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Get to Know Your Hand Tools – Tube-Cutting Jig By Helen I. Driggs
by Judy Ellis, Wirejewelry.com
Wire Jewelry Tip for August 4th, 2017
Get to Know Your Hand Tools – Tube-Cutting Jig
by Helen I. Driggs
A tube-cutting jig is an extraordinarily useful tool for sawing perfectly straight and perpendicular cuts in wire, tubing, and rod. Most models are hand-held, some can be mounted in a bench vise. The best ones allow you to also saw tubing at an angle, usually 45-degrees. Any tube cutting jig allows you to hold and saw metal up to about 3/8″ in diameter, and if you “set” the sliding end stop with the locking screw, you can also cut repeat, same-size sections from now until doomsday, by sawing, sliding, and sawing again. Some jigs also include a millimeter rule for measuring.
How to use a tube-cutting jig
To use the tool, insert the tube, wire or rod into the V-slot of the jig. Flip the pivoting clamp down on the tube to hold it with your thumb and also secure the sliding stop with the screw. Then, insert the jeweler’s saw blade into the slot and gently saw through the tube.
What to look for when buying a jig
- It’s always best to purchase a hardened steel tool, especially when you will be sawing while using it. Make sure the thumb-screw and slot are secure and sturdy — they will see a lot of use. I prefer a jig with an uncoated handle, because I don’t like the feel of plastic or a plastic coating.
- Always box up your jig and store it in a safe place when you aren’t using it because dropping it can throw it out of alignment, or bend the sliding bar.
- Saw tubing with a thinner blade than you think you might need — remember, it’s hollow. If your blade binds as you saw, it is probably too thick for the job. Wire can be sawn with a thicker blade.
HELEN I. DRIGGS is an experienced metalsmith, lapidary and studio jewelry instructor and has appeared in 6 instructional jewelry technique videos. Her book, The Jewelry Maker’s Field Guide was published in 2013.