Dave Booth is a demon with a jewellers’ saw

Tonight I cut some spokes in one of my test wheels.  I was most interested to see if the wheel gets floppy if you take away most of the material in the centre to replace it with plastic.  It doesn’t.

But I tell you what: fretting out the spokes is hard work!  On this small wheel, it’s nearly impossible to get anything into the holes other than a jewellers’ saw.  Only the tip of my files will make it in there, making removal of material very difficult if the saw wasn’t on target.

Over on that excellent resource on wheel-making from the Manchester Model Railway Society, Dave Booth declares,

Six 4mm wheels in brass can be cut quite easily in one evening, without breaking a saw.

Well, I broke a saw making one reject of a wheel, and it took me all evening!  I can only conclude that Dave Booth, Sid Stubbs and probably everyone else in Manchester are fretsaw freaks, or perhaps they are possessed by some higher sawing power.

Hopefully things get faster and better with practice.


7 thoughts on “Dave Booth is a demon with a jewellers’ saw

  1. Hi Rene,
    The Manchester crew were/are simply well practiced! (practised?).
    Sadly, we lost Sid Stubbs a few years back now but Dave Booth is still going strong.
    I am sure he and plenty others including me, would say that it doesn’t matter how fast you are, what matters is that you are having a go.
    Practice will come and things will get easier.

  2. Sawing steel is harder work than brass, but just as a thought, you can ease the cutting with a bit of lubrication. Spit is quite good, and you can easily supply more. Also, rubbing the blade with a candle helps.

    One thing I have learned – and this is a general comment rather than an implied criticism – is to avoid buying unbranded blades, and go for the slightly more expensive ones, if I can find them. They cut better (sharper, but also less likely to go off at an angle – if this starts to happen, bin the blade immediately) and break less frequently (potentially cheaper in the long run).

    The late Stan Garlick used to bore out his tyres, and make the centre from a brass disc, cutting the spokes with ganged slitting saws, or indeed with a piercing saw.

    My piercing saw has lasted over a third of a century, as with all good tools it was worth investing in a reputable make.

  3. Hi Rene!
    Don’t give up yet! I would say the difference is in the materials, not your ineptitude:)
    While metals such as brass can be cut with the same type of blade as you were probably using on the plastic, I still say(from my experience) that they will cut (behave or misbehave if you prefer) differently.
    Best of luck to you, Shawn Hogan

  4. Post script to my earlier comment: I had not realized you were cutting steel. Thought it was plastic- getting various posts of yours confused:)
    All of the advice you’ve been given is unassailable; I even second the use of spit. Much easier to clean off than oil. And brass is softer than steel ergo, easier to cut

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