My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #14: Back to Work . .

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 06-16-2010 01:43 PM 4693 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 13: Is The Customer Really ALWAYS Right? Part 14 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 15: The Business Side of Woodworking - Risk Taken/Lesson Learned »

First of all, I want to thank everyone for their input from yesterdays blog. I read all your thoughts and carefully considered everything that was said. The thing about working on my own the way I do is that sometimes it is hard to see all sides of things. I have three cats here who I consider ‘co-workers’ – although their jobs are more of the ornamental variety, and a partner who is kind of too close to the situation to give a good unbiased opinion. I guess that is why I brought it up here. I needed some good feedback from others who are in similar positions just so I could get a better handle on things. I find this forum very valuable for that purpose. It is filled with people who have experience and are willing to share that with others, as well as their opinions. Thank you for that. :)

I came to the conclusion that I need a ‘delay’ button in my head. Kind of like what they use in TV and radio. Only mine should be a ‘sleep on it’ button and then take action (if any) in the morning. I do feel my reaction was kind of justified, but it probably didn’t need any action taken. I liked the suggestion of thanking the customer if anything and getting on with it. I can’t help but think if it weren’t at 11:30 at night and I was fresher that that would have been what I would have done, as I have done that in the past. That or nothing at all (aside from removing him).

Nevertheless, what is done is done. I certainly filed in my mind your thoughts and suggestions and will refer to them the next time a situation like this occurs. I do think I learned something and that is what is important. Matter closed. :)

I made good strides yesterday. I still have some writing and paperwork to do today, but I needed a day to smell the sawdust and MAKE something. I am still in the drawing stages of my own new designs, but my partner, Keith had a set of frames that he drew that needed cutting. I usually don’t cut his stuff or he mine, because we both like the sense of accomplishment of completing our own projects. However, he has been working longer hours on his other job and was happy when I offered to cut for him.

These three frames were inspired by the tray and frame that I did last week. Since the magazine scooped them up, we are going to be coming out with several other similar designs that can be used as both trays (by bevel cutting the center so it pushes out) or picture frames. This set has the same theme of the design throughout the different shapes so they make a matching set. They are about 7” in diameter and a great relaxing project to cut.

I played some good music from the 70’s and spent pretty much the entire day cutting. It was like feeding my soul!

I took some pictures of the process because I wanted to show you how I route the edges. As many of you saw from my shop pictures, I have very limited space here. I choose my tools very carefully and try to do things that I can accomplish in the space I have. I am not a big girl, and at this time I don’t do many large projects, so I mainly use a Porter-Cable laminate trimmer for all my routing.

The setup I made for it is a bit unique, but very functional and compact. It does the job for me.

The first picture shows the basic setup. I made a base for the laminate trimmer to fit in so it will operate like a small router table. I just took a piece of plywood and drilled a hole that exactly fits the round base of the trimmer. It pushes in snugly and is quite stable.

From Laminate Trimmer setup

I also replaced the top plate with a jig I made of MDF. For the small things I do, this is plenty of surface for me to work with. I can even route 2.5” ornaments on this without a problem.

From Laminate Trimmer setup

I use a Freud bit and collar system for doing rabbits. I usually only want about 1/8” or so, so this is the configuration that I use most of the time. This was a test cut on a scrap from one of the frames. I always test cut, especially when I am routing a rabbit on the back side and a round over on the front. I need to make sure that after rabbiting to the thickness I need, there is enough material for the bearing to safely ride on when rounding over the front of the frame.

From Laminate Trimmer setup

The inside rabbit is done first, and then I round over the outer and inner edges of the frame. I leave the pattern in place while doing this, as it is easier than removing and trying to replace it for the scroll saw work.

From Laminate Trimmer setup

After all the routing is done, it’s off to the scroll saw. Common sense tells us that we need to route before scrolling, as the frames are much weaker after the scrolling is done. Now it is time to turn up the music and have some FUN! Many are intimidated by scroll work, but like any project you need to look at it one hole at a time. Take breaks if you get tired or antsy. It really is quite relaxing when you get into the rhythm of it!

From Laminate Trimmer setup

And about six or seven hours later – three matching frames! Now these are just off the saw. They still need their finish sanding and finish applied. I am not sure if I want to put oil on them again (they are cherry) but I think I will. I like that procedure lately and think it really does a great job. I will post the frames in the project gallery as soon as I get them looking better and finished.

From Laminate Trimmer setup

I hope you liked seeing how I do my routing. I love my little laminate trimmer and it has served me well. Even if you have a big router table set up, it would be a nice little side router for your smaller and more delicate projects.

It is back to writing today and I want to do the finish on the frames. I have three articles to organize and polish and I would love to wrap them up today. I talked to my editor yesterday and I am good on time and he seemed excited that I was sending articles with the projects. It is good to surprise him and send more than he expects!

