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Blog entry by BritBoxmaker posted 07-20-2010 05:30 PM 1317 reads 1 time favorited 24 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hello all

I have a box design I want to do and it involves inlaying small irregular shaped pieces. How am I going to do it? I thought long and hard.

Having already gone to acquisition level 2 once before. I’ve gone and got myself a scroll saw. Its only a cheapie at £55 ($84). 16”, 90 watt motor, tiltable table. I’ve had my first play. I’m using a piece of 6mm MDF as a zero clearance device. I’m quite impressed. The test for the inset pieces was easy. So I decided to see how far I, a scroll saw novice, could saw to the edge. The wierd outline shape and the two initials are done with grain going vertically with respect to the picture for the initials and across for the shape. The material is 1mm thick sycamore. The third initial broke off so now I know the limits. They were free hand so they’re not very tidy. I’ve tried following a drawn line and I’m getting better at it, its difficult to get used to moving the material you’re cutting around whilst you’re cutting. This is disaster on a tablesaw and the bends you can acheive are much tighter than on a bandsaw (which I’m still not quite as happy as I can be on).

The vibration is minimal and for the money I’m very pleased. I don’t think I will ever get to the standards that cozmo35 and Scrollgirl and I’m not going to even try. Suffice it to say that it (and my amateur skill level) does what I need it to do. The box concerned will make the light of day, shortly

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging. http://www.theartofboxes.com



24 comments so far

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7830 posts in 1639 days


#1 posted 07-20-2010 05:40 PM

Well, Martyn! You KNOW I am smiling!!! You are going to do just great! I am so excited for you because in the short time I have known you through this site I so admire your precision and creativity. You were meant to use a scroll saw! I know that you and your new friend will get along just fine. Soon you will be scrolling circles around Cosmo35 and me! It goes without saying, that if you have any questions or need any information I would be happy to help you or find someone who can.

With your talent and ideas, I can only dream of the wonderful things you are going to create!

You just made my day!

Sheila

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View BritBoxmaker's profile

BritBoxmaker

4421 posts in 1756 days


#2 posted 07-20-2010 05:48 PM

Sheila, thanks. Just one thing. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but I’m not good with curves, real ones that is as opposed to optical illusions.

As you offered, just a quick question/sanity check. When I’m inlaying pieces my method of cutting the two is to double sided tape them together and saw both at once. If I saw them with the table at 90° to the blade there will be a gap between the inlay and what I’m inlaying it into, the width of the blade.
Now the question. Can I overcome the gap by tilting the table slightly, making the top piece (the one being inlayed) slightly larger than the bottom one ( the piece I’m inlaying into)? Are there any other points to consider?

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging. http://www.theartofboxes.com

View BarbS's profile

BarbS

2434 posts in 2805 days


#3 posted 07-20-2010 05:48 PM

A scrollsaw is a Serious tool, perfect for what it was designed for. I had one years ago and let it go after buying my Laguna bandsaw. I’ve had reason to regret it. One tip for inlaying, Martyn: if you tilt the table just 2º and saw the inlay and base piece in tandem, the inlay will fit just proud of its hole, quite seamlessly, to be sanded flush. Not always practical, but it will work in many cases.

-- http://barbsid.blogspot.com/

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7830 posts in 1639 days


#4 posted 07-20-2010 05:52 PM

That’s how I do it. The only issue I have with tilting is that you need to watch the sharpness of your curves. I did that with some snowflakes and it worked out well. On a much simpler note, that is exactly how I did the spots on the ladybug candy dish that is in my gallery pictures. It worked fine. I just suggest practicing on scraps to get the angle right where you want it.

:) Sheila

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View BritBoxmaker's profile

BritBoxmaker

4421 posts in 1756 days


#5 posted 07-20-2010 05:55 PM

Thanks, Sheila. Its good having an expert standing by.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging. http://www.theartofboxes.com

View BarbS's profile

BarbS

2434 posts in 2805 days


#6 posted 07-20-2010 05:57 PM

Psychic… we posted at the same time. Sorry to ‘horn in’ on Shiela’s question!

