Posted 25 January 2010 - 12:32 PM
I use a jeweler's saw to cut my stainless. I use 2/0 saw blades that have close to 64 teeth per inch (this seems to vary though depending on the company). Saw blades of this are supposed to work the best for 20ga-16ga wire. When saw cutting stainless, keep your blade well lubricated, I've found that the best blade lubricant, as disgusting as it may sound, is actually the skin oils from the bridge of the nose, forehead, back of the neck, and behind the ears. Keeping the blade lubricated will help reduce friction. Also, don't try and cut too fast, the faster you try and cut the harder you tend to press down on the blade and this will cause them to shatter. Cutting stainless is very difficult and time/blade consuming, if you find yourself getting really frustrated take a break. The more frustrated you get the harder you press, and again you will be more likely to shatter the blade. Sometimes, you may have to use a combination of saw-cutting ans score-and-break. When doing this, cut as far as you can with the saw and then twist the ring the rest of the way off, this will help make your blades last longer and you should still get decent cuts. Sometimes you have to resort to this combination because of poor blades. When selecting your blade, carefully examine the teeth to make certain they are not already semi-dull. I've had brand new blades that, while they weren't too bad on other metals, would dull in seconds on stainless and sometimes not even be able to cut a single ring. Some blades will have no problem cutting stainless, while others from the same batch will be terrible. While cutting stainless, be patient, it will take longer to cut rings than any other metal and you won't get as many rings per blade as with other metals. Where as with most metals you should get a few hundred rings cut before the blade goes, with stainless if you cut around 20 or so rings you're doing well. The most I've gotten from one blade was about 60 rings. However, if you get a good blade taking the extra time to completely saw cut the rings is worth it, and if you have a bad blade, then you can always use the saw-cut/score-and-break combination mentioned earlier.
Hope that helps.