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My Journey As A Scroll Saw Pattern Designer #35: Some Ornament Pictures

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 07-08-2010 12:57 PM 4575 reads 0 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 34: Taming the Deadline Beast Part 35 of My Journey As A Scroll Saw Pattern Designer series Part 36: Another Day At The Office »

Yesterday turned out to be quite a productive day. I cleared up all my correspondence and got all my cutting done and the pictures to the wholesaler and I even had a little time to paint in the evening. I even started to do some writing of the final packets I have to assemble, but I thought I would be fresher for something like that in the morning and opted with the painting.

The ornaments were quite challenging but I was able to cut them without problems. They were stack-cut with one layer of 1/8” Maple and a layer of 1/8” Baltic Birch underneath. For those of you who don’t scroll saw much, ‘stack cutting’ is when you attach two or more layers of thin wood together and cut them at the same time. There are several methods for attaching them together, and it in essence allows you to do ‘double duty’ (or triple) and cut several of the same piece at once. This is particularly beneficial when you are doing intricate things like portrait-style cuttings and ornaments. Not only does it cut your production time in half or a third (no pun intended), but it does help to stabilize thin hard wood and also offers some resistance and additional control when cutting thin wood. Even if you use a small blade, cutting one layer of 1/8” wood can be like a hot knife through butter and difficult to control. It is far better to have a couple of layers and a bit of resistance so you have to work just a little to get the blade to move exactly where you want it to. Personally, I am far more comfortable with that way of cutting.

For those of you who are interested, I do have a free downloadable article on my site which explains stack cutting in detail. Just look on the Free Pattern, Catalog and Articles page if you are interested.

The eight ornaments that I cut yesterday were the ones designed by my partner Keith. The set consists of eight inspirational words along with a small motif. The lettering he chose is very fancy and had lots of flourishes and thin wispy lines. You really had to think when cutting them. I like this kind of cutting, as it keeps your mind going the entire time you are working. Scroll sawing involves continuous decision making. As with many things, like computers, there are more than one correct path to the final destination. Choosing which direction to go first and which way to cut can make or literally break a piece you are working on. I guess that is where experience comes in.

I was thinking that if I do make it to New York for a show next year and teach a class, this would be an ideal project to demonstrate with. I would absolutely classify it as an intermediate and possibly even this side of advanced technique. It was nice though. It is days like this and projects like this where I actually feel as if I know what I am doing :) Those moments come in spurts, you know. They don’t always happen and many times aren’t even expected but there is that sweet project where everything works like it is supposed to and a small feeling of triumph overcomes us. When it happens it is great.

I am only going to show one of the ornaments here, as I think Keith will be posting the set in his own gallery later. I just wanted you to see some of what I am talking about and his nice design.

From New Ornaments

The picture isn’t great because the light was not wonderful. It does give you an idea though. The biggest challenge was cutting the flourishes on the capitol letters and not losing any corners. I also did my best not to have any ‘spin holes’ where you can see where you turned the blade and I think I was pretty successful. Although simple in many ways, I think it is a great design and I think people will like them.

My other set of ornaments (the Nativity Set) needed to be finished and photographed also. I had dipped them in mineral oil and set them on a tray to absorb the oil overnight. In the morning, I set them on paper towels and let the excess oil absorb from them and they dried a bit. when they are fully dry, I plan to spray them with a light coat of shellac. I used cherry for them, but that is also be difficult to tell in the picture. Again, by the time I did the photograph, the sun was in a place where the lighting wasn’t what I wanted. I just wanted to get general pictures to the wholesaler so she can see what they are about.