-- http://barbsid.blogspot.com/

View BritBoxmaker's profile

BritBoxmaker

4421 posts in 1756 days


#7 posted 07-20-2010 05:59 PM

No problem, Barbs. I need all the help I can get.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging. http://www.theartofboxes.com

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7830 posts in 1639 days


#8 posted 07-20-2010 06:05 PM

Naw, I am not an expert! You are too nice.

I did want to mention too, that the size of blade will affect the angle you will want to use. Common sense tells us that a larger blade means a bigger gap or kerf. I always use the smallest blade possible to get the job done. If you are cutting thin woods, you will only need a very small blade. I don’t know how they size them in GB so you may have to let me know.

And another thing . . . (sorry for yakking on, but it is important I think) When cutting any hard wood, such as what I have seen you use so often, I strongly advise to put a layer of clear postal tape over the entire piece. This prevents burning while cutting. I don’t know how it works (some say it is the adhesive in the tape that causes the blade to run cooler) but it definitely important and will save you a lot of grief. I get it at the dollar stores here and it works just fine.

Hope this helps.

@barbs – we must have posted at the same time! I didn’t see your answer until mine refreshed on the screen! You never are horning in! Many heads are better than one! :)

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View tyskkvinna's profile

tyskkvinna

1308 posts in 1705 days


#9 posted 07-20-2010 07:09 PM

Woohooo! This is exciting Martyn :) I can’t wait to see what you do with it!

-- Lis - Michigan - http://www.missmooseart.com - https://www.etsy.com/people/lisbokt

View stefang's profile

stefang

13524 posts in 2054 days


#10 posted 07-20-2010 07:45 PM

Hi Martyn. I’m very glad to hear that you have acquired a scroll saw. A person who works with the precision you do will really find it a whole new world.

Tilting your table does indeed work the way you want, but it’s always good to double tape two strips the same thickness as your actual workpiece and cut out some half circles along the edge, see how the inlay fits and keep adjusting the angle until the fit is just right. The angle is determined by both the thickness of your materials and the thickness of your blade, so the angle almost always requires some fine tuning using test pieces.

Besides all the fine inlay and pattern cutting, you can also do joining with your scroll saw. This includes very accurate box joints and dovetails too. I’ll post a little blog in the near future to show you how I do it. My first scroll saw was almost exactly the same model you have. It does have some limitations, but mine served me very well until I got hooked on scroll work and I was eventually able to upgrade. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View BritBoxmaker's profile

BritBoxmaker

4421 posts in 1756 days


#11 posted 07-20-2010 07:49 PM

Well here’s the strange thing, Sheila, blades in the UK have their length and width quoted in mm but the they go and tell you how many teeth per inch (tpi) they have. Well at least thats the case on my favourite website, Axminster tools. Another thing it appears that here its referred to as a fret saw not a scroll saw. Very confusing. Two cultures seperated by a common language again.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging. http://www.theartofboxes.com

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7830 posts in 1639 days


#12 posted 07-20-2010 07:56 PM

(Sorry to be off topic!) Hi, Lis! Welcome back! We missed you! :)

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View Triumph1's profile

Triumph1

836 posts in 1799 days


#13 posted 07-20-2010 09:03 PM

I cannot wait to see what crazy ideas you come up with with that wild, pattern mind of yours. A scroll/fret saw is definitely handy to have. I like using mine for doing cam profiles if I am designing a mechanism.

-- Jeff , Illinois Please...can I stay in the basement a little longer, please!

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2135 posts in 1828 days


#14 posted 07-20-2010 09:21 PM

Congrats on the new tool Martyn. Can’t wait to see what comes out of the design process now. One thing is for certain, you are not the average woodworker. How do I know this? By your designs? Nope. By your superior work? Nope. I know this because you have the instruction booklet placed right next to the new tool purchase. I will say it again, you Sir are not the average woodworker :)

David

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View BritBoxmaker's profile

BritBoxmaker

4421 posts in 1756 days


#15 posted 07-20-2010 09:23 PM

lol, David

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging. http://www.theartofboxes.com

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