Disc Cutters

Should I anneal metal before cutting discs?

Question

“Should I anneal my metal before using a disc cutter even if I am using 24ga? I have a micro butane torch…I am assuming this torch could not anneal a large piece of sheet metal and I would need to cut out a portion.”

Answer

The chances are that your 24g metal came annealed (or soft).  When ordering in the future always purchase your (well, almost always – there are always exceptions!) metal soft, not hard or half-hard.  The sheet metal usually work hardens, sometime during the jewelry construction process.

You are probably fine cutting the 24g as it is pretty thin.  Don’t forget to lubricate the cutter head (wear that eye protection!).  Makes life (and the punching) easier and the cutter last longer.  I just rub a little beeswax around the sharp edge or you can use any vegetable oil, sewing machine oil, 3-in-one oil, etc.  Because of the lubrication, the discs will need to be cleaned before soldering or wearing. I torch mine for several seconds, quench and pickle.  You can also use a soft toothbrush, a good degreasing dish detergent, like Dawn or Dr. Bronner’s (less toxic to the planet and you) and really hot water.  Pumice powder or Bon Ami will also clean the metal.  Make a paste with a touch of water and a pile of the powder.  Don’t use comet or ajax as they have other, nasty chemicals in them.  You don’t want that stuff moving into your skin cells and then onward to your organs.

If your butane torch can’t anneal a large sheet, cut your metal first and just anneal the pieces you’ve cut.  I use the Sharpie method – when it disappears (there is a shadow of the line left) it’s annealed. Back to Table of Contents