The nativity set is what I would call a beginner to intermediate project. It is funny, but when I design easier projects such as this, I always feel as if I am kind of cheating. However, if people are to try to start scroll sawing and if we are to make our industry grow, I think it is important to offer nice, entry level projects that people can accomplish quickly and successfully so that they want to continue to try. Everything can’t be a masterpiece. As a matter of fact, I created this set of ornaments because I had made a similar set last year of the 12 Days of Christmas and they turned out to be a really good seller. Below is the Partridge in a Pear Tree from that set:

From New Ornaments

The new set, again isn’t photographed how I would like it to be. I am going to re-shoot them before I put them in my gallery later on today when the light is more favorable. But in any case, here is the entire set:

From New Ornaments

I call them beginner level but Keith my partner said they should be more intermediate. He believes that keeping the line width consistent could be a challenge to beginners. I don’t really think it will be a problem, as I left them thick enough to allow for errors and a little deviation from the actual lines shouldn’t impair the overall appearance. I think it is a good skill-building project and as I said before – ornaments are like little mini-projects so people are more likely to try them. If they mess one up, there is far less time and material wasted than if they were doing a larger project. Besides, learning isn’t wasting anyway, is it?

It is good to have someone newer around to point things out to me. I have been doing this so long that I tend to take certain things for granted and having another set of ‘new eyes’ here to see things from another perspective is certainly helpful when I am trying to create something for many people. I guess that is why I like teaching so much. The questions brought up by the students tend to point out things that I may otherwise take for granted and remind me that certain things need to be explained. That is a great help me and helps to make me a better designer.

So today, beside the photography, it is back to writing instructions. I have about five or six new patterns to make into packets and then I can put them on the site. I am hoping to update the site by the weekend with all the new patterns and also a free segmentation ornament for download. I also have a couple of new mini-articles I would like to post there. (Yes, even I can write a ‘mini-article’! Hard to believe, I bet! :)

I hope you enjoy the ornaments. As always, any thoughts are appreciated. I hope to get them in the gallery by later this afternoon. People are going to think I am nuts posting all this holiday stuff now. Oh well, we all know better, right? ;)

Have a great day!

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



14 comments so far

View BritBoxmaker's profile

BritBoxmaker

4370 posts in 1692 days


#1 posted 07-08-2010 02:02 PM

That Partridge looks a particularly intricate and difficult piece, Sheila. I’d probably break it before I finished it.

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

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7660 posts in 1575 days


#2 posted 07-08-2010 02:10 PM

Morning, Martyn! Really it is quite easy. Remember the blade is only about a hair thickness – not very ferocious. You drill entry holes first and cut the innermost holes first, keeping the piece stable for as long as possible. Most of the holes in this are rounded so there are few sharp corners to consider. It is much easier than it looks. Also, it is best to start with 1/8” ply, as it is much stronger than hard wood. You would be amazed how strong the piece is.

I think if you tried it, you would like it. You are a detail type of guy and I think you would do this well. :)

-- 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 tyskkvinna's profile

tyskkvinna

1308 posts in 1641 days


#3 posted 07-08-2010 02:56 PM

I LOVE that partridge ornament, and the nativity series. That’s a style I totally groove with!

-- Lis - Michigan - http://www.missmooseart.com - https://www.etsy.com/people/lisbokt

View BritBoxmaker's profile

BritBoxmaker

4370 posts in 1692 days


#4 posted 07-08-2010 03:46 PM

The last time I got ‘tempted’ by something on LJ’s it was cutting boards. I’m still fighting that addiction! lol

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

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7660 posts in 1575 days


#5 posted 07-08-2010 03:48 PM

“Step into my web!” said the spider to the fly . . . . .

What’s another little addiction anyway? ? ?

:)

-- 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

4370 posts in 1692 days


#6 posted 07-08-2010 04:04 PM

About £80 entry level for a cheap scroll saw!
Although I have got a box design it might come in handy for.
Dammit level 2 on the path to acquisition!

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

View tyskkvinna's profile

tyskkvinna

1308 posts in 1641 days


#7 posted 07-08-2010 04:08 PM

hahahaha Martyn! :)

(I also think you’d be really good at it…! )

(runs away :) )

-- Lis - Michigan - http://www.missmooseart.com - https://www.etsy.com/people/lisbokt

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7660 posts in 1575 days


#8 posted 07-08-2010 04:09 PM

Seriously, if you are thinking of getting one, talk to me first or I can send you to a site of a man I know who has loads of information on them. Cheaper isn’t always the way to go, like with any tool. You don’t have to spend a fortune either though for a decent saw that will work well. If you get one that is too inferior, you will be discouraged and the whole thing will be a waste!

