, with both the mill and the lathe will blow your mind. So keep an eye on the saws. They get better as we go along.
This isn’t to say that we change things just for fun, we don’t. But Lee and I have both always said that the way we sleep at night is to know that we’re always building the best saw we know how to build, today. If we get better, they get better. And we are getting better.

Regards,
Brian Meek
Knew Concepts

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I love my Green Lion saw. Bought it because I thought it was beautiful, but was amazed at the difference it makes in my sawing ability.

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I have what I now know is an early version of the Knew saw with the screws and have experienced the same problems others have mentioned like the end breaking off or not seating easily. I thought it was a problem with my technique that I would overcome as my use of the saw increased. But that hasn’t happened. Good to hear that the saw has improved as the technology to manufacture it has changed.

I’m wondering, can the older versions be retrofitted? Or maybe implement a trade-up program? Alternatively I suppose I can sell it on Craigslist and let the buyer beware. I guess this is a case where being an early adopter didn’t work well for me.

Nancy Arnold
Missoula

HI Nancy, (et al)

Funny you should mention breaking the ends of the blades off.
I found one of our trade-show displays last weekend, and was moved to do a quick little video showing what the guts of the clamp look like. I also talk about what has to have happened before the clamp is physically set up to be able to nip the end off a blade.
The short form is that your anvil screw is out too far. All you need to do is find a 5/64 allen wrench, and screw it in a bit. (“A bit” is defined as whatever distance will cause the blade to be grabbed in the middle of the blade hole in the clamp. ) You’ll probably have to back out the knob a bit first. Back out the knob 2-3 turns, and then come in a turn with the anvil screw. Put a blade in, and come in with the clamp. If the clamp grabs tight with the blade centered in the hole, you’re done. If not, adjust until it does. You may end up playing the two screws off against each other to get the blade centered in the hole, but that’s the goal.
A bit of blue loctite once you get it located might not be a bad idea. We don’t do that as we build them because some people use much heavier blades than others, so “center” can vary, depending on blade size. For most jewelers, it’s not such a big difference between sizes, so you can loctite them with no concerns. Just use a large(ish) blade to center with. (like a #3, not a 3/0)

If you still have trouble after adjusting the clamps, drop me a line directly, and I’ll give you a hand with it.
There is a retrofit service for the old saws that’ll add a lever. (No swivels, they won’t fit.) Also gets you new clamps, so that may be a way to go. (only on knewconcepts.com)

Regards,
Brian Meek
Knew Concepts

The video is here:

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Hi Brian,
Interesting reply re your saw making history.
As you know from previous emails with you, I very rarely saw anything, which is fine if your making one offs, but for example ive an order for some 800 sterling gilt buttons currently in progress and use a power press to blank out the rounds. Next there drop stamped in a tool steel die. This is fast , can do 100 an hour. Then the omegas are silver brazed on the backs
For those who might be interested, I use a dental mechanics dental articulator to jig ths operation.
Back to saws,
Ive seen what is your saw in B/ham tool shops and wondered who had thought up this space frame design!.
Now in your last post you mention that the frame is from titanium, is that laser profiled? The ones ive seen are pink anodised? aluminium? I might just get a titanium one then polish it and fire oxidise it a lovely sky blue! just for me.!Then replace the handle with one I would turn up out of rosewood.
Could you make up the rest of the fittings in brass? not ali? for me? It would then put it on a par with the Marples ultimatum brace brass and rosewood ive in my wood working tool collection.
The earliest jewellers saw i have is a wrought iron one probably from around 1850 or so. Then a nice Valorbe from 1900.
Ted
Dorset UK

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Hi Ted,

The red ones are anodized aluminium. The titanium ones are grey, and are very distinctive looking, even if I do say so myself. (Being that I’m the sick b… who thought up that design. There’s a story there. A very long one…)
The Ti saws are called ‘birdcage’ saws, and once you see one, you’ll understand why. The spine is a 3D truss, welded up out of Ti.

Once every so often, I’ll do up an anodized one, for special orders. (Presentation versions. More expensive.)
Thermal works better than electrical. Or if you go with electrical, you have to be me. (Because you have to take out all the non Ti parts, like the rivets and the lever axle. And then put them all back in, which requires gear we have here. (Special upsetting die for the axle, for example.)) Actually, thermal fries the lever, so you’re stuck dealing with the lever axle no matter what, but at least you don’t have to pop the frame rivets.
We can’t do custom hardware, unfortunately. The big lathe doesn’t get out of bed for less than 1000 parts, so we’re limited to doing large runs of normal parts. Specials just aren’t in the cards, unless someone feels like doing them by hand. I’ll try to run a stick of brass through the next time I run saw clamps, but that’ll be a while.

On the other hand, there is a company called Elkhead Tools that does make some very nice hardwood and brass replacement handles for the saws. (fits either the aluminium or titanium saws, or the coping saw) Solid brass machined ferrule, plus beautifully turned hardwood handle. (The last ones I saw were ?Mesquite? I think? The first ones were Cocobolo.) They run $90-100 or so.
The woodworking tool market truly is an entirely different world than jewelry tools.
The only reason I don’t have one on my saw is that I’m allergic to cocobolo. (Amazing what allergies craft work can stick you with before you know to pay attention. Many hardwoods are contact sensitizers. I made a lot of knife handles with cocobolo when I was a student. Now I can’t touch it. )

I’ve got a test frame hanging around the office in blue, I’ll try to remember to get a snap of it. (It’s a junker. There’s no saving it, so I played. )

Regards,
Brian

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I do a lot (a LOT) of piercing, and I can saw with pretty much anything. So
I was really surprised when it turned out that my (early model) Knew
Concepts saw made the process even easier and more enjoyable. To me, it
felt like driving a BMW instead of a Chevy. Either one will get you where
you’re going, but, oh, the ride… What a pleasure!

