The Scroll Saw Lady

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Archive for September 2nd, 2008

History Of Scroll Sawing

Posted by The Scroll Saw Lady on 2nd September 2008

Now I didn’t do a lot of research on this but I did find some interesting things on the origins of Scroll Sawing.  Did you know that scroll sawing goes back to the 16oo’s?  Though back then all the scroll sawing or fret work was done by hand saws called Buhl saws, also known as bracket saw or later on called fret saws.

Basic fretwork techniques can be traced back to a famous French craftsman named Adre Charles Boulle.  His artwork involved the decoration of furniture mostly.  Boulle is regarded by some as the father of inlay are marquetry techniques.

The evolution of the scrollsaw is linked to the rise in popularity of frework — the sawing of intricate shapes from wood.  Although there are examples of fretwork-like decorations on early Egyptian, Greek, and Roman furniture, these were probably carved or cut with a knife.  It wasn’t commonly practiced to saw delicate wooden shapes until the late 1500’s, when a German craftsman (most likely a clock maker) devised a method for making fine, narrow blades.

Soon thereafter, a Parisian began to develop specialized hand tools for cutting these intricate designs.  He designed a U-shaped fret saw which was originally known as a Buhl-saw very similar to our modern day coping saws.  As Mr. Boulle’s work gained notoriety, the craft was legitimized and quickly spread to Italy within a generation.

Fretwork was introduced to America in the mid-1800’s as Sorrento wood carving.  Sorrento is so named because of the area in Italy that it was most popular.  By the 1860’s, the first mechanical fret saws — called scroll saws — began to appear in the U.S. And so a great art form and hobby were born.  Today there are numerous models of scrollsaws available with many options.

Watch for the Scroll Saw Lady website to begin very soon.

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