The Scroll Saw Lady

Ladies Come Learn To Scroll Saw!

Archive for the 'Woodworking Terminology' Category

What are Sheet Goods?

Posted by The Scroll Saw Lady on 26th August 2008

What are Sheet Goods and do you want to pick these for your projects?

Sheet Goods

The two most common manufactured sheets goods used in furniture making are MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) and Particle Board. Both are made from wood particles, combined with glue and bonded under pressure. MDF has finer particles than Particle Board so produces a smoother and stronger finished product.

MDF machines very well and is often used for moulded components on painted furniture. Its main draw back is that it is a very heavy product compared to real wood.  Because of their laminated construction, they are extremely stable in all dimensions. Since the veneers on any given panel are usually cut sequentially from the same log, the panel should display a uniform color and grain.

Matching the grain pattern of solid wood to the generally uniform grain pattern on the panels can be difficult. But careful planning can yield good matches in the most visible areas of your project.
Manufactured sheets do have limitations, whenever they are used, regardless of the core, the edge must be hidden and the veneers on the surface are extremely thin, often less than 1/32 in. Because of this, the surface is fragile and has a tendency to split out, especially on the back side of a saw cut. Also, since the veneer is so thin aggressive sanding can quickly work through the veneer and expose the unattractive core underneath.

These materials are generally not used in scroll sawing because of the fact that the layers can be seen once you scroll your project and leave an unsightly look to your picture or projects scroll sawn.  Though you may still find times when they can come in handy for a project.

Posted in Wood, Woodworking Terminology, Woodworking Tips (General) | Comments Off on What are Sheet Goods?

Picking Wood For Your Projects – Hardwoods

Posted by The Scroll Saw Lady on 25th August 2008

Yesterday we talked about picking wood for your projects and what softwoods were, today we will look at the properties of hardwoods and how they are to work with.


Hardwood lumber comes from deciduous trees, the ones that shed their leaves annually. Popular domestic species are oak, maple, cherry, birch, walnut, ash and poplar. Of these common native hardwoods, only red oak and poplar are usually stocked in home centers and lumberyards, the others have to be obtained from specialty stores. The material stocked at home centers and lumberyards is usually sold in similar dimensions to softwood and by the lineal foot as well.

At specialty stores the thickness of hardwood lumber is specified in quarters of an inch, measured when the wood is in a rough state. The thinnest stock is 4/4, representing 1 in., and the thickest usually available is 16/4, representing 4 in. Rather than being milled to specified dimensions, like pine, hardwoods are sold in random widths and lengths.

Working with hardwoods is quite different from working with pine; you cannot drive a screw through hardwood lumber without first boring a pilot hole. Cutting and planing hardwoods requires extremely sharp tools.

Hardwoods are good to use when building furniture.  Oak and ash are known as open-grain woods. These species have alternating areas of relatively porous and dense wood, when stained the open-grain areas absorb the color readily while the harder areas are more resistant. This accentuates the grain patterns, creating a dramatic effect.
Cherry, maple and birch are closed-grain woods, demonstrating a more uniform texture throughout a board. Poplar is also a closed-grain wood, but its color ranges from a beige to olive green, and often has purple highlights thrown into the mix. Because of this unusual coloration, it is rarely used if a furniture piece is going to have a clear finish. This wood is best when stained or even painted. Poplar, being less expensive, is also a good choice for framing hardwood projects.

Hardwood is more durable and less prone to dents and scratches. It is also more expensive but will finish to a better advantage. Soft woods, like pine, are more prone to dents and scratches and do not have the durability of hardwood. Softwoods are much less expensive and easier to find. Ask your lumber supplier to show you “Class 1” or “Select Grade” lumber. Make sure it is properly dried, straight, and free of knots and defects. (It may be impossible to be completely free of defects but be sure you understand how to cut around these.)

Tomorrow we will look at sheet goods.

Posted in Hardwood, Softwood, Wood, Woodworking Terminology | Comments Off on Picking Wood For Your Projects – Hardwoods

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