Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Jewelry School Adventures - Sawing

I am continuing with another class at Jewelry Studies International. The topic of the week is Sawing & Setting. While I've got beginner sawing skills, I thought a week of intensive practice would be just the ticket to confidence to tackle any idea I might conceive.

The first day of sawing involved several practice pieces, first in copper and then in brass. We learned to mark patterns by gluing on a paper template, transferring the toner image via acetone, and scribing for precision. We also learned to cut and file edges to make a woven illusion.

Many hours of sawing later, my poor left arm (the holding side) was complaining, but I was improving. A major transition occurred when I reversed the direction that I cut from clockwise to counterclockwise.

On the second day, we graduated to Argentium sterling, which cuts like butter. The tiny piercings in these Celtic knot work earrings are so small that it's almost impossible to file, so the objective was to cut so cleanly with the 6/0 blade that clean up would be unnecessary. Failing that, we used the saw blade itself to file the inside edges. Then we roller printed copper for a background piece, and I went my own direction rather than cut the plain triangular pieces. I now understand why I should buy highest quality saw blades by the gross!