Hi There Lumberjock Friends!
At long last, I’m posting from the very start what I hope will be of interest to you all … a very special Intarsia project that has to be completed in time for our daughter’s wedding in August.
The design for this mirror frame was completed before the Xmas rush of having our grandkids come into my workshop to work upon their annual Xmas gift making. Then right into the new year, Bill and I were off on a 7 week road trip down south.
Now it’s good to be back into the workshop creating dust while cutting out the design. These cedar boards are at least 50 years old!!, having been removed while renovating the exterior of our home. Freed from layers of paint, they were ready to clamp together in preparation to transfer the design.
The Wedding Mirror design itself is approximately 4’ wide x 2’ high and will then be encased in framework. Working with 4 foot + boards, the length of cutting portion had to be determined … taking into consideration the ease of cut within my Excalibur scroll saw’s 24” throat.
Look what happens when I’m not paying attention! With each end section now glue together and ready to cut, have you noticed the hole on the far left side of the design (second photo below)? I obviously wasn’t paying attention when shifting the boards around before clamping and design transferring! I could have slapped myself silly for such a blunder, and there was no way I was going to start from scratch with another board. I also had no desire to stick a substitute piece of cedar beneath that area while cutting. What a pain! We all know these sorts of problems do arise … but you’ll find out, as this art piece develops, how I didn’t allow myself to be intimidated by a little hole!!
When cutting intricate designs … especially where sharp points and corners have to be executed … and I’m faced with having to use a brand new blade … I prefer to dull my blade a bit before starting. I know … that sounds insane!!, because everyone wants a nice keen edge to work with. But … I’ve learned control the hard way! Sharp blades tend to travel, making a tight point into a rounded corner!! Also remember, I’m having to stand farther away from my blade at various times (due to the board length) when a quick pivot is required. So … this is my method of slightly dulling a new blade in prep for the lengthy cutting stage ahead.
A before and after of the cutting. Notice I don’t follow the transferred lines exactly. The only exact lines in this design are for the bird house … the rest are free form. By the time I am ready for this stage, I have a better feel for the flow of leaves, petals and branches.
Sorry this entry has been so long winded! That cutting stage took a total of 13 hours. It doesn’t sound like much, but interspersed with everyday life … it’s enough! And now the fun really begins as each individual piece of this design starts to take shape. The next Wedding Mirror blog will be a while in coming, but it may be worth the wait! Until then, happy woodworking to all. Elaine from Duncan.
-- Elaine in Duncan