What size of jewelers saw blades to purchase?

How do I know what size blade to purchase? I will be cutting
jumprings out of different wire gauges. Do you need a different size
saw blade for each wire gauge?

Tamara Wright

Hi Tamara,

How do I know what size blade to purchase? I will be cutting
jumprings out of different wire gauges. Do you need a different
size saw blade for each wire gauge 

The number of the saw blade being used really depends on the gauge
of the wire being cut. For cutting ease with a hand powered saw there
should be at least 2 teeth in contact with the metal at all times.

If you are making chain, rings will be above 20 ga most of the time.
This would call for a # 0 or smaller (2/0 - 8/0) blade. The #0 or
smaller blades can be used on larger gauges as well.

Another thing that helps when cutting a coil by hand is to keep the
coil secured to a solid surface. Placing the coil in about a 1/8"
wide slot cut in the center of the 1 1/2" dimension of a 1 1/2" x
3/4" x 3" piece of wood helps. Place the coil flush with 1 end of the
block of wood, then wrap apiece of masking tape around the coil & the
block for about 1". Holding the block close to the edge of a table or
bench, tip it up so the block is about 45 deg to the table/bench &
start cutting the top of the coil. When you find it hard to keep from
cutting the bottom of the coil, stop. Remove the masking tape, move
the coil down so it’s flush with the end & wrap with tape again.
Begin cutting as before. Repeat this procedure until all or enough of
the coil is cut.


Tamara -

After wrestling with the ‘right’ size blades for years (the ones
everyone said I should use), I found I work best with a 6/0 blade for
everything. I have done delicate tracery out of 28g sheet worked my
way through double-thickness of 20g sterling, and cut out a sturdy
design from 16g sheet, all with minimal blade breakage.

The ‘right’ blade will have at least 3 teeth in the metal at all
times. Problem is, I can’t drive the saw once I go to thicker
gauges. I try to start the cut and the blade jumps and skitters
across the edge of the metal. Maybe there’s something wrong with my
wrists or fingers, but I fight with blades bigger than 6/0.

I give classes in my shop, and one of them is all about the jewelers
saw. I have my students use the same blade and they love it (women &
men). Most of them have a smidge of experience with the saw and they
are gunshy. It’s due to the effect of the larger blades.

I’ve conducted a series of tests for myself where I cut a
double-thickness of 20g sheet using a #1, a 2/0, 6/0 and 8/0 blade.
I broke all the 8/0, fought withe the 2/0 and gave up on the #1.

I thread my blades quite tight, maybe that’s what helps me. I feel
like the blade slices through metal like butter, it can practically
turn in its own width, and I can cut as fast or faster with it than
I can using other sizes. Though I cut most of my jumprings with a
circular saw attachment to my #30 handpiece, when I want jumprings
RIGHT NOW I use the saw with no problem. Talk about a narrow kerf!

My experience (and my students’); YMMV.

best regards,
Kelley Dragon

Tamara, Please see the attached chart which is part of a class paper
I give to all my students. It applies to whatever you are sawing,
sheet or wire etc., and should answer your question. Cheers, Don.

REMEMBER: Sawing off a piece of metal saves precious metal for other
uses or to melt down and remake into plate or wire. Filing or sanding
the metal results in a pile of metal dust good only to a refiner

 B&S Gauge       Blade size      Drill size for piercing

 26 plus         8/0             80
 24-26           7/0             80
 24              6/0             79
 22-24           5/0             78
 22              4/0 or 3/0      77 or 76
 20-22           2/0             75
 18-22           1/0             73
 20/22           0               72
 18-20           1               71
 16-18           2, 3, 4         70, 68, 67
 16              5               65
 14              6               58
 12              7 or 8          57 or 55

Think of blade size as a cross ? with 0 at the center of the cross.
Single digit blades ( 0 through 8) are coarse cut and all above the
cross bar while -/0 digit blades (1/0 through 8/0) are fine cut and
all below the cross bar.

I would use 8/0 or 6/0 sawblades for this application. The reason is
the smaller teeth will cut easier and you will have less loss of
material. In selecting sawblades you always want more than one tooth
of blade for the thickness of the metal. Otherwise they will catch on
the metal sheet. For example, an 18 gauge sheet, 1mm thick, you could
use 4/0 the average blade size. You could use 2/0 as well. But if you
are on 30 gauge sheet you want more teeth in the blade so move to 6/0
or 8/0. It also depends on your application such as jump rings or
sheet scroll cutting, etc. If you have a lot of breakage in the
blades it is either too tight or too loose in the saw frame.

