Recovery projects #3: Starting to cut

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Blog entry by Betsy posted 08-17-2008 03:10 AM 1716 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Beginning my scroll saw projects - getting started Part 3 of Recovery projects series Part 4: Back at it a little bit »

So tonight I used my 20 minutes of shop time getting the small cuts made.

One thing I failed to mention in my first entry was in mounting the blade. Some of the blades are hard to tell which way is up and down. If you run your fingers up and down the blade—- your fingers will snag on the teeth – use that as a clue. The teeth go down.

Another thing to keep in mind – is having a good light. I’ve got a lamp set up by my saw, but it’s not the best set up. I’d prefer to have one of those overarm lamps that you can move up and down. But I’m not really set up for this type of thing right now.


When you start cutting out your pattern you want to start small. In other words – cut out the smallest details first. You do this because, let’s say, that the first thing you do is cutout the background and then move to the details – you have that much less to hold onto while moving the piece around under the saw. For a project like I have here it’s not that big of a deal. However, if you are doing a fret project where there is a lot of small detail—- you’ll be glad you started small and moved up.

You’ll also notice as you look at the picture below—- the area around the neck for sure. When I cut out the outline you will see there is going to be very little left when the cut is finished. That’s going to be a delicate thing. If I were to cut the outside first and then the inside cut – I’d have a potential for breaking that. That seems counterintuitive. But think of it this way. Say you are cutting the inside cut and you overcut past the line. When you then do the outline you can fudge a bit and cut outside the line making the leftover the same size as if you had cut both cuts correctly. I hope that makes sense.

This is all I’ve gotten cut out today.


The next thing I’ll do is to use small sandpaper pieces and/or some small files to clean up the small cuts. I do this now before I do the big cut for the same reason as above. I have more to hold onto right now.



My demented dog Lucy—- says to say Hi!

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

8 comments so far

View Roper's profile


1389 posts in 3736 days

#1 posted 08-17-2008 03:25 AM

good to see ya back in the shop. say hi to lucy.

-- Roper - Master of sawdust-

View griff's profile


1207 posts in 3785 days

#2 posted 08-17-2008 03:48 AM

Looking good,

-- Mike, Bruce Mississippi = Jack of many trades master of none

View lew's profile


12100 posts in 3778 days

#3 posted 08-17-2008 04:36 AM

Great looking start, Betsy!

What size/tpi blade do you use?

Tell Lucy that Quigley the Basset Hound says “Back at ya!”


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Allison's profile


819 posts in 3822 days

#4 posted 08-17-2008 05:32 AM

First things first! Looks like a nice De Walt you got there! And, doesn’t that air hose get in your way? I have taken every one off of every scroll saw I ever had! I now hook up a air hose over my shoulder to blow the dust away. Which in itself is a pain in the ass. I have yet to own a saw where that thing did not drive me NUTS!!!!!
They always seem to get in my way. I have a couple that looks like the kind you got here and they always get loose and flop all around! I better shut-up I feel a rant coming on!!
Your project is looking great! Those antlers are a stress point huh? I am so glad to hear you say about the fudging. That is one wonderful thing about scroll work. A person can fudge and most people are never gonna notice! LOL!!!
Can’t wait to see the finished project!
I have the same question as Lew. What size blade did you use?
P.S. Tell Lucy she has friends here in northern Ca! Buick and Nala say Hi!

-- Allison, Northeastern Ca. Remember, Amateurs built the Ark. Professionals built the Titanic!

View Betsy's profile


3391 posts in 3919 days

#5 posted 08-17-2008 05:33 AM

Lew—- I’m actually not 100% sure what size the blade was – I just used what was in the saw. I’m guessing though that it was probably a No. 5. I have a ton of blades in the garage, but I would have had to go searching for them, so I opted to just use what was in it. If I had my druthers, I would have used a No. 5 spiral. I like my spiral blades for all those nice inside corners.

This project is a little rough – you can’t really see it in the pictures. But this is the first real scroll saw work I’ve done in quite some time and I’ve got to get back in the swing of turning sharp corners and blending in cuts. Some of those cuts are pretty rough. It’ll come back to me. In the meantime, I won’t do any real close up shots!

Hello Quigley!

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View Betsy's profile


3391 posts in 3919 days

#6 posted 08-17-2008 05:37 AM

Allison – I was posting my response to Lew when you were posting.

As to the air hose—- I don’t mind it being there. In fact, I put it as close as I can. I don’t like having to take a deep breath to blow off the dust. I’ve tried other systems and have always come back to what came with the machine. I have seen people use a fish tank motor as a blower and used clear piping for the hose and it works OK. The other option is to have a small desktop fan blowing over your project.

The antlers will be the main thing that could probably break if I don’t take it slow around those little points. —But that’s what super glue is for!

Hi Buick & Nala!

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View Zuki's profile


1404 posts in 4100 days

#7 posted 08-17-2008 01:33 PM

Hey Betsy. Im really enjoying this blog. Never seen scroll work being done. I have a SS, however I do not use it very often . . . it frustrates me. I may look at it a little differently after your blog.

Oh . . . Fufer says hi to Lucy. She will be 21 in November and had a little trouble reading your post. The boys and girls (roosters & hens) also say hello.

-- BLOG -

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3809 posts in 4045 days

#8 posted 08-17-2008 02:42 PM

This reminds me of when we used to cut steel rule dies in the 80’s before the CNC lasers took over.
It’s and incredible amount of work and the least little error get picked up by the human eye.

Nice tutorial Betsy.


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

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