Sawing out tiny things…

I meant to post this months ago, really. Then something came up…then more and before I knew it – blog fell by the wayside. Especially this post. It was pretty photo intensive and I kept getting interrupted blah blah blah…

Then my laptop screen turned this hideous shade of pink and 1-2 months later and just DAYS after my warranty expired, Toshiba calls it “out of warranty” issues and it will only cost me <cough> 600.00 and some change to repair a crappy laptop screen.

Since it died, my photos pertaining to this blog post are on that hard drive and so…this blog post has no photos. Sorry 😦

So, you get to do something exciting!! Use your imagination, google all the things I write about and learn more 🙂


A few months ago last year I fell in love with the Green Lion jewelry saw.  Green Lion Saw

I loved that it didn’t knock into the bench pin when I used it and the finger knobby things were reversible.

I love that it felt GOOD in my hand. There’s a balance there, not present in my German saws.

The only thing I don’t like about it is that it’s a fixed saw. meaning, if the blade breaks, the saw frame can’t be adjusted to accommodate a shorter blade. Bummer.

But it’s still my go-to saw for tiny things, because…balance.

I go through these binges of creating. Sometimes it’s all I want to do, bead up some tree of life agate art or other copper art I make. Sometimes it’s the medical alert bracelets. Sometimes the stacker rings. Then the following week, I bring out all the parts to make those complicated “I love you to the moon and back” necklaces I love making.

Other weeks, it’s the spinner rings…always with the spinner rings. I love making spinner rings. There’s a swelling of pride that comes up from inside that I’ve done a good job when the ring looks good and the spinner(s) spin like crazy.

I have “bright shiny things” as many artists and makers do. I flit like a hummingbird from one topic to another in conversation with passionate energy….I do the same thing with making my jewelry and art.

Then I burn out and don’t want to make whatever it is that I binged created. And I move on to the next cycle of creating.

Maybe it’s being a Gemini. Maybe it’s the restless nature of being an artist. Maybe it’s some unquieted place in my mind left over from being 5 years old that says “OHMYGOD THIS IS FUN WHAT’S NEXT!!!???!!! and I plow through one project after another.

Back to the Green Lion jewelers saw.

It’s balanced. It feels “sure” in my hand. It has some weight in the handle that helps me keep the saw blade straight, because…sawing out tiny things takes a 6/0 or an 8/0 blade and damn, those blades are THIN. If I don’t keep the blade straight and true while sawing out the tiny things, the blade snaps and the “oh crap” flies out of my mouth. I have to remove the two pieces that are left in the top and bottom thumb screw and drag my happy ass to the floor with a flashlight and magnet and search for the middle piece…that somehow flings itself into the weirdest spots (between my girls once, my hair, another time)

Why do I use such a tiny blade? An 6/0 and an 8/0 are tiny, very thin blades. Really meant for thin 24/26 gauge metal.

I use the tiny blade because I like how the line is smaller, more petite. The saw lines on the side of my piece are not as prominent…and easier for me to clean up.

I also like how the corners turn when I’m using a 6/0 blade.

I use my thin blades on 18-20 g. Don’t judge! It works for me. Thank God that I believe in more that one way up the mountain or I’d be stuck using a size 1 blade <meh> You can read about blades in Rio’s blog here Rio’s blog on jewelers saws and blades

Gauges and sizes and saws! Oh my!

Back to tiny things.

I get into the mode of “let’s do something challenging” and sawing out tiny things are challenging. The preciseness of the cut in a birds wings, for example. Oy! Those turns are wicked if you don’t lube up your blade before a turn!

I get into the mode of sawing out tiny things when I’m in a quiet and thoughtful “zen” place. Sawing mode is not the same mode as, say…”Hammer all the things!” mode.

Nope. Not even close!

“Hammer all the things!” mode is for those AC/DC, Aerosmith, Bruce Springsteen music days.

Sawing is zen, solitude and introspective mode. What music for sawing? Lately it’s been Peter Kater (again) and Jessie Cook. Otherwise, it’s normally this rad mix I’ve got on Pandora.

I got this stamp recently from a stamp maker and I’m just in love with this tiny bird stamp. It’s so delicate, so free and so … damn well made. It’s got the details I crave and the holy grail of hand stampers…clarity.

Here’s her Etsy shop. There’s usually a wait and it’s well worth it! York Avenue Studio

You’ll have to get behind me for the pine tree though, I have first dibs.

The fact that it’s from another artisan, who obviously takes great pride in her craft just simply…kicks ass for me. It takes what we do up a notch. I appreciate other artists who take the time and the care to make a good product.

My tip of the day with hand stamping to my 2k people that are following my blog <snicker> is this.

Use electricians tape, it’s cheaper than the stuff they try to sell you in the craft stores.

Oh, you haven’t heard of tape for hand stamping?

Allow me to introduce you to your new best friend in hand stamping…

Straight lines.

It’s up to you to get the TAPE line straight (I use my pointy tool or calipers) but the tape keeps the stamp straight and right where you want it.

Electrical tape is abundantly found at yard sales, at least here in Oregon. Some guys must forget they have like 23 rolls and go out and buy another roll. Then, when he has a yard sale…there’s 24 rolls for 3.00 or some wild thing. True for painters tape too. So save yourself some money and think outside the box (save the money from the tape and buy more stamps…shhh don’t tell hubby I said that!) 😉

I bring the bottom of the stamp down to the edge of the tape and tilt tap it in all 4 directions to get a clear impression. It helps to have a good solid surface so there’s no bouncing.

It takes some practice and today, a few years into it, I still get double strikes… which CAN be cool but for the most part make me a potty mouth.

The side to side spacing just takes practice, which is why I have a huge pile of scrap copper, right? 🙂

So, treat yourself to a Green Lion saw, invest in some 6/0 jewelers saw blades and cut out tiny things. It is a wonderful way to get “unstuck” if you’ve been in a creative rut. Just stamp a tree onto a scrap piece of metal (silver is a dream, copper needs more lubrication and clogs up the blades more) and saw around the edges.

And have fun, because life is too short to do anything but.





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