My First Commissioned Scroll Saw Portrait

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Project by woodreamer posted 09-21-2017 06:01 AM 3080 views 1 time favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve done several scroll saw portraits for family and friends as gifts, and naturally the reactions are positive due to the circumstances. This was a commission, so I was a bit out of my comfort zone for obvious reasons.

The person sent me pictures of his grand-daughters which I created a pattern for using a variety of graphics programs. I’m always looking for the best method to achieve the results I need and every time I do one of these I discover another way.

I used Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and even some effects they now have in Microsoft Power Point. I finally got what I wanted after about 5-6 hours of trial and error. The challenging part, for those who have done this is to avoid the pattern having you cut out little islands of wood , or floaters, which will separate from the pattern.

Now the fun cutting the pattern. I used a stack of two 1/8 inch Baltic birch plywood taped together with blue painters tape which makes the removal of the patter easy, without glue residue – very important for not damaging the very delicate parts.

After finishing the cutting and cleaning up the loose wood fibers, I glued the wood to a black matte board from a framing store.
One thing to mention was that I found some excellent blades that I found really helped my control of the cutting.
These were the Pegas 2/0 modified geometry blades made in Switzerland. Some people use spiral blades but I am not comfortable with those.
The final sixe was 10×8 inches
Overall I was pleased with the result, Hopefully the guy I did it for will be as well
Thanks for watching

-- Bob, BC, Canada

15 comments so far

View Druid's profile


1702 posts in 2669 days

#1 posted 09-21-2017 06:56 AM

Not very easy to make, even once you have the pattern ready. Nicely done Bob. Hope your customer loves it.

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

View Boxguy's profile


2520 posts in 2141 days

#2 posted 09-21-2017 09:03 AM

Bob, this is an exercise in patience. Nice work. Commissions are tricky.

-- Big Al in IN

View recycle1943's profile


1576 posts in 1496 days

#3 posted 09-21-2017 10:42 AM

very, very nice ! it looks close enough to be a negative of the photo – outstanding

-- Dick, Malvern Ohio - my biggest fear is that when I die, my wife sells my toys for what I told her I paid for them

View mahdee's profile


3830 posts in 1641 days

#4 posted 09-21-2017 11:46 AM

Wonderful work. I am sure the customer will love it.


View shipwright's profile


7852 posts in 2672 days

#5 posted 09-21-2017 02:12 PM

Well done. I am sure you will have a happy customer.
Have you ever considered using two colors stacked? Then the “islands” aren’t a problem and creating the pattern becomes a lot easier. It is a marquetry technique but can be done just as well in thicker wood.
Just a suggestion, your work is great as is.


-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View Kelly's profile


1875 posts in 2818 days

#6 posted 09-21-2017 02:46 PM

This is a lot like what I used to have to do with glass etch, only harder. GREAT job.

View majuvla's profile


11487 posts in 2741 days

#7 posted 09-21-2017 03:16 PM

Pretty successful project. You have done great job with small details – not to broke them. Especialy letters on gril’s T-shirt on right side.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View helluvawreck's profile (online now)


29754 posts in 2740 days

#8 posted 09-21-2017 03:23 PM

You did a wonderful job on this portrait.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View ralbuck's profile


3902 posts in 2140 days

#9 posted 09-21-2017 03:38 PM

Great work.

Only scrollers really know how difficult that was!

-- Wood rescue is good for the environment and me! just rjR

View PaulDoug's profile


1438 posts in 1577 days

#10 posted 09-21-2017 03:42 PM

Being a scroller and not able to figure out the pattern making side, got to say you did a top notch job on both, pattern and cutting. I know of no way to improve on that. Your customer will be very happy indeed. Get ready for more work.

Have you tried Gimp for pattern making. I can’t figure it out but I know a lot of pattern makers use it for pictures and Inkscape for words. Both free software.

-- “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk

View ohwoodeye's profile


1932 posts in 3027 days

#11 posted 09-22-2017 03:04 PM

I would have to say this is a success.
well done.

-- Directions are just the Manufacturer's opinion on how something should be assembled. ----Mike, Waukesha, WI

View woodreamer's profile


109 posts in 2567 days

#12 posted 09-22-2017 04:52 PM

Thanks to everyone for the great comments and compliments. Amazing! Its great to be a Lumberjock

-- Bob, BC, Canada

View papadan's profile


3584 posts in 3242 days

#13 posted 09-22-2017 05:23 PM

Really nice job, just too bad the picture wasn’t of them happy and smiling.

View toolfooldan's profile


59 posts in 1512 days

#14 posted 09-24-2017 11:08 AM

Very cool. Amazing result.

View LostRiverWoodcrafts's profile


49 posts in 113 days

#15 posted 10-01-2017 03:07 AM

I’m going to be lazy and just say I agree with all of the above comments! Nice job

-- Greg, Tucson Az,

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