Fret Saw Blades

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David B
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Fret Saw Blades

Postby David B » Wed Aug 14, 2019 8:36 am

Could someone please explain the way fret and piercing saw blades are graded? I see references to 'size 6', 'size 2' and '4/0', but what do these mean in practical terms? I am used to 'teeth per inch' (tpi).

Whist we are at it, what type of blade is particularly useful for any particular job? For example, if one is cutting a frame out of thicker sheet, I presume a coarser blade would be used to cutting out a finer piece of work. Do modellers go for a particular 'size' of blade for a job? Does the material, brass, nickel silver or . . . make a difference?

Any recommended sources for blades?

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Paul Townsend
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Re: Fret Saw Blades

Postby Paul Townsend » Wed Aug 14, 2019 8:45 am

Not sure about fretsaw blades.
Piercing saw blades...used to be best supplier = Shesto, but now not good.
I still have a range of their sizes.

Cousins are good and tell you all about size codes etc.
https://www.cousinsuk.com/product/af-sw ... saw-blades

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John Bateson
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Re: Fret Saw Blades

Postby John Bateson » Wed Aug 14, 2019 10:14 am

"Anchor gold saw blades"

Available from all sorts of places - and in multipacks for differing teeth so you can experiment. Usually I just get the next one in the draw whatever it is but don't do anything complicated - a 3mm cut is about as far as I go.

about £5.99 for a gross from eBay

much more expensive from Amazon and the toy shops

John
Slaving away still on GCR stuff ...
Avoiding the soaps ...
http://www.greatcentralmodels.co.uk

Philip Hall
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Re: Fret Saw Blades

Postby Philip Hall » Wed Aug 14, 2019 10:43 am

I use a variety of sizes; the lower the number the coarser the pitch. I use between 4/0 and 6/0 for the thinnest sheet, 2/0 for heavier work. I actually have a couple of piercing saw frames by the bench; one with a coarse blade and another with a 5/0 or 6/0, so I can just grab the one appropriate at the time.

Philip

Tony Wilkins
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Re: Fret Saw Blades

Postby Tony Wilkins » Wed Aug 14, 2019 2:56 pm

As a general rule one should have at least 3 teeth in contact with the material being cut to avoid snagging, so the thinner the material, the finer the blade should be.
Regards
Tony.

martin goodall
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Re: Fret Saw Blades

Postby martin goodall » Wed Aug 14, 2019 3:23 pm

The other point is the angle of cut.

I don't know whether this works for piercing saw blades, but as a general rule it has always been may understanding that when cutting thin material the cut should not be at right angles to the material being cut, but that the saw blade should be held at an angle - the thinner the material, the more acute the angle of cut.

If I am wrong about this, and piercing saws should always cut at right-angles to the workpiece, then a finer blade is obviously needed for thinner material to avoid the blade snagging (and breaking).

[Irrelevant aside: When one of the coarser piercing saw blades breaks, I save it for use as a ratchet for those wagon handbrakes that had ratchets, as opposed to those that were pinned down.]

garethashenden
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Re: Fret Saw Blades

Postby garethashenden » Wed Aug 14, 2019 3:28 pm

I believe the sizes are from largest to smallest are: 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0, 1/0, 2/0, 3/0, 4/0, 5/0, 6/0.

Dave Searle
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Re: Fret Saw Blades

Postby Dave Searle » Wed Aug 14, 2019 3:48 pm

Squires quote down to 8/0
    8/0 (89 tpi)
    7/0 (84 tpi)
    6/0 (81 tpi)
    5/0 (71 tpi)
    4/0 (67 tpi)
    3/0 (60 tpi)
    2/0 (56 tpi)
    0 (52 tpi)
    1 (48 tpi)
    2 (44.5 tpi)
    3 (40.5 tpi)
    4 (38 tpi)
    5 (35.5 tpi)
    6 (34 tpi)
Cheers,
Dave

