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Kekani
12-10-2011, 06:30 AM
Okay, I finally bit, and dropped some cash on Knew Concepts 3" Jeweler's Saw with the cam lever.
http://www.knewconcepts.com/3-inch.php#

In conversation with Lee Marshall, seems I should've gotten the one with the swivel, for my needs. I was thinking about the 5" saw, because I actually use a 4" all the time, but I thought I'd start small first. Its still a toss up right now, but Lee may have me convinced to get the 3" swivel, rather than the 5" non-swivel version. Not that he wants to sell me more saws, just that he wants to help me fit my needs (anyone want a slightly used 3" at cost, free domestic shipping?).

Anyway, I couldn't figure out why I would want to spend about 3x more on a saw, when everyone else uses a "standard" Jeweler's saw. Well, I looked up on my wall, and I had hanging, 3 Jeweler's saws - a 3", 4" and 5". I could've bought one Knew Concepts for the price of those. But the question was "Would it be worth it?"

Of course its worth it, or I wouldn't be posting this. You can read all the reviews on his site, and I just wrote a quick article for the `Ukulele Guild of Hawai`i Newsletter.

There's another builder here that has one (or two), and I'd venture to say the cost of the saw was made up for in the first inlay that was done.

In a nutshell, this saw is like a Custom Instrument. Customs are built for the player, and can/will allow the player to become/perform better (you need a custom instrument to understand this). Yes, general statement, but mostly true. This saw is like that Custom Instrument - it is just THE right tool for the job. If you've never cut an inlay, or are having trouble, this saw will help.

I gotta run, but I'll post more comments later. Maybe that guy from Pahoa has some comments in the meantime. . .

-Aaron

ukulian
12-10-2011, 10:41 AM
This may be me being naive, but a custom instruments plays the same tunes as a bog standard one, it's the player that makes the real difference. I recently bought a jewelers saw of flea bay for around 4 including a pack of blades. It cuts in exactly the same direction as I point it! It is also adjustable to all the sizes you mention. OK, so it has bog standard fixing screws, but it takes me longer making sure the blade is in the right orientation than it does to change them!
Personally, I'll save my money.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
12-10-2011, 10:41 AM
And now from Pahoa.........
I just spent 12 hours with this saw, thanks to the tip from Kekani. As I mentioned to Aaron, I tend to change blades now when they are dull instead of when I break them. The frame is so rigid the saw will pay for itself in the amount of blades you'll save. I bought the one with the automatic tension adjuster and love it. Less time fumbling with the adjustment knobs on other saws. As Aaron alludes to in the title of the post, this saw is somewhat of a luxury but it's a must have if you do a lot of inlay work.

Rick Turner
12-10-2011, 10:55 AM
Those saws are utterly incredible looking! The power saw... The titanium saw... The guided saw frame... Wow! If I ever get back into doing inlay, I know where I'm going to spend some dough... To me this is like getting a really good...expensive...hammer if you're doing a lot of carpentry. An amateur would not think that spending well over $100.00 bucks on a hammer makes any sense. Ask a good framing carpenter, though, what his or her arms are worth. It's about time and comfort, and if you're saving time (and blades) and you're more comfortable, you'll do better work. Well worth it...

Kekani
12-10-2011, 11:23 AM
This may be me being naive, but a custom instruments plays the same tunes as a bog standard one, it's the player that makes the real difference. I recently bought a jewelers saw of flea bay for around 4 including a pack of blades. It cuts in exactly the same direction as I point it! It is also adjustable to all the sizes you mention. OK, so it has bog standard fixing screws, but it takes me longer making sure the blade is in the right orientation than it does to change them!
Personally, I'll save my money.

Its all about the mana, my friend. When my clients meet with me, they know its not just a build for me - every instrument is a part of me. As a builder, there is a difference from a mental and spiritual perspective when I know who the instrument is going to, compared to when I don't. Not that I put any less effort, or that any instrument comes out substandard, nothing like that. Its just different, and this manifests itself when you present the instrument to your client, they play it, they don't put it down. They stare, strum, stare, turn, cuddle, and all manner of things, if I've done my job right. They KNOW this instrument was build specifically for them.

I can tell you right now, my friend has two instruments, one I built for him, and one I didn't. Suffice to say, he is in his groove when he plays the custom. When he doesn't, anyone who knows him can tell - the music isn't the same. Don't get me wrong, its good, and if you don't know him, it'll probably sound the same. But if you know him, you can tell.

