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My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #8: Necessity Breeds Invention

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 06-10-2010 02:35 PM 5248 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 7: Exploring New Territory Part 8 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 9: Big Things Coming From Small Places (My Shop) »

It’s funny how innovative we can be when we have to. I grew up with modest means and learned early in life not to waste things and to take care of what I have. Things didn’t come easy for us so we had to use what we had and make it last. I don’t see anything wrong with that. I think it is a good way to think for many reasons.

I had a friend who used to tell people he loved to lend me his tools because when he got them back, they were cleaned and looked like new again. This person had a shop that was every woodworker’s nightmare. He was the kind of woodworker that bought tools mainly just to have them. He bought a full Incra Jig set up that I never saw him use once in the seven or so years I was associated with him. He had so many tools, it would make your head spin. He ‘worked’ out of a 2.5 car garage and you couldn’t walk in there. In order to get to the particular tool you wanted, you had to move several other things and wade through – well, crap – to get to it. There wasn’t one full set of anything, but several partials of each. Does that sound like anyone you may know? I used to cringe when he worked because I was waiting to call the ambulance because the work environment was such a mess and hazard that I figured it would only be a matter of time before a serious injury would occur. Fortunately that never happened – at least when I knew him.

So back to the story . . . .

As I have stated here, the past several days I have been trying to complete a project for the magazine that had been accepted a couple of weeks ago. It is a frame with a scroll sawn saying in the middle and overlays of little segmentation pieces all around. It is a cute, fun and whimsical project that I hope will generate some interest in doing some segmentation and then intarsia. Each little overlay is a mini-project in itself and not very intimidating. I think it is a great baby step to get someone started.

So one of the reasons I haven’t finished and sent it on its way is that I can’t seem to find any ‘turn buttons’ so that I can secure the center picture into the frame. I have been on this quest for about a week so far, and although I realize that I can probably get them mail order, they are worth about ten cents each and I don’t feel like spending the base eight dollars or so for shipping them to me.

I first tried around town here at the two local hardware stores. When I didn’t see them on the shelf, I inquired about them and got the look from the gentlemen as if I asked for a two-headed dragon. I tried to explain to them that they were the little pieces of metal that held the picture into place on the back with a screw and it swiveled into place, but unfortunately, I got the “she doesn’t know what she is talking about – silly woman” look from both of them.

Now I have pretty much gotten over the initial lack of respect that most have for a woman in woodworking (I know you girls know what I am talking about). It really doesn’t bother me, and sadly, I have kind of come to expect it. But this second guy kind of got to me. It was probably because of the frustration of not being able to find such a simple piece of hardware, but his attitude didn’t help. He even tried to sell me mirror clips (the big clear plastic ones) and said that no one would know if I used these instead. Besides not fitting properly for what I was doing, they would have looked really dorky and stupid. So I did something I rarely do – I played the ‘Contributing Editor’ card.

He finally asked me “What do you need those for anyway?” and I casually said “Oh, I designed a frame for an article I am doing for the woodworking magazine I work for and need to show them done with the real thing.”

Well, that got his attention.

He went on to ask what magazine and I went on answering his questions. I will admit that I laid it on a little thick, saying that I didn’t want to show my readers the wrong hardware to use and have them have to rig the frame (which was true), but it was amazing how his attitude toward me changed. Sadly, this happens a lot. When I go into a lumber place or hardware store with any male by my side, they tend to migrate to the male and even when I make it evident that I am the one who needs their services, many still tend to look to him for the answers. Oh well, it is what it is.

So after making a trip to Yarmouth, which is about 45 minutes away and trying the stores there that may possible have the evasive turn buttons, I was still unable to find them. I wanted to finish up the project yesterday and call it a day so I decided that I was going to make my own turn buttons. I used 1/8” Baltic Birch and I even got the idea that I can make this as one of the free downloads on my site for others so they can make their own too, if necessary. After reading Martyn’s blog yesterday, I realized that many of us are in rural situations and don’t have the means to get things at a moments notice. I’m not living in Chicago anymore! (By the way – yay Hawks!)

So I made up a little mini-tutorial so you can make your own turn buttons on the scroll saw. I made 20 in about 10 minutes, and that was with taking pictures along the way.

First apply pattern to 1/8” plywood. Cut some scrap pieces of a similar size and apply double sided tape to them. Remove the backing on the tape and press the four pieces firmly together.

From Make Your Own Turn Buttons

Select the proper size drill bit for the screw to fit in. In my case, it was 11/64ths. I use a brad point drill bit for the most accuracy.

From Make Your Own Turn Buttons

Drill the holes in the turn buttons. Use a piece of scrap wood underneath so that there is minimal tear-out on the back of the bottom layer.

