Ask an Expert: Ten Essential Jewelry Sawing Tips


It matters not what type of jewelry you make, someday you may need to saw something out. We highly recommend you watch John Sartin’s Wubbers tutorial on Sawing and Drilling. John shares many techniques, which will make sawing much easier.


In addition, we would like to add some tips from some of our other teachers:

  1. A sawblade only cuts in one direction. Insert your sawblade with the teeth pointing down, like the Christmas trees we all drew as kids, and with the teeth facing out.
  2. Once you decide on which brand you want, buy a gross.
  3. The charts that are published by tool companies are not always “The Law”. Make sure you have a minimum of 2-3 teeth on metal at all times. I like using a 4/0, and I never change the blades I use. I just always buy 4/0 and they work for everything I do. I do a lot of curves, so a thin sawblade works best.
  4. Always keep your saw vertical, at a 90% angle to the metal. There is more of a chance of getting the sawblade stuck in the metal if you have it angled. That being said, if you want to cut a perfectly straight line, tilt the sawblade forward a bit.
  5. You can cut best by only using 3 fingers on the saw handle. Try it. If you have a white knuckle grip on the saw, you will break blades. Also, hold your metal loosely. You don’t have to hold it tightly with your fingers.
  6. Always use a lubricant, BurLife, beeswax or even machine oil will help lubricate the blade and keep it cool.
  7. Some teachers prefer putting the lubricant on the back of the blade instead of the front, it’s really a matter of preference, front or back works fine. It’s whatever works easiest for you.
  8. Sawblades start with #8, which is very thick, and move finer as the number gets lower, but once past “0”, they get finer as the number gets higher. I know, it can be confusing, it’s jut something we have to live with. So a #8 is very course, but a #8/0 is very, very fine. When ordering online or over the phone, you must really pay close attention to ordering sawblades for that reason.
  9. I learned this from my friend, Robert Dancik. As we know, the first cut on a sheet of metal can be frustrating, but if you go in at an angle, it’s a piece of cake. Start at an angle and then straighten up the cut.
  10. When working in gold, use the thinnest sawblade you can. It will leave a much narrower kerf, which is the path the sawblade leaves in metal.

If you haven’t yet, be sure to read our earlier post on how to choose a jewelry saw.

Do you have any sawing tips or questions about sawing?  Please leave me a comment, I’d love to hear.

Lexi Erickson, President of Wubbers University, is an internationally-known artist and teacher based in Denver, CO.  

Posted in Jewelry Tips, Lexi Erickson, Sawing
3 comments on “Ask an Expert: Ten Essential Jewelry Sawing Tips
  1. Karenns44 says:

    Good – read carefully. He uses a #4 saw blade for all his work

  2. ceydonia says:

    I actually put Bur Life on the *back* of the metal I’m cutting. That way I’m not obscuring the pattern, or having to re-lube my blade. I also use a scribe to engrave the pattern first.

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