Have a great day everyone and keep those projects coming! :)

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

9 comments so far

View Cozmo35's profile


2200 posts in 3034 days

#1 posted 06-16-2010 02:33 PM

Very cool idea! I may build one of these for myself. Thanks for posting it!

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

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3302 days

#2 posted 06-16-2010 03:31 PM

its really nice to see your process and the tools your using..and great that you have done what it takes to work on your type of wood work…of coarse big routers have there place, but the small ones or the laminate is very useful for the smaller ones…sure glad they were invented…i admire the work you do on the scroll saw…im not sure i could muster the patience of so many small cuts..i guess because im use to much larger projects ..well keep the blogs coming…....

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 2984 days

#3 posted 06-16-2010 04:22 PM

that is a really clever setup! I’ve been trying to figure out how to do a tiny router table for my scale work and this looks just perfect. (makes mental note)

-- Lis - Michigan - -

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9228 posts in 2918 days

#4 posted 06-16-2010 04:34 PM

Oh, it’s great, Lis! I have the large hole in the plate to accommodate the ogee bit that I use on frames quite often, but if you want to do smaller stuff, the hole doesn’t have to be that big. (You could even make another plate for smaller bits, as it removes with a couple of screws, and switch them out as needed) Like I said, I have routed small ornaments with no problem. It is a lot less aggressive then a full-size router and to me, safer. You just need to be patient and take several small passes rather than trying to do it all at once. That doesn’t look like it will be a problem for you. I look at my first pass or so as “practice”, as the final pass and profile is what counts. :)

I am glad it gave you some ideas! :)


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

View hairy's profile


2703 posts in 3530 days

#5 posted 06-16-2010 04:36 PM

When you get that delay function figured out, will you pass it on?

That would save me a lot of grief!

I’ve been waiting for the right project to try scrolling, I know that one of your ideas will get me moving. Thanks for showing the process.

-- My reality check bounced...

View GregD's profile


788 posts in 3134 days

#6 posted 06-16-2010 06:11 PM

Working in isolation gets tough at times. I work for a very large company, but I’ve spent a lot of years working on a team where everyone else worked somewhere else (out-of-state, overseas). When you are alone it is hard to keep a balanced perspective. I recommend that you find some humans other than your partner that you have frequent, casual chats with that include work-related stuff.

I like your work. I like your site – but more, larger pictures would make me even more interested.

The picture with your hand at work at the scroll saw is special. It speaks to me.

-- Greg D.

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9228 posts in 2918 days

#7 posted 06-16-2010 06:20 PM

Thanks, Greg. You are right about diversifying, it is part of why I belong to a couple of groups. I also have lots of facebook friends from all over the US and some other countries which include woodworking friends (that I actually know face-to-face), my painting friends, and my kids and their friends, as well as personal friends. I find that it is a fun way to keep up on a daily basis. I live here in a quiet area where the nearest larger town is about an hour away, so socializing in that way isn’t really possible. As I said before though, that is OK. I like the peace and I do plan nice road trips to get away.

I am glad you like the site. The pictures there are small for two reasons – first, the site is on a template and has restrictions. I am looking to change to a site that I can build from scratch how I want. I started with this site 8 years ago and knew nothing about HTML so it worked for me. Secondly, unfortunately if the pictures are too large, many people just copy them and also copy the designs. This is especially true for the 2-D type scroll work which is much of what I sell. I have seen many friends who were designers have to close up shop because people were right-clicking and copying their designs. It is sad, but I either have to skew them, which makes them look even worse many times, or be careful at the size I present them. I guess it is the way of the world. :(

I appreciate your insights very much. Thanks!


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

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3035 days

#8 posted 06-16-2010 08:19 PM

Interesting stuff but keep your fingers away from that router bit (he can talk I can hear you thinking) because size is not the issue, fast rotating sharp objects is. I know I rarely use guards but I go through loads of push sticks, cheaper than fingers and replaceable. Ironically I find not using a guard makes me sharper around power tools.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View GregD's profile


788 posts in 3134 days

#9 posted 06-16-2010 09:07 PM

I wasn’t thinking about the router, Martyn, good catch. Sheila, please reconsider a router table with insert rings, and a freehand guard – something like this one: That laminate trimmer has more than enough power to do some serious damage to your fingers – I don’t see why it wouldn’t be exactly as scary as a 3hp monster.

Your setup looks stable, yes, because the table top is not much more than a slightly oversized router base. But it would be easy to tip over if something unexpected happens. Strange things do seem to happen every once in a while, and when they do I think you’d want the sharp spinning thing to stay put. At least consider clamping it down. Better, I would think, would be even a 1ft square of MDF supported by 2 sides (or 4 legs) so the footprint contacting the bench = the table top.

And no bit guard? Come on now. Once you set things up for it, using one will be no more trouble than wearing safety glasses.

If you need more motivation, think “dust control”. Don’t you hate the mess that your router makes?

-- Greg D.

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