From Make Your Own Turn Buttons

Use a small scroll saw blade (I used a #2 reverse-tooth) and cut out the pieces. I cut the two end pieces first because I didn’t apply the tape from end to end. This left less to remove when finishing cutting.

From Make Your Own Turn Buttons

After separating the pieces and removing the tape, use a countersink bit to drill depressions in each turn button so the screw sits flush. After a quick hand-sanding, you are ready to go!

From Make Your Own Turn Buttons

I guess I didn’t take a ‘final’ picture, but you get the point. These will work fine in a pinch and are yet another reason to dust off your lonely little scroll saw and give it a run.

I know it is a simple process, but I figured all levels of woodworkers are here and I just wanted to show that when you can’t find something – just make it! It cost nothing but a few minutes and then you can spend your time on your projects instead of driving all around town looking for something.

I will have pictures of the finished frame up by tomorrow, as I am doing all the final writing and photos today. Until then, happy woodworking!

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



8 comments so far

View BritBoxmaker's profile

BritBoxmaker

4607 posts in 2501 days


#1 posted 06-10-2010 03:11 PM

Thats it. I want a scroll saw.

Are there any plans on how to make one? I like making my own tools (see my drum sander blog).

Only joking, on the making one front, but if nothing else they do look a darn useful tool. Now I’m going to have to look away for a bit. For me the cycle usually goes.

1. See a tool I like. Think ‘No I don’t need that’.
2. See it again in another guise or used in a different way. Think ‘No I can’t afford that’.
3. See it again. Think ‘Can I make one and save money that way?’. If I can start the project.
4. If not. Think about how useful it would be. Agonise.
5. Start thinking up reasons it would save time and effort.
6. Buy it or forget it.

I’ve seen some beautiful scroll saw work on LJ’s. I don’t think I’m up to those standards or have that level of patience but something that can make small useful things, welll….............

Great Blog, Shiela

ps The tool collecting is probably a man thing. The one who dies with the most tools wins!

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

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9040 posts in 2385 days


#2 posted 06-10-2010 03:20 PM

OK, Martyn . . . Here’s a site that will blow your mind:

www.scrollsaws.com

Rick Hutchenson has hundreds (YES, Hundreds!) of scroll saws. He collects them and makes them too – foot powered ones made from wood! He has plans available if you are really ambitious. (But I wonder if you need a scrollsaw to make the scrollsaw? Hummm . . . .)

They call him “the animal” because he can scroll faster and more accurately than anyone most have seen. He scrolls a whole Noah’s Ark scene that you can fit on a dime! He also turns, and does just about anything woodworking (times 100!) In his spare time he teaches others to burn down buildings (he was the fire chief of Grimes, IA for a while).

You’ll want to pour yourself a cup of coffee or irish coffee and just sit back and look over his site and the scope of what he does. He was also a tester for many of the big tool companies like Delta and worked for Wood Magazine for quite a few years. And he is a funny and pleasant guy too. (No Wonder!) He has been a friend of mine since I got into this business and I just love and admire him so much (can you tell?)

I am glad you like the blog. I never know what I am going to write or if I should skip a day because I don’t want people to be bored but once I get rolling, it just flows, it seems. I guess I’ll keep writin’ as long as you’all keep a’ reading! :)

-- 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

4607 posts in 2501 days


#3 posted 06-10-2010 03:35 PM

Thanks, Shiela.

Just go with the flow.

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

View Dennisgrosen's profile

Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 2580 days


#4 posted 06-10-2010 07:13 PM

Sheila thank´s for the tip and the link
good to see there is coming pictures from you…....lol …. we just love pictures here on L J

Martyn just make a scrollsaw out of an old treadleSinger sewingmaschine
that shouldn´t be so hard to do :—))

Dennis

View BritBoxmaker's profile

BritBoxmaker

4607 posts in 2501 days


#5 posted 06-10-2010 08:27 PM

Nice one, Dennis.

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

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

115202 posts in 3042 days


#6 posted 06-10-2010 08:30 PM

Wow cool

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9040 posts in 2385 days


#7 posted 06-10-2010 08:36 PM

Here you go, guys! Dennis, you can make one too. :)

From Pedal Scroll Saw

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 Dennisgrosen's profile

Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 2580 days


#8 posted 06-10-2010 09:05 PM

that is a good one Sheila
I have seen this one before and they work very well
when you get the right tecnic (speed) with the foot
it´s already on my to do list with other footpowered tools
and the sanding maschine like Martyns
but for now I just fiddle around with the basic handtools
like cheisels , handplanes and layout tools
nearly all my shop is packed down to the day we have sold
and can move to another place

Dennis

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