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 BertFlores58's profile

BertFlores58

1646 posts in 1577 days


#9 posted 07-08-2010 04:16 PM

Shiela,
You really have excellent control cutting the detailed corners and curves. Just on your scroll journey, have you noticed that it is already part 34 in 40 days. That means you got on 6 days rest in 40 days.. I am sure you got a lot of patience… I like the Nativity and Partridge.

-- Bert

View BritBoxmaker's profile

BritBoxmaker

4370 posts in 1692 days


#10 posted 07-08-2010 04:21 PM

Sheila, I need to think it over for a bit. Thanks.

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

View woodbutcher's profile

woodbutcher

592 posts in 2821 days


#11 posted 07-08-2010 04:37 PM

scrollgirl,

Those are some very nice projects, all three in thier own right! I especially like the “HOPE” ornament. Probably because I see where it can be cut with just 6 entry holes and would be fairly quick to do. I assume that the rest of that series will include something like—Faith-Charity-Love and I’m left to imagine from there!!! The Nativity set makes me think, that I’m in for an all day cutting session and better be extremely carefull when cutting the “Cow” and “Donkey”, these certainly should be stack cut for safety purposes. Your Partridge really shows off the experience you posses in that the eveness of lines and continuity flow easily through out the cutting. Just great work all the way around. Thanks for sharing.

Sincerely,
Ken McGinnis

-- woodbutcher north carolina

View Bearpie's profile

Bearpie

2587 posts in 1673 days


#12 posted 07-08-2010 06:21 PM

Sheila, These are really good and tell Keith he did a fantastic job on the HOPE ornament. I would love to see the rest of that set. I do have a Hegner scroll saw that is not seeing much use lately.

Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7660 posts in 1575 days


#13 posted 07-08-2010 06:34 PM

To Bert – yes, since I started this I have just about wrote every day. I always think I am going to miss a day and I just start writing. It seems to have become a morning habit for me. I didn’t even realize the number until you pointed it out. I guess my book is well on its way! LOL

Martyn – I was only funning with you! I know your plate is full and you have lots to do! I am not trying to push you into anything. Just a little good-natured kidding :)

Ken – the set of 8 with the “Hope” ornaments took me about 3 hours to cut. I had some nice music on and it was really relaxing. I did take my time on it. The 13 Nativity pieces took me about 2-3 hours too. If you have the grain in the proper direction (horizontal on the animals) they are amazingly sturdy, even in hard wood. Trick here is to use a tight grained wood such as Maple or Cherry. I don’t think Oak would stand up to this type of design because it is pretty porous. I usually suggest types of wood in the instructions. I wish I were there to show everyone that they are really not that hard to do. People suggested videos and maybe they are in the works in the future. I see Stevemarin’s videos with his antiquated scroll saw with the horse blade in it and I cringe! I have the highest admiration possible for him being able to cut with it. It is like working with a band saw! Most of the modern saws cut so nicely that you never need to sand the edge. They almost look polished. I guess the right equipment is a big factor.

And to Bearpie – The fog has lifted here and it is beautifully sunny out. I am going to retake all the pictures and have Keith post them in his gallery, and I will also repost the Nativity. I will have the patterns finished and up on my site by the weekend.

I hope that answers everyone. Back to work for me! (fade to the sound of a cracking whip in the background!)

-- 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 Handi75's profile

Handi75

371 posts in 2130 days


#14 posted 10-29-2010 05:41 PM

Shelia,

These are Very nice Patterns. I love the cuts.

Handi

-- Jimmy "Handi" Warner, http://www.facebook.com/HandisWorkshop, http://www.facebook.com/HandisCreations, Twitter: @Handisworkshop, @HandisCreations

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