Good Luck,
Russ Hyder

Hi Tamara,

Contenti has some great charts, including a Saw Blade & Drill Size
Chart. Check out the Resources link…

Pam Farren
Newburyport, MA

I am a lot more familiar with circular blades but in general my
company uses blade with a 1.75" diameter, 160 teeth and thickness
0.008 for wire 0.032" and smaller and 0.010" for larger wire.

We use these blades in connection with some fancy computer
controlled jump ring making equipment but with a bit more work you
get the same effect with any motor powered saw cutting set up.

For the classic hand jewellers saw the rule of thumb is you should
have a min of 2 teeth per wire diameter and you buy blades by teeth
per inch and the thickness of the blade just works itself out. I
likely have a list of what blade numbers go with what wire gauge
someone if anyone is interested. I tried cutting jumprings using the
handsaw just for the experience and came to the conclusion it was not
exactly a cost effective way to make a jumprings :slight_smile:

Jon Daniels
The Ring Lord Chainmail

Jon, if I were making and selling jumprings on the scale you do
(thanks) I wouldn’t find it a very cost effective way to make
jumprings either. But before I got my Koil Kutter, when I was in the
middle of a design and realized I didn’t have enough rings to
finish, saw cutting made an efficient if not easy way to cut those
extra rings I needed. Of course now I have a Koil Kutter so I can
eliminate the hand saw… At least for jump rings. :slight_smile:

MikiCat Designs

Speaking of sawing, Thanks for the tip. I love sawing intricate
patterns, and have always felt intuitively that I was fighting with
the 4/0 blade. It always felt gigantic, but I am relatively new to
jewelry making, so I thought It might be inexperience. I can’t wait
to try the 8/0. I make alot of earrings and rarely use any metal over
22- 20 gauge so I think it will work. I’d like to hear from those who
have tried intricate pattern with the Knew handheld saw, not the big
one or the electronic one. Also what are the best blades,any
opinions? One little segue, on the topic.

I have heard through friends who took a course with Chris Darway of a
wonderful new tool that is more portable, than a drill, for piercing
holes? They could not remember what it was, but believed it was made
in Rhodes Island. Does anybody know what this might be and where I
might get one?

Thanks for your input, Meryl

In answer to Meryl’s question about saw blades and Knew Concept saw
frames. I am surprised that you find the 4/0 size saw blades
gigantic for cutting 20 -22 gauge metals. Over here in the UK we use
metric sizes and if I am

correct 20 - 22 gauge is the equivalent to 0.50mm. - 1mm. in
thickness. I use 4/0 or 6/0 size Glardon Vallorbe saw blades for
cutting 0.50mm. metals and for 1mm. thick I will use 3/0 or 2/0 size.
I will only use 8/0 size blades for metals between 0.25mm. and
0.40mm. I tested the Knew Concept saw frames for Lee Marshall earlier
this year and wrote a report on Orchid. Here is a repeat of what I
wrote if you missed it; Today is the day I will give one of Lee
Marshall’s saw frames a good workshop test. My project is to pierce a
design from a five inch diameter, bowl shaped spinning of silver. I a
used the five inch saw frame, loaded with a 4-0 size saw blade. My
design has at least eighty interior shaped holes to cut out and the
silver is G25 thick. It took a little time getting used to using the
new way of fitting and tensioning the saw blades, but I liked the
feel of the saw frame, it’s lightness was a surprise and with the
simple screw tensioning system I was able to give a higher than usual
tension to the saw blade. I felt confident that the blade would go
exactly where I aimed it also. I was piercing for nearly four hours
and I did not break a single saw blade in that time. so without going
on too much, I can feel confident in saying that the Knew Concept Saw
frames performed much better than I expected and I would also say
that they would make a valuable addition to most benchworker’s basic
tool kit. The attachment is a couple of photos of the item that I saw
pierced with the Knew Concept saw frame.

Peace and good health and happy piercing to all.
James Miller FIPG


The photos of your work stopped us dead in our lurking tracks!
Beautifully done, they are an inspiration to all who see them.

Ski & Cathy
Rocks to Gems