As for the saw, I couldn't justify spending the money on one of them. After trying it, I don't know why it took me so long. Even if it doesn't pay for itself in blades as Chuck mentioned, value is in the hands of the user. This one. . . has value. . .for me.

And obviously, others as well.


Those saws are utterly incredible looking! The power saw... The titanium saw... The guided saw frame... Wow! If I ever get back into doing inlay, I know where I'm going to spend some dough... To me this is like getting a really good...expensive...hammer if you're doing a lot of carpentry. An amateur would not think that spending well over $100.00 bucks on a hammer makes any sense. Ask a good framing carpenter, though, what his or her arms are worth. It's about time and comfort, and if you're saving time (and blades) and you're more comfortable, you'll do better work. Well worth it...

I figured you'd enjoy this one, Rick. And you couldn't have said it better.

Key points that you cannot tell about the differences unless you use it are the stiffness of the frame, larger handle, light weight, stiffness of the frame, and the light weight. The larger handle also helps. It the sum of the parts that make it for me. Yes, you could probably make one yourself, and end up spending more. Cutting inlay is so relaxing and meditative as it is, this just helps you along to that place. Chuck just sent me a pic of work done with the saw - not that any of his previous work isn't as good, but this one has joints that will knock your socks off! Unbelievable. To do what he did, in the materials that he used, well, I know what he was up against, and I know how much easier it must've been. I ALWAYS break blades in recon stone, not to mention breaking the stone itself.

-Aaron

Rick Turner
12-10-2011, 12:22 PM
I just realized that Lee is here in the Santa Cruz area; he can't be any more than eight miles away from me. I emailed him, and I want to check out all of his saws. I sent a link to Larry Robinson, too.

mrhandy
12-10-2011, 12:48 PM
I have one of Lees saws for woodworking, and I have used it for veneer work and use it most for Dovetailing... removing the waste, it is perfect for this because you can tilt the blade 45* right and left to clear the work... I love mine and I also have a flea bay special, imo there is no comparison. Great saw.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
12-10-2011, 01:35 PM
Here's the inlaid headstock Aaron is referring to that I just finished using the Knew Concepts saw. Aaron's been a valuable resource of info to me for inlay tools including the best bits and blades to use. As with everything, using the right tools makes everything so much easier.

ukulian
12-10-2011, 02:01 PM
Point taken :O

Pete Howlett
12-10-2011, 02:24 PM
Remember ukulian, you are playing with the big boys here :) That saw looks great. Pity I don't have the chops to do that inlay work. Love how clean your mitres are Chuck. is that wood/fibre purflin or plastic?

Liam Ryan
12-10-2011, 03:11 PM
Whilst I'm not a inlay kinda bloke, I am a tradesman by day. The greatest bit of advice I've ever heard is:


A good tool hurts when you buy it but a bad tool hurts every time you use it

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
12-10-2011, 03:21 PM
It's fiber Pete, some stuff I got from Gurian's sale page. I've gotten lots of unique odd bits from them in the past. This is how it looks against the koa body the headstock belongs to.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
12-10-2011, 03:22 PM
I forgot to mention it is black/white/green/white/black.

Pete Howlett
12-10-2011, 04:31 PM
And you still can't see the join :)

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
12-10-2011, 04:39 PM
And you still can't see the join :)

You can see the joint at the top where the neck will connect but that will be covered by the fret board anyway. The rosette joints came out pretty well though. With wide purfling like this I will miter the joints using the disc on my sander. Otherwise I just use the 1/2" Exacto blade, using the back as a mirror to get the right angle.

Vic D
12-10-2011, 06:18 PM
I'll have this saw. My Zona will be loaded with larger blades for doing big stuff and tough woods while the KC will be my fine work saw. Thanks for the link Aaron.

Allen
12-10-2011, 08:31 PM
I've got one of the fret / jewellers saws that I wish I had never spent the money on. It's a tough lesson to learn about buying cheap tools.

Now this bloke builds a saw. And my heart skipped a beat when I saw the powered one.....Gotta get one of those. Thanks for the link Aaron.

bbycrts
12-10-2011, 09:04 PM
We painted this house before we moved in (the insides, that is). I bought a couple of $3 paint brushes that were so bad I was masking everything, overpainting everything...I went back to the paint shop and bought a couple of expensive Purdy brushes. Still have them - threw the others away the same day I came home with the Purdys.

Having the right - and best made - tools can make any job so much better. I finished the entire house without masking anything else.