Terry Bendall
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Re: Fret Saw Blades

Postby Terry Bendall » Thu Aug 15, 2019 11:17 am

Tony Wilkins wrote:As a general rule one should have at least 3 teeth in contact


This is the correct method and the rule of three or more teeth in contact with the material being cut applies to any saw and any material.

martin goodall wrote:I don't know whether this works for piercing saw blades, but as a general rule it has always been may understanding that when cutting thin material the cut should not be at right angles to the material being cut, but that the saw blade should be held at an angle


This can work for some saws and it will work when using a piercing saw and is a good dodge if the blade is too coarse for the thickness of the metal being cut but only if straight cuts are needed. As soon as you want to cut a curve or turn a corner the blade must be at right angles to the work and it must have the correct pitch of teeth. (pitch is the distance from one tooth to the next) Doing anything different will break the blade. Work with a piercing saw can be done in a vice, but generally it is done with the metal held horizontally on a bench "peg" which is a piece of plywood or solid timber about 12 - 15mm thick that has a vee notch cut in it. Mine has a block of wood about 100mm x 50 mm which has a 25 mm hole near to one long edge to allow it to be clamped to the bench. I have another one which has a straight cut made with a tenon saw which supports both sides of the metal better. When cutting a curve the saw needs to be kept moving up and down for the whole of the cut whilst either the saw is directed around the curve, or the metal is rotated.

As with many other things, using a piercing saw is an acquired art that takes practice. The peg should be as high as possible so that the saw can be comfortably used in a vertical motion. This is why the traditional bench used by the silversmith and jewellery maker is quite high. There will be more on this in part 3 of my series of tools and scratch building but that will be a little way off.

Terry Bendall

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David B
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Re: Fret Saw Blades

Postby David B » Thu Aug 15, 2019 11:52 am

Many thanks for the useful replies. As it happens, this morning I finally got to see a copy of the latest MRJ (it takes time out here in the countryside) in which Trevor Hughes has written an article on scratch building. In it, he talks about (fret) sawing, normally with the saw vertical but at an angle for straight line cuts. He also refers to buying good quality Vallorbe blades from Cooksons, cheaper alternatives being more difficult to saw where he wanted the saw to go.

Enigma
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Re: Fret Saw Blades

Postby Enigma » Thu Aug 15, 2019 7:44 pm

I believe the angle of the teeth on a piercing saw blade should face the handle, the cut being made on the 'back' stroke.

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Flymo748
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Re: Fret Saw Blades

Postby Flymo748 » Thu Aug 15, 2019 8:43 pm

David B wrote:He also refers to buying good quality Vallorbe blades from Cooksons, cheaper alternatives being more difficult to saw where he wanted the saw to go.


I haven't read the article in MRJ yet (too many things in my life ahead of it) but there is one rule of thumb that I learned early on when using a piercing saw for modelling.

If you fit a new blade, and it starts wandering from a straight line when cutting, throw it away IMMEDIATELY!

No amount saved in the few pennies that you have spent on it will compensate for the frustration and materials wasted of trying to continue on cutting with something that simply won't do what you need it to do.

HTH
Flymo
Beware of Trains - occasional modelling in progress!
www.5522models.co.uk

decauville1126
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Re: Fret Saw Blades

Postby decauville1126 » Thu Aug 15, 2019 9:33 pm

I use Anchor brand and they are cheap enough when bought in bulk, ie: by the gross. Shop around as prices vary - I usually get mine from clock restorers suppliers.

And I echo the comment about chucking a blade immediately it goes off course. Even some Anchor ones I've binned! Reckon 5% wasted. I usually do a test cut on scrap with any new blade.

Terry Bendall
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Re: Fret Saw Blades

Postby Terry Bendall » Fri Aug 16, 2019 2:32 pm

Enigma wrote:

I believe the angle of the teeth on a piercing saw blade should face the handle, the cut being made on the 'back' stroke


Correct

Terry Bendall


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