Winter Welcome Segmentation

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Project by Keith Fenton posted 02-03-2011 10:55 PM 2446 views 3 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A while back I was asked to do a blog on segmentation to explain how it’s done. I know it took me awhile but here it is finally :)

When doing a project like this, once the pattern is printed and spray glued to the wood, I start out by cutting out all the pieces on the scroll saw and sticking them onto double sided carpet tape to keep organized as I go along.

I cut out veneer backers for as many pieces as I can which helps a lot with assembly and final placement. To cut the veneer on the scroll saw, I sandwich it between thin scrap and glue the pattern to the top layer. (even cardboard could be used in a pinch).

Later on after shaping and staining, the pieces will be glued to the backers as shown here:

Once the cutting is all done, I start shaping with a Dremel and the following bits:

When I put together pattern packets, I include many pictures of all the pieces taken at angles as to show the shaping that I did and help the customer as much as possible to be able to reproduce what I did.

I use lots of double sided tape as I am shaping because I keep taking pieces off, shaping them and re-placing them on the tape which eventually gets sawdust on it and loses it’s stickiness. I try to use wood that is thick enough so that I can do a lot of shaping. On most of my projects I use 3/8” to 1/2” maple or birch for this since it is cheap and also tight-grained so small pieces don’t break. And since these pieces are small, I don’t find it particularly hard to shape even though the maple is quite hard.

The letters were sanded down slightly to give the snow a raised appearance . This was done with a sheet of coarse paper on a flat surface because I didn’t have a belt sander at the time.

After shaping with coarse sanding drums or carving bits (The carbide Kutzall carving bit shown is a little too aggressive if the piece is so small that I can’t hold it firmly. I actually use the sanding drum more than the Kutzall) I use finer sanding drums, followed by the grinding bit and the diamond bit to remove the scratches. I follow this with hand sanding with 150 to 220 grit sandpaper to prep for staining.

Then I stain everything wiping off the stain on each piece as I go along except with the black which I find looks best with two solid coats providing full coverage. Once the stain is dry I glue the pieces that have veneer backers to their respective backers.

In this project I thought it best to varnish all the overlay pieces at this point so I could better get into all the crevasses. I used a matte or satin spray varnish from either Varathane or DecoArt Americana.

The plaque itself is maple and was finished with many coats of mineral oil and sealed with shellac.

When everything is varnished and dry, I dry place it all except the letters onto the plaque and proceed to glue the pieces one at a time beginning with the long piece of snow that the letters go on since that seemed like the best place to start.

This is really an easier form of carving since all your pieces are separate which preserves your lines. It’s also much easier to prepare and cut than intarsia. I really think this is something that just about anybody can learn to do in a very short period of time.

-- Scroll saw patterns @

7 comments so far

View Jordan's profile


1400 posts in 3365 days

#1 posted 02-03-2011 11:27 PM

Burs of my own heart! Very attractive sign!
Such cool little characters, well, done.


View Cozmo35's profile


2200 posts in 3276 days

#2 posted 02-03-2011 11:55 PM

Very nice!

-- If you don't work, you don't eat!.....Garland, TX

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 4014 days

#3 posted 02-04-2011 07:26 AM

Great looking sign. Beautifully done. Thanks for posting.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View Monty Queen's profile

Monty Queen

1593 posts in 3492 days

#4 posted 02-04-2011 08:45 AM

Wow awesome job, outstanding work i love it. Looks great.

-- Monty Q, Columbia, South Carolina.

View KnotCurser's profile


2031 posts in 3309 days

#5 posted 02-04-2011 01:25 PM

These look fantastic – The penguins should be characters in a cartoon!

Great work as always, and thanks for the lesson. I GOTTA try intarsia soon!


-- Robert Rhoades WoodWorks / Email: /

View sras's profile


4970 posts in 3370 days

#6 posted 02-04-2011 04:06 PM

Looks to me like there might be a series of penguin signs in the future. Very fun design!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View Keith Fenton's profile

Keith Fenton

328 posts in 3160 days

#7 posted 02-04-2011 04:51 PM

Thanks everybody!

I really enjoy doing segmentations and I get good feedback on them. However, segmentation patterns don’t sell very well. I am fortunate that a great many of them get picked up by Creative Woodworks and Crafts magazine which helps make the work worth my time from a business point of view. I think a lot of people are either afraid to give them a try or else they aren’t interested because it’s not something that they can make to sell at craft fairs due to the time involved in making them. I didn’t pay attention to how long it took for me to make this but a rough guess would be maybe 20+ hours not counting any design time.

The time just flies by for me since I sit on the couch in front of the TV with a Dremel and an old sheet to catch the dust. This is also where my computer and designing work gets done. All the painting is done on the kitchen table which is right behind the couch since we have an open kitchen/living area. It’s so nice to have a significant other who doesn’t bat an eye to such activities :)

-- Scroll saw patterns @

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