Saw frames. They're one of those tools that have always been around. Have you ever given them much thought? At first glance, one looks very similar to the next. But, there are several features that you should consider before purchasing a saw. Whether you're new to sawing or you're a seasoned pro, there are several options for you to choose from; here are some terminology and descriptions that will help simplify your decision:
Throat depth is the measurement from the handle of the frame to the back of the frame. When selecting the throat depth, consider the size of the material you'll be working with. The depth needs to be long enough to accommodate the width of your sheet, but it shouldn't be deeper than necessary. Remember that the deeper the frame, the more flex it will have. And the more the frame flexes, the more broken blades you'll have.
Frames that are adjustable help you make minor adjustments to the blade's tension. Typically, most jewelers use the frame adjustment as a secondary way of adding tension to the saw blade.
There are several styles of blade holders or clamps. One of the most common is a serrated clamp. The inside edges of the clamps are serrated to achieve a good grip on the blade. The clamps are held tightly with wing nuts. Our Swiss adjustable saw frames feature a patented blade-locking system. The saw blades are inserted into holes at the top and bottom of the frame. The locking nuts on the outside of the frame screw in and hold the blade tight and true.
The Knew Concepts saws have a blade holder with a tensioning system built in. The blades are inserted into the blade holes and tightened down with thumbscrews. At the top of the frame, there is an adjustment knob that is used to give your saw blade the exact tension you need; recent models include a cam lever for even easier use. The blade holder and tensioning system is perfect for anyone who does a lot of sawing and piercing. In the following video, Mark Nelson explains how how to easily and effectively install or change the saw blades in your Knew Concept hand saw frames.
Most frames are built from lightweight steel, with the exception of the Knew Concepts saws, which are made with hardened aluminum or titanium. Handle styles can also vary. Contoured wooden handles as well as non-slip rubber grips are common. When considering weight and handle style, think about how much you will be using your saw on a daily or weekly basis. If it's for occasional use, an economy or standard frame will work fine. If you are at your bench every day, or if you do a lot of piercing, a lightweight frame is a great choice.
One of the best ways to help you decide which saw frame is for you is to ask other jewelers which styles they prefer and why. Another fantastic way to see what's working for others is to read reviews. And if you already have your favorite saw frame, be sure to write a review to share your experience and wisdom with your fellow jewelers.