The Scroll Saw Lady

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Archive for September 12th, 2008

Scroll Saw Tips

Posted by The Scroll Saw Lady on 12th September 2008

Found a great article I thought I would share, give you someone elses view on tips for scroll sawing.  As a teacher, I know that everybody learns in a different way, and how I say it maybe totally different how someone else says it and you may just understand them better!

Scroll Saw Tips
By Shirley Atkinson Platinum Quality Author

I have learned all of these scroll saw tips by trial and error. I would have loved to find a place like this when I first started scrolling (that is the word for people who do scroll work). When I first started out I didn’t have the slightest idea what I was doing. After a lot of practice it turned into a lot of fun.

There are many scroll saw crafts that you can start as a beginner or even for more advanced scrollers. There are some great books you can also learn from.

The first scroll saw tip you need to do is position your pattern.

You can either make a copy of your pattern on your computer or else take it down and have it copied. You can copy the outline onto a piece of transfer paper which works quite well unless your have cutouts in the middle. Then it is best to have a copy made. Apply the pattern to the wood with rubber cement, spray adhesive, or repositionable spray glue. I usually use rubber cement. It comes off easy and doesn’t leave glue on the wood. Remember to dust your wood before you apply the pattern. Always apply the glue to the pattern and not the wood. I have found when I used repositionable spray glue that if I have a lot of cutouts the pattern starts to come off. You don’t have that problem with rubber cement.

Preparing the wood for inside cuts.

(The napkin holder on the left has many intricate cutouts and is a great seller at craft shows.) After you have your pattern on the wood you can now prepare for inside cuts. I use a drill press but you can use a regular drill. Use the smallest drill bit that will let you get your blade through. Drill through the wood in the center of each of your inside cuts. You may want to lightly sand the back of the wood after you have drilled because bits can leave little hairs and you want it nice and smooth.

Should I sit down or stand up?

I have had a lot of people ask me this question. The best scroll saw tip I can give you is when you first start out it is best to stand directly in front of your saw. It is easier to feed the work straight into the blade, so don’t stand off to the side. I got to a point that I bought a high stool so that I could work for longer periods of time. Most scroll saws have a light but it is best if you have a fluorescent light on one side of your saw. The light will help prevent shadows on your cutting area. Please wear a dust mask especially if you are working with exotic woods.

The importance of using the right blade.

My best scroll saw tip is finding the best blades. Most of my work is with 3/4″ wood. I use a double-tooth #4 blade size. If you want to work with thinner wood a #3 double-tooth blade works best. Double-tooth blades will produce less chip out on your wood and will last longer than other blades. Make sure when you install your blade that the teeth face front and point down. A blade installed backwards won’t cut wood, and an upside-down blade will pick your wood up off the table bed and slap it back down again (this scares the heck out of you).

You must have proper blade tension.

Insert the blade and turn the tension knob three-quarters of a turn past the point of resistance. A blade that’s too loose won’t cut a straight pattern line, and a blade that’s too tight can break and possibly damage your saw. Remember to always keep your blade moving when you are cutting curves. A lot of people have a tendency to stop and this will cause the wood to pick up and slap back down on your table. Just let the wood pivot by keeping your finger close to the blade (no closer than an inch). When you’re cutting out a circle, keep the feeding speed constant. If you continually stop and start as you make the turn, the finished edge will be choppy.

Shirley Atkinson
Crafters Love Crafts

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