I have a Green Lion too, and it works well but it’s just too heavy. Pretty,
though!

My one beef with the KC saw is that it takes me longer to release and
reinsert my blade, which I do a TON when piercing tiny openings. I do it
the old-fashioned way, just like with the old German frames, using my
sternum. Still, it’s slower than a plain ole clamp. Am I overlooking a
better method?

The titanium frame I used at Jim Binnion’s is too rigid to tension the
traditional way, but when I can justify spending some money I plan to get a
deep-throat titanium one. I don’t need it often, but my deep version of the
traditional saw is a real PITA.

And I do love a well-designed object.

P.S. Long ago, I had the problem of my saw twisting the ends off my blades,
and Brian told me how to adjust the anvil screw. Presto! Problem fixed. :slight_smile:

Noël

I have several Knew Concepts saws and a Green Lion made by BJ. I love them all for different reasons! I tend to use the heavier blades for thicker metals in the Green Lion, it has superb balance and does not feel all that heavy when working. Certainly its heavier than the KC but not so much as I wouldn’t use it. GL just feels good in the hand :slight_smile: I do a lot of piercing so I tend to keep the most used blades in a dedicated saw as I have a number of the old style German saws as well.

Aurora

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What is best for each person I think really comes down to personal preference. I first started out with a basic German saw but always felt it was awkward and a literal pain to tension. Looking for a more comfortable handle I later ordered one that looks like the Grobet. I am traveling so I can not check the make. It was not a great improvement for me. But both saws are sturdy and seemed well made. A few years later I developed Fybromyalgia so weight and comfort became a higher priority. When the KC saw came out I bought both a 3" and 5". I later added levers when a upgrade kit was offered. What a difference in weight, tensioning and maneuverability. Once I went through the learning curve and became comfortable with the ability to finely adjust the saw I have not experienced any problems with them. I now have arthritis in both hands and still very happy with these saws. Thanks Brian, it is nice to read the technical aspects of what goes into making KC saws.

Being a tool junkie, I looked into the Green Lion when it was introduced. But the tension method, large handle and being nearly twice the weight as the KC did not meet my particular requirements. But it is nice looking.

This is an interesting discussion, I see a lot of opinions about various saw frames and understand that not all ideas will suit all benchworkers. As for the Green Lion saw frame, when I first saw photos of it I had some doubts about it’s design as to it being useful to me. The first thing I don’t like is the curved piece that pokes out at the handle top, I think this would get in the way when I am piercing odd shapes. Then the other design difference I don’t like is the flat sided handle, I like a round handle as I often swivel my saw frames while piercing and I think a non round handle would be uncomfortable. Finally the curved frame body would restrict the depth of piercing that I could achieve, with a standard 5 inch deep frame I can pierce easily into a 5 inch depth of sheet. Some of my pierced items need me to have a comfortable saw frame so that I can easily rotate the frame and also I like them to be of light weight as some piercing jobs require me to be piercing in free air with very little bench peg support. Like when am piercing shapes like this cone, which was 8 inches wide.

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Wondering how long it took you to pierce one lamp James Miller - never mind TWO! Also wondering what the diameter of the shade is? Are they large lamps?

One can only hope to achieve such skill in our lifetime!
Aurora

Aurora, the lamp shades were 12 inches diameter,the took approximately 350 hours to complete. I was part of a team of craftsmen making these lamps which were a design by a friend of mine Ed.Evans, Ed made the lamp bodies and his son Simon enamelled the lamps.Over the years together we made up five different pairs of lamps. Here are two of Ed’s table lamps which we made together, each lamp was one of a pair and stood approx 16 inches tall.

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I just have to say this have been a great discussion and I really appreciate all of the input. I have learned a lot about saws and that is exactly what I was asking for. I think the reason I am looking for something better is I want the very high pitched “ping” of a tight saw blade, not a “twang”. But that seems to get more and more difficult to achieve with my current saw as I have to constantly adjust the blade length setting as the saw distorts under the pressure. I didn’t even think to release the pressure when I am not using it, and I assume that will help things out a bit. I still might have to add a new saw to my Christmas list though, I just have to decide exactly which one. Thanks everyone and happy sawing and piercing!

The lamps are absolutely breath-taking James; thank you for sharing! I think it would take me a lifetime to complete and it sure wouldn’t look like those! Probably more like Hobbit Wrought! :smiley:

Aurora

I am glad you like them Aurora, they now occupy places in the Sultan of Brunie’s palace, along with other pieces of our work. this was a set of lamps when turned on.

I release the tension on the blade (not remove) each time I hang it up for the day. The KC with a lever is plus when it comes to this as it is just a flip of the lever. My thinking is that this alleviates stress and aids the life of the blade. Shortly after switching to the KC saw I thought I was having a problem, the metal was not being removed when the blade was in action. It took me a few minutes to realize that the blade was dull. It was a foreign experience as I had always broke every blade using my previous saws. It may have been my skill level at the time but I rarely break a blade now unless I am not paying attention. I am sure I would have eventually stop breaking blades with my old saws but it was such a dramatic change right after switching.

My experience with the KC saw about 5 years ago was that it did not hold all or even most blades. Some were simply too short. Loading blades was so frustrating that I just gave up and consigned the frame to the draw of drawer of abandoned tools.
I imagine that this defect may have been remedied but my personal experience has left me disinclined to give it a try again.

Please excuse any typos-- curse my clumsy digits…

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