by Janet Alexander
In my first post, I mentioned some fabrication skills to consider when making metal clay jewelry. One of these is using a jeweler’s saw for cutting out negative space or open areas in your clay instead of using a file. Here's how it's done.
I have a piece of dry (unfired) sterling silver PMC. I want to cut an opening in the center. First, I drill a small hole in the area I want cut out.
I take the drill bit and twirl it between my fingers until it drills through the clay. You can put the drill into a small pin vise for more control while drilling. Do not apply pressure to the drill bit; the bit should automatically cut into the clay.
I then string my saw blade (# 03) through the hole with the design facing upward.
I have a 7-part video on how to use the jeweler’s saw on YouTube.
Once the area is cut out, I file it smooth with a needle file. I use a needle file that is the same shape of the area I am filing. Since I need to get into sharp corners for this piece, I am using a triangular file.
Make sure you are supporting the dry clay as much as possible so that it doesn’t break. Notice how I have four fingers supporting it while I file! Additionally, my fingers are against the bench pin so that they don’t move. I use short strokes while filing the opening smooth. Sometimes I move the file sideways, removing the ridges.
Cutting areas out using a jeweler’s saw saves a lot of time. Had I used a file it would have taken me a lot longer. If you have any questions please post them and I will do my best to answer them.