The Scroll Saw Lady

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Archive for the 'Scrolling Tips' Category

Blade Tensioning

Posted by The Scroll Saw Lady on 10th September 2008

Tensioning?  Is that a word, or did I just make that up?  Hmmm.. the spell checker dosen’t like my new word but I do so I am keeping it. In other words this post is about how to tension you blades! (better?)

Before inserting a blade into your scroll saw, the tension should be completely removed.  Clamp both ends of the scroll saw blade into the blade holders and adjust the tension. Push on the blade with your finger. It should flex no more than 1/8″ forward, backward, or side to side.

A blade that does not have enough tension will wander and you will not be ale to follow a pattern line very easily. It will also flex from side to side, making for irregular or angled cuts. 

A blade that has too much tension is more susceptible to breaking and tends to pull out of the blade holders. In general, it is better to make the blade too tight rather than too loose because you will ruin your project if the blade is too loose, you will only lose a blade if it is too tight.

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Positioning Your Hands When Cutting

Posted by The Scroll Saw Lady on 9th September 2008

Hand position is one of the most critical aspect of controlling your workpiece. If your hand position is correct and you’re working on a good-quality saw, you will not tire as quickly and you’ll enjoy what you’re doing.

All you need is a light touch to hold the wood in place– a white knuckle hold will only tire you out and makes the wood more difficult to turn. (Note: Thick wood needs to be held down much more firmly than thin wood otherwise you may get bouncing wood.)

My hands are constantly turning and moving to new positions as I push my project through the saw. Watch your hand movements. If you find yourself turning your body instead of your hands to control the movements of the wood, stop and reposition yourself.  Always stand square in front of the machine for best control. Once you’re aware of your hand movements, you can cut anything.

If at any time you don’t feel comfortable where you have your hands, stop immediately and turn off the scroll saw.  You will do no harm to the work piece.  Reposition yourself and start again.  Same thing, if the blade gets caught in one of your turns and starts bouncing up and down, do not panic, just turn off the scroll saw, reposition your work piece, take a deep breath and start again!

Happy Scroll Sawing!

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Blade Entry Holes

Posted by The Scroll Saw Lady on 7th September 2008

Some patterns have blade-entry holes marked, most do not. If the pattern doesn’t, place the holes near a line to be cut, but don’t place the hole on a curving line or inside corner (if possible). Drill the hole perpendicular to the blank. Use a drill press if you have one; otherwise the holes may interfere with delicate fretwork. Drill through your project wood into scrap wood to prevent tear out on the back side of the project you are going to be cutting.If you have the space, use a larger bit–it will make it easier to thread your blades through. For thin veining cuts, use the smallest bit your blade will fit through.  Extremely small blades are available from many scroll saw specialist like Sloan’s Woodworking, or Mike’s Woodworking shop.

 Watch for the The Scroll Saw Lady Website opening soon.

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Attaching Patterns To Wood

Posted by The Scroll Saw Lady on 6th September 2008

When you go to make your first project, you will find a pattern you want to scroll, cut it out and then you will attach it to your wood. Temporary-bond spray adhesive is the most common method used to attach patterns to wood. Photocopy the pattern. Spray the adhesive on the back of the pattern, wait a few seconds, and press the pattern down onto the wood blank. Rubber cement or glue sticks work similarly.

Because it can be hard to get residual glue off your wood when you remove the pattern, I will first use painters tape and cover my wood project with that. Then I will either add the adhesive spray to the pattern or use my glue stick to attach it to the painters tape.  Removal of the painters tape is much easier then removing old adhesive spray glue. You can also use graphite or carbon transfer paper. Place the pattern on your blank and slip a sheet of transfer paper in between the pattern and the blank. Use a few pieces of painter’s tape to hold the pattern and transfer paper in place. Trace around the pattern with a red pen (so you know where you have traced). Choose a light-colored transfer paper for darker woods. Carbon paper costs less than graphite paper, but must be sanded off before finishing.

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“Scroll Saw Workbook” Review

Posted by The Scroll Saw Lady on 1st September 2008

When I first started scroll sawing I bought the Scroll Saw Workbook, If your new to scrolling and aren’t sure where to get started, I’d recommend this book highly, the title of the book is “Scroll Saw Workbook” by John A. Nelson

It starts with a brief overview of the history of scrolling which dates back to the 1500’s and has illustrations of both old saws and patterns from the Victorian era, very different from we do these days. The book moves on to the different types of scroll saws that you can choose and how it makes a difference in price and ease of use, noise vs. vibration, etc. There are many illustrations and descriptions of the modern scroll saws that are available here in the U.S. and their features and accessories. The book also covers the different type of scroll saw blades, a description and their uses, and how to properly tension the blade.

The practice exercises start with the most basic operation, accurately cutting straight lines, curved, wavy and sharp turns. Show how to do stack cutting so that you can make multiple items at once.  How to cut materials like plastic and paper,  3-D cutting,  and making relief cuts. Basic patterns are provided to make some nice small projects for the beginner. I bought the book on, but the book is also available from Fox Chapel Publishing.

Scroll Saw Workbook

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