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New generation of sawsmithing coming to Tru-Cut Saw

There are only a few remaining Master Sawsmiths in the U.S., and perhaps 500 in the world who practice this art. Tru-Cut Saw, in Brunswick, Ohio (near Cleveland) has two of them. Now there is another generation of sawsmiths in the making at Tru-Cut Saw.

Thomas Otter, 24, will be following in his family’s footsteps in a 5-year apprenticeship program and will work towards becoming a master sawsmith. He’ll be starting on thicker saw blades and eventually learn the full spectrum of blade types. His training is based upon guidelines originally developed by the English Sawsmith Society, and will be under the close direction of David Otter, president, and Alan Otter, production supervisor (Thomas’ father), both master sawsmiths.

Smithing skills originated in places like Birmingham and Sheffield, England (where the owners of Tru-Cut Saw are from) in the manufacture of swords, knives, silverware and tools. The tradition has been kept alive at Tru-Cut and will be passed on to Thomas.


Alan Otter and David Otter with Thomas Otter, an apprentice in training to become a master sawsmith at Tru-Cut Saw.

Every circular saw blade requires some type of straightening to create a level, even plate. Instead of blacksmithing—working with hot metal—sawsmiths hammer cold metal, using hammers with different weights. During this process, each saw is then straightened to minimize side run out – assuring longer life and smoother cuts. There are no mechanical substitutes for the acute human senses of touch, sight, and sound as the smith responds to the peen and cymbalic tone of the saw blade during the smithing process.

You won’t see many newcomers like Thomas entering the profession. Smithing is a dying art—a highly specialized art that is very demanding physically and mentally, according to Tru-Cut. Saw smithing skills, attention to quality and family tradition will continue on with Thomas Otter at Tru-Cut Saw.

For more information, visit www.trucutsaw.com.

Posted Dec. 5, 2012

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