Rick Turner
12-10-2011, 10:05 PM
Don't forget, folks, WE are tool makers. The ukes we make are the tools of the uke players' trade and art. You want to make crappy ukes and sell them cheap? Or do you want to make tools worthy of professional level players? Lee, the saw maker, is the equivalent of one of us pros; he's the real deal making tools for good craftspeople.

And yeah, that powered saw is a thing of beauty.

Lee and I have been in touch, and we just missed each other at a concert here in Santa Cruz this past evening. I'll catch up with him this week and report in. His shop is all of ten minutes from mine.

Kekani
12-10-2011, 11:07 PM
I've also been in contact with Lee, and sent him a link of this thread. He's such a humble guy, I'm glad to have supported his business, and hope those of you that do business with him feel the same.

I think his saw is great, I wanted to share.

Pete, this may be the one tool that gets you to do an inlay. Never say never. . .

-Aaron

knew concepts
12-11-2011, 02:05 PM
Hey folks...thanks for letting me in here. I am always thrilled to see what users make with my saws. The level of creativity here is gratifying to peruse.

I have a section of my website that has a collection of short pieces that I did for our local NPR affiliate called Musings. One of them is titled: Jewelery for Jewelers. In spite of its title, it has a lot of application here as well. Please take a look at:
http://knewconcepts.com/musings.php

Lee (the saw guy)

Flyfish57
12-12-2011, 02:21 AM
These saws have been on my "long" list of value added upgrades since I first saw them in the Rio Grande catalog last year. Thank you Aaron and Chuck for posting your experience with them. Less broken blades?? I’m in! I just moved it to the short list.
Lee, great to see you here. I’ll be in touch after the holidays.

~Steve

Pete Howlett
12-12-2011, 07:48 AM
Aaron, I'd love to do inlay, however I am a journeyman ukulele maker and not not an artist and despite attempting it, am always disapointed with my efforts. Besides there is not sifficient appetitie for this sort of stuff here in the UK and Europe for me to spend time learning the craft. it's a bit like Jake - most players in the UK don't 'get' him or James Hill. Just think how confused they'd be if Brittni Paiva or Tamaine Gardner came over along with Riaatea Helm? I know Chuck has done inlay work for European clients but I'd guess it's less than 5% of his output - correct me, as I know you will Chuck, if I am wrong :)

Kekani
12-12-2011, 07:32 PM
Aaron, I'd love to do inlay, however I am a journeyman ukulele maker and not not an artist and despite attempting it, am always disapointed with my efforts.

I'll have to note that I'm not an artist either - my inlay work is what I call a mechanical representation of something else (pictures, mostly). Not to say that artistic talent isn't necessary, it is if you start getting into crazy stuff like Robinson and Laskin (and Moore of course), but simple stuff like logos and signatures (which aren't always so simple) are good places to start, and sometimes stay.

I'll say this - if I had forked over the $$$ for Lee's saw earlier, my learning curve would've been much shortened. In fact, I'm almost in a mood to send you my "leftover" jewelers saws just for the heck of it!

Aaron

Sven
12-12-2011, 08:21 PM
Do that, Pete is always complaining about his lack of tools and the vast empty surfaces in his shop...

ukegirl13
12-13-2011, 05:57 AM
Here's the inlaid headstock Aaron is referring to that I just finished using the Knew Concepts saw. Aaron's been a valuable resource of info to me for inlay tools including the best bits and blades to use. As with everything, using the right tools makes everything so much easier.

Very nice Chuck!!

PelicanUkuleles
12-13-2011, 08:18 AM
I'm so going to get one of these saws. For over forty years I have used the standard jewelers saw and I can't tell you how many blades I've broken. It seems on every project I snap a few not to mention the screw clamps at the ends seem to fail. I just purchased a 5" standard Jewelers saw. But this will be my next saw. Thanks for posting it.:cool:

Nixon
12-13-2011, 10:02 AM
I don't even do inlay and I want one. Have a certain respect for tools of that caliber.

knew concepts
12-13-2011, 10:38 AM
The saws are not just for inlay, although this is how the thread began.

They were originally developed for the jewelry/metalsmithing folks, where the blades are typically 8/0 because the precious metals are so darn expensive that you don't want to waste any.

With a typical adjustable frame, that has to flex to set the tension, it changes tension with each change of direction, so the constant flexing of the blade introduces metal fatigue...leading to premature breakage. I designed the frame to be like a bridge truss (Chuck referred to the Golden Gate Bridge).

