My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #322: More Cutting

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 04-27-2011 01:21 PM 4371 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 321: I Need Some Advice from You Part 322 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 323: Concerned About My Friends »

I want to start off by thanking everyone for their help on the oak pieces. I was glad to hear that the problem could be solved and worked on the two pieces yesterday.

I made a bleach/water solution and put the board in the shower and sprayed them liberally with the mixture. I let it set for a bit, and then used a small scrub brush to work it in further. After a couple of hours, I rinsed them and allowed them to dry in a well-ventilated place.

They really do look much better. By the time I cut the pieces I need from them and do the shaping and sanding that I intended to do, there should be no traces of stains on them at all.

I learned something too. I was afraid that the boards were moldy and if I didn’t kill it all it would just creep back and grow again. But looking at what I was dealing with, I think that it is just stained, as the darkness doesn’t seem to penetrate the wood at all. By the time I am finished with the project, there should be no evidence of it left at all, and I can feel confident that it won’t turