The Scroll Saw Lady

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Picking Out Wood For Your Projects

Posted by The Scroll Saw Lady on 24th August 2008

Before you can actually start any project you have to know a little bit about wood and its properties, so you can choose the write wood for what you are going to create.

The two basic categories of wood are hardwood and softwood. There is also manufactured wood like plywood.  What you use for any given project depends on various factors: strength, hardness, grain characteristics, cost, stability, weight, color, durability and availability.

Usually beginning woodworkers start out with softwood such as pine. It’s soft and easy to work, and you don’t need expensive tools to get good results. It is readily available at local lumberyards and home centers. It has it’s limitations in furniture making; it is a soft wood and will damage easily.

Softwood is from an evergreen or coniferous (cone-bearing) tree. Common varieties are pine, fir, spruce, hemlock, cedar and redwood. These woods are mostly used in the home construction industry. Cedar and redwood are excellent choices for outdoor projects, while pine is often used for “Early American Country Style” furniture.

Pine and most other softwoods will absorb and lose moisture more than hardwoods so are not as stable. Purchase the lumber at least two weeks before starting your project and keep it indoors.

You will find that softwoods are sold in standard thickness and widths, for example a 1 X 4 will be 3/4″ thick and 3 1/2″ wide similar to construction materials. The material will usually be priced per lineal foot and the price will increase accordingly for the wider boards.

There are specialty stores that sell wood for scroll sawers and we will look at several of those later.  Right now I would pick up some pine and just practice some cuts both with your scroll saw and on your table saw or any other hand saw that you might have picked up.  Always use your ear protection, protective eye wear and always follow manufactures safety recommendations.

Tomorrow we look at hardwoods.

Posted in In The Beginning, Softwood, Wood, Woodworking Terminology | 4 Comments »

Woodworking Glossary

Posted by The Scroll Saw Lady on 22nd August 2008

Boy it has been a long time since I was able to post anything on woodworking, but I thought I would share with you some common woodworking terms that I think anybody doing anything with wood should have a general idea about.  So, here are some common terms you will probably run across.
Adhesive – A substance that is capable of bonding material together by surface attachment.

Air Dried – Lumber stacked and stored so that it is dried naturally by the exposure to air.

Allen Head – A screw head with a recess requiring a hexagon shaped key, used mainly on machinery. These may be in metric or SAE sizes.

Bench Dogs – Pegs that go into holes in the top of a workbench which work with a vise to hold wide material.
Biscuit Joint – An oval shaped disk that when inserted in a slot with glue swells to form a tight bond. A special tool is required to cut the slot.

Block Plane – A small plane designed for cutting across end grain.

Board Foot – Measurement of lumber equal to one square foot an inch thick or 144 cubic inches. Multiply width in inches X length in inches X thickness in inches, divide by 144 for total board feet.

Box Joint – Square shaped finger joints used to join pieces at right angles.

Butt Joint – A joint where the edges of two boards are against each other.

Chuck – An attachment to hold work or a tool in a machine, lathe chucks and drill chucks are examples.
Compound Miter – An angled cut to both the edge and face of a board, most common use is with crown molding.

Cross Cut – A cut which runs across the board perpendicular to the grain.

Dado – A groove in the face of a board, usually to accept another board at 90 degrees as in shelf uprights.

Dovetail Joint – A joint where the fingers are shaped like a doves tail, used to join pieces at 90 degrees.

Dowel – A wood pin used to align and hold two adjoining pieces.

Epoxy Glue – A two part glue that practically glues anything to anything, including metal to metal.

Filler – A substance that is used the fill pores and irregularities on the surface of material to decrease the porosity before applying a finishing coat.

Grain – The appearance, size and direction of the alignment of the fibers of the wood.

Hand Plane – A tool to smooth and true wood surfaces, consisting of a blade fastened in frame at an angle with hand grips to slide it along the board.
Jig – A device used to hold work or act as a guide in manufacturing or assembly.

Joiner – A machine used to true the edges of boards usually in preparation for gluing.

Kerf – The width of a saw cut determined by the thickness and set of the blade.

Kick Back – This is when a work piece is thrown back by a cutter, prevented using anti-kick back devices on power tools such as table saws.

MDF – Medium density fiberboard, very stable underlay for counter tops etc. to be covered with laminate

Miter Box – An apparatus to guide a saw to make miter joints.

Miter Gauge – A guide with an adjustable head that fits in a slot and slides across a power tool table to cut material at an angle.

Miter Joint – Pieces are cut on an angle to make a joint.

Molding (Moulding) – A strip of material with a profile cut on the facing edges, used for trimming.

Particle Board – A generic term for material manufactured from wood particles and bound together with glue
Plywood – A glued wood panel usually 4′ X 8′ made up of thin layers of wood laid at right angles to each other.
Rip Cut – A cut which runs through the length of a board parallel to the grain.

Sawhorse – A trestle usually used in pairs to hold wood for cutting.

Spline – A thin strip of wood fitted between two grooves to make a joint.

T – slot – A slot milled in the shape of an upside down T to hold special bolts for clamps or jigs.

Table Saw – A circular saw mounted under a table with height and angle adjustments for the blade.

Taper Cut – A cut where the width decreases from one end to the other, these are usually done on a table saw with a jig.

Tear out – The tendency to splinter the trailing edge of material when cutting across the grain.

Template – A pattern to guide the marking or cutting of a shape, often a router is used with a piloted bit.

Tenon- A projection made by cutting away the wood around it to insert into a mortise to make a joint.

Tongue and Groove – A joinery method where a board has a protruding tongue on one edge and a groove on the other, the tongue of one board fits into the groove of the next.

Witness Marks – These are marks put on boards or pieces to keep them in order during gluing, joining and assembly.

X-Acto Knife – This is a razor like blade in a handle; the blades come in various shapes, very handy for fine work. 

There are so many different terms used in woodworking.  The above is certainly only a partial list.  You will find yourself learning the terminology as you become more and more familiar with the world of carpentry and woodworking.

When you enter into the world of woodworking, there’s one thing you simply cannot do without – wood!

Posted in In The Beginning, Woodworking Terminology | Comments Off on Woodworking Glossary

Great Scroll Saw Book

Posted by The Scroll Saw Lady on 30th July 2008

Check out the Amazon ad at the bottom.  Best scroll saw book around is by far a book by Patrick Spielman called “The New Scroll Saw Handbook.”  It is only $12.71 through Amazon, a great price.  Check it out.  This is the first book I ever owned when I decided to get started in scroll sawing, and I still use it when there are things I can’t remember.

Posted in Books To Own, In The Beginning, Scrolling Tips | Comments Off on Great Scroll Saw Book

Your Workspace

Posted by The Scroll Saw Lady on 30th July 2008

This is my last entry before I take of for Arkansas to visit my dad in the hospital again.  I will try to write once I am down there but, If you decide you want to set up a workshop here are some things to consider.

The first thing you need to consider is where you’ll be crafting your projects.  Most people take up woodworking in their garage or basement.  This is fine; just remember that you’ll need some space to store materials and the finished product.  You’ll want a space that is easy to move around in and that you can keep organized.

If you’re using power tools, you’ll need easily accessible power outlets.  Remember that power tools can be quite noisy, so take into consideration the comfort of your family and your neighbors.

You’ll need a workbench which doesn’t necessarily have to be elaborate.  It’s a space for you to work on and keep your plans out in the open. 

You can buy commercially made workbenches at most home supply stores.  When choosing a workbench, look for one with a wood top, or another smooth, non-marking top, so that the surface doesn’t scuff the wood you use for your projects. Storage underneath the bench is nice if your budget allows a model with built-in drawers and cabinets.

Choose a workbench that fits comfortably in your shop space and that matches the types of projects you think you’ll be working on. A small workbench will do for crafting toys, but you’ll need a larger space if you’re making armoires.

But you’re getting started with woodworking as a hobby.  Why not make your own workbench?  This will give you valuable experience and will become one of the most useful items in your shop!  We’ve included a simple workbench plan in this book.  Try diving right in with and start your workshop out with a piece you made yourself!

It’s a good idea to have a bin where you can place operating manuals from your tools.  This way, you won’t lose them and they’ll be easily accessible.

We also recommend a good tool box to store your tools and a box such as a tackle box to store nails, screws, etc. in.

As with most any projects, the better organized you are, the more efficient you’ll be.  You’ll also save yourself a lot of stress by being able to locate what you need easily.

Some people like to have a peg board over their workbench to hang their tools on.  This is a good idea as is to have a bulletin board so you can hang the plans for your current project.

Last, you’ll need good lighting.  You can get shop lights inexpensively at discount stores like Wal-Mart or Home Depot.

Now that you have a place to work, what do you need to get started?  The obvious answer would be wood, which we’ll talk about a little later.  What’s the second obvious answer?  Tools!  More to come on a selection of tools later.

Happy Woodworking All!  Watch for our website to start real soon.

Posted in In The Beginning, The Shop | Comments Off on Your Workspace

Safety First Please!

Posted by The Scroll Saw Lady on 17th July 2008

I can’t stress enough how inherently dangerous woodworking can be if you are not careful.  Please, always be at your best whenever you are doing anything with sharp tools or power-tools for that matter.  Don’t woodwork if you tired, sick, or just not paying attention to things, this can result in serious injuries and even death can occur.

Now, with that out of the way…. You will need some basic safety tools if you are going to do anything in woodworking.  Head right over to the Dollar Store and pick these things up.  (and do not listen to your husband or boyfriend if they are telling you, you can’t buy your equipment at the Dollar Store!)

Girls, my Dollar Store hammer, works just as good as any guys, who had to buy the best hammer Sears had for $25!!!  Go buy the Dollar store hammer and then take yourself out to dinner and tell him your hammer cost as much as his did.  (well technically it did, as it cost you for the dinner and the hammer too) See how my mind works?

Truly, when you are starting out in woodworking, don’t spend a lot of money.  Buy the basics at the Cheapo Depot and if you find out this is something you are really going to enjoy, then go out and spend some money to upgrade your tools.  And for heaven’s sake, NEVER, use his tools!  Trust me on this.  You will never hear the end of it if you put a ding in one of his chisels or something is to happen with his saw and you bend the blade slightly.  Not like he has never done those things also… but, you will never hear the end of it so, go out and get your own stuff. Enough said on that subject.

Okay, some must haves for safety;  you are going to need a good pair of safety glasses, don’t go for fashion here, go for protection.  You want glasses the cover as much space as possible so flying wood chips can not get around the glasses and blind you in some freak accident.  You are going to need some type of ear protection, this depends on you.  Some people hate things in their ears so the foam ear plugs are out.  Some people don’t like the big clunky ear muff type.  You decide which will be more comfortable for you.  Then you are going to want to pick up some disposable dust masks.  Here again you can go from the very basic to the replaceable filter type.  I say again, start cheap and see if you are going to like woodworking or not. 

Always have a first aid kit in your workshop where ever that may be.  If by change you do cut yourself, you want to be able to take care of it immediately and not run through the house dropping blood everywhere!  Let’s just hope you never need that first aid kit.  It is also a good idea to keep the phone by you when you are doing anything in your wood shop too.  Just in-case.

If you are going to have power tools right from the start, then you need to have a fire extinguisher also.  You should really get an extinguisher that is rated “ABC”  That covers everything from wood and paper fires to electrical fires and to chemical fires which might be caused by using stains and paints.

 Okay, there is your first shopping list, before you even get started with anything.  Next, I will talk to you about some basic tools you will want to get to start woodworking.

Even though the title is Scroll Saw Lady, there will be much more talk about all kinds of woodworking then just Scroll Sawing.  Even if you want to learn scroll sawing and I hope you do, there are many, many other facets of woodworking that come into play before you start scrolling your first piece of wood.

Posted in In The Beginning, Safety Tips | Comments Off on Safety First Please!