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Tips on Cutting Sheet Silver For Jewellery Making

At its most basic level, sheet silver is cut after a design has been created and fixed onto it. Some craftsmen simply attach the design sheet using scotch tape, others prefer a rubber adhesive; either method ensures that the design is easy to follow, which can be extremely important where intricate designs are concerned.

When cutting the silver sheet, it needs to be supported and allow access to the design at the same time. A bench peg can be used to support the sheet whilst cutting.

The most popular tool for cutting sheet silver is a jeweller's saw. It is vital that you use the size of saw-blade that is appropriate to the thickness of your silver. The blade is quantified by the number of teeth it sports per inch; the more teeth a blade has, the finer it is. Finer blades are used for cutting thinner sheets and for more intricate work. The blade must have a good degree of tension on it when it is inserted into the saw frame. A simple method of testing the saw's tension is to give the blade a light pull and release it; a 'ping' tells you that there should be sufficient tension to begin cutting.

When it comes to inserting the blade the direction of the teeth, should be facing the handle of the saw frame. To make the first cut, it may be necessary to make a hole in the 'negative space' of the design, using a jeweller's drill. This allows the design to be accessed more easily.

When sawing sheet silver, you should keep the angle of the saw straight and use long, easy strokes as opposed to short, quick ones. Looking ahead of the blade to the coming curves and lines of the design can also help to reduce mistakes.

In order to make cutting a silver sheet as smooth as possible, the saw blade must be maintained; waxing the blade with beeswax helps to reduce the friction involved. Although the jeweller's saw is the most widely-used tool for cutting sheet silver, there are others available, such as metal snips and jeweller's shears. These act much the same way as a pair of scissors and are ideal for cutting thinner pieces of sheet.

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