While many jewelers work directly in precious metals, many also work with wax, carving models for casting in silver and gold. Working with wax often requires tools specialized for carving, sawing, filing, and finishing material that is softer than metal. However, several tools typically used on metal can be adapted for use on soft materials.
For example, a jeweler’s saw blade can be easily adjusted for optimum use on wax. When cutting softer materials such as wax or plastic, it is often helpful to use a blade that cuts in all directions, with teeth spiraling around instead of in a line like on standard blades. This makes it easier to cut in any direction at any time, rather than being limited to only cutting forward.
To modify a typical jeweler’s saw blade, carefully anneal it as you twist it. Anchor one end in a vise and hold the other end in a pin vise, with the blade horizontal. Begin heating the saw blade and as the metal becomes red hot, twist the blade in the pin vise until there are about five twists per inch in the blade.
While the blade will no longer be hardened steel or suitable for cutting metal, it will still be strong enough to rip through wax in any direction. And, when carefully aligned with a surface, it can also act as a file, scraping off small amounts of material in a controlled way.