Sawing Q and A

1. Click here to download the Sawing FAQ.

2. What is the correct blade size to use with sheet metal?

We have formulated a table to take the guess work out of saw blades and corresponding sheet metal gauges.
Sheet Metal
Corresponding Saw Blade
18 Gauge Sheet Metal
1 Cut
20 Gauge Sheet Metal 1 Cut
22 Gauge Sheet Metal 2 Cut
24 Gauge Sheet Metal The ideal blades for 24 gauge metal range between 2 cut and 4/0, depending on how fine you want your cut lines to be. A line from the 2 cut is thicker than a line from a 4/0


3. My saw blades keep breaking. What is causing the breakage, and how can I avoid it?

Any of the following may cause saw blades to break:
The saw blade is threaded incorrectly. When you pluck the blade, it should make a “pling” sound. For step-by-step instructions on threading a saw blade into a saw frame correctly, please follow the Setting Up the Saw Blade in the Saw Frame Technique.
Sufficient cut lube isn’t used. Cut lube is an essential element to the sawing process. It prevents the saw from sticking and enables a smooth cut. The saw isn’t held at the right angle. Hold the saw frame lightly in your hand while moving the saw frame up and down, keeping the blade at a 90-degree angle to the metal. Move forward in the metal while following your design. If the saw blade is not kept at a 90-degree angle, it will break. Remember that the blade is making a channel that is only as wide as the blade.
Cutting a curve with the blade. Sometimes a blade may snap when it is cutting around a curve or corner. Breakage can occur when you push the blade instead of pushing the metal. Refer to Steps 11 and 12 in the Sawing a Design Out of Sheet Metal Technique.

4. What is the purpose of cut lube?

Cut lube reduces friction, chatter and damaging heat. It aids in effortless cutting and ensures cleaner, easier cuts. It is imperative when sawing.

5. I cannot get into tight spaces with metal files. How should I smooth the edges in a tight area?

Thread a thin sliver of sanding paper into the saw frame as you would a saw blade. Use the saw normally to sand the edges of the sheet metal.

6. How can I achieve a highly polished finish on sheet metal without scratches?

First, make sure you are using emery sticks, not metal files. Emery sticks are for sanding the surface of metal, while metal files are for filing the edges of metal. Also, make sure you a sanding from a high grit to a low grit. Start with a 3 grit, and work down gradually towards 4/0 grit. Sand the entire piece thoroughly with each grit before moving to the next.

7. When applying a design to sheet metal, what is the benefit of using self-adhesive label paper instead of a scribe?

Self-adhesive label paper is helpful to those of us who may find it challenging to draw freehand.

8. I cannot seem to turn the metal around to cut sharp corners. What am I doing wrong?

Let your saw do the work for you. Move it up and down in one place and turn the metal while you do so. Refer to Steps 11 and 12 in the Sawing a Design Out of Sheet Metal Technique.

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