After working with the metal folks, I moved on to the woodworking crowd. They wanted a saw that would enable them to cut the baseline of dovetails. That required that I make the swiveling blade clamps that moves the back of the frame off to one side (45 degrees).

The saws refuse to be pigeon holed as to their usage. I am working with the folks doing Marquetry and almost have a 12" deep throat saw ready for trials.

Sorry, this is not doing a sales number, I just wanted to describe some of the other capabilities.

Lee (the saw guy)

Rick Turner
12-13-2011, 12:48 PM
Lee, as far as I'm concerned, anyone who makes a great tool with the obvious care that you put it is welcome here to explain what they do.

We are tool makers ourselves...we make musical instruments for musicians.

For most of us here, your 3" saw is perfect...though the lust may be there for the power saw!

I'll come over in a couple of days...

knew concepts
12-14-2011, 08:06 AM
The power saw was designed for cutting metal (not wood), and the speed is slowed way down to about what you would comfortable saw if you are sawing for hours at a time.
I have never understood the desire for scroll saw makers to provide the ability to saw through a 2x4...the only reason to make such a short stroke. Because of the short stroke, they sped up the speed, which burns up the blade, as wood is a very poor conductor of heat, and the blade can dissipate only so much while you are sawing. Ever burned your self touching the blade of a jig saw?
The power saw uses the full stroke of the blade, saws slow enough that the heat is removed by air movement, and as a result, the blades last a lot longer. At maximum speed, it strokes at about 250 strokes per minute (which is hard to maintain by hand).
I have never chosen to be another "me too" kind of guy, and have always designed stuff that doesn't copy any one else. Some of it was a bit too far out and is gathering dust in the "archives". Someday, they may emerge when the world is ready.
Since I was starting with a clean sheet of paper, I wanted to make the blade track in a true vertical position, not describe some arc as the scroll saws do. That is why the blade guides are Delrin and provide support for the blade. Also, I designed carbide guides for the blade that support it from the rear and the sides, the support is exactly where you need it (right at the cutting edge). Imagine a band saw that uses 5 inch long blades.
Rather than tilt the table for angular cuts, the frame itself tilts 45 degrees to the Right or the Left, and the table stays stable.
Tensioning is micro-adjustable for repetitive blade changes.
Enough of this.
As mentioned in an earlier post, each of you here are also tool makers, and it feels good to sit down with you and be accepted.

Lee (the saw guy)

Pete Howlett
12-14-2011, 08:14 AM
I had Christmas lunch with other craftsmen in the Building I rent and my sivermith friend is also lusting after a knew concept saw - she had just done a seminar with Eid... Brilliant concept Lee (the saw guy). I too had a real rethink when it came to sawing - fret slots are usually done in production shops on a table saw. Can't stand that machine so i invented this:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m44jBZeS1QM

knew concepts
12-14-2011, 09:12 AM
Now...that's nice! I love the sound of the cut (and no I am not perverted). Thinking outside the box is what gives us our pleasures in life. If there are a bunch of pigeon holes in the side of a box, I'll instead sit on the roof.

On another note, are the dates for the November exhibition coming into any sort of firmness? I am trying to coordinate several members of the family coming over as a group (the daughter teaches at our community college).

Lee (the saw guy)

Kekani
12-15-2011, 05:25 AM
On another note, are the dates for the November exhibition coming into any sort of firmness? I am trying to coordinate several members of the family coming over as a group (the daughter teaches at our community college).

Lee (the saw guy)

I just emailed the UGH board, and what I got is the Annual Exhibition & Conference is being planned for November 17,18 at the Princess Kaiulani, where it was in 2010. I'm not sure how well vendors do there (I think its more of a cost than a benefit, if that), but I'll get more info as it becomes available. Of course, there's always Roy Sakuma's `Ukulele Festival in the Summertime. LOTS of kids playing, and the UGH usually sets up an informational tent, along with the local factories.

Aaron

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
12-15-2011, 05:45 AM
I met with a few guys from our Big Island Guild (not to be confused with the UHG that Aaron is referring to) last night and the saw got rave reviews. Expect more orders from the Big Island Lee.

Rick Turner
12-15-2011, 06:25 AM
I stopped in at Lee's shop yesterday afternoon; he's got the same passion for what he makes as we do. Great setup, innovative tooling to say the least, and wonderful products. It also turns out that he and I share a lot of the same musical background in the folk scene of the 1960's. It was like reconnecting with an old friend whom I hadn't seen in forty years.

knew concepts
12-15-2011, 10:51 AM
Interesting how single focused you can become when you are designing a product.
When Rick and I were talking yesterday, it came out that we were in the same building before I moved about two years ago. We were in diagonal corners, and I never went that way to the shop. The entire building is about 1/2 a block square, and you would have thought...

