Thursday, 26 March 2015

Testing Skill with Blade

I Want to Make a Celtic Knot — Boy, It's Hard to Cut This

I have been trying to create a Celtic Knot pattern in sterling silver. Not so very easy. To start, you glue a paper pattern to a strip of sterling sheet. Next drill an access hole in each and every area that will be cut away. Next, begin the cutting process (properly known in jewelry as piercing).

Making a Start - Insert the Blade

You can see my plan is for a pendant and a pair of earrings. You can also see that there is a lot of drilling and piercing involved.

The very fine blade you see in this photo is held in a frame and, to cut the openwork areas, you free one end of the blade and insert it through one of your drilled areas. Be sure to insert it so that the pattern will be on top when you go to start sawing. I cannot tell you how many times I have had to free the blade and re-insert it the other way around! Once the blade is in place, you begin sawing — very carefully. Warning, if you try to rush it, you will lose control and get way off pattern...


You might break the blade. This happens a lot when you first start piercing. I used to go through blades at a frightening rate. With practice, I have gotten much better (and my blade budget is no longer huge!).

I think everyone has to find their own way to hold a saw frame. I used to have a death grip on the poor thing but I have learned to relax with it. Most of the time, I only close the bottom three fingers (softly) around the blade and let my index finger point forward. That position seems to help me be more accurate (and less destructive).

Tools for the Job

Here is the pendant, paper still in place, with one of the earrings (slightly smaller) and the drill and saw used for the process.

Once I burned that paper off, I was not thrilled with the cut. It's way better than I could have done a few years ago but the thickness of my silver does vary. I'm now a bit nervous about tackling the earrings!