On another note, I sent the kalapana.jpg that Chuck Moore did earlier on this blog to Spencer Baum (main buyer for Rio Grande Tools) and he is now waiting for images from Chuck of the finished piece to show on the Rio Grande blog.

Intertwining spheres of connections make this a very small world.

Lee (the saw guy)

Kekani
12-16-2011, 06:14 AM
On another note, I sent the kalapana.jpg that Chuck Moore did earlier on this blog to Spencer Baum (main buyer for Rio Grande Tools) and he is now waiting for images from Chuck of the finished piece to show on the Rio Grande blog.

Intertwining spheres of connections make this a very small world.

Rio Grande is the place to get blades - I thought they were all the same, but they're not.
Intertwining spheres for sure - I should've thought you had a connection there (especially since they have your saw).

-Aaron

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
12-16-2011, 06:24 AM
Rio Grande is the place to get blades - I thought they were all the same, but they're not.
Intertwining spheres for sure - I should've thought you had a connection there (especially since they have your saw).

-Aaron

You are correct Aaron (naturally) and I told the same to Spencer at Rio Grande. I used to buy cheaper German and Swiss blades but rio's Lazer Golds are indeed the best.

knew concepts
12-16-2011, 06:39 AM
Rio Grande and I go back a very long ways.
Then I got into the metalsmithing field (back in 1990), I had developed a metal forming 20 ton press that was a bench mount. Since I lived in an area of the county named Bonny Doon, I named my company Bonny Doon Engineering. It is possible that Bonnie (the jewelry side of Chuck) is familiar with it.
Several years ago, I sold off the business to a very good friend (Phil Poirier) in Albuquerque NM as I was having a harder time lifting the frames into the boxes, and also I was wanting to concentrate more energy into the saws.
Anyway, back to Rio Grande...they have been a major distributor of mine for a very long time, and have always given excellent support and service.
A few days ago, I got an email from a customer complaining that his saw had suddenly to start pulling to one side. After a bit of detective work, he confessed that he was using cheap blades (don't ask me why). Cheap blades do not haave the teeth ground in, but instead are stamped out using large punch presses that stamp the entire blade at one shot. As the punch starts to wear, a burr starts to develop on one side. That burr acts like a rudder, pulling the blade off line.
Jewelers blades do not have a "set" unlike wood cutting blades. If you have run out of good blades, and you need to finish that project, you can give your bad blades a lobotomy by using a pair of small diamond stones used for sharpening knives. Lay the blade in between the two stones and pull the blade through them a few times and you will remove the burr.

Lee (the saw guy)

Rick Turner
12-16-2011, 07:38 AM
That's similar to the trick to get a band saw blade to track when it starts to get funky...carefully hold a section of an old (non-critical) sharpening stone up to the side to which the cut wants to wander. I don't do this anymore...the Suffolk Machinery band saw blades we use keep tracking well until they're just too dull to use or they break...but it works for cheap blades.

Kekani
12-17-2011, 09:41 AM
Lee works fast:
http://www.knewconcepts.com/photos.php

Nice. . .

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
12-17-2011, 11:09 AM
Lee works fast:
http://www.knewconcepts.com/photos.php

Nice. . .

Too bad that's such a lousy photo. I'll be finishing up the uke this weekend and getting him and Rio better pics.

ksiegel
12-17-2011, 12:31 PM
Here's the inlaid headstock Aaron is referring to that I just finished using the Knew Concepts saw. Aaron's been a valuable resource of info to me for inlay tools including the best bits and blades to use. As with everything, using the right tools makes everything so much easier.
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=30863&d=1323563618

Oh. My. God.

I think I need a cigarette.



-Kurt

knew concepts
12-17-2011, 02:58 PM
I am not fast...I depend upon folks that are a lot younger than I am.
Jack Suter (the web guy) is a banjo picker as well, so he knows his way around the frets as well as html.

I have enough to do just trying to keep up with your orders that are flying in here. I am also trying to finish some new designs for saws...I just finished the prototype for a 12" deep throat Titanium frame that can make the #3 blade sing at the same pitch as it does on a 3" frame. I am kinda stoked!

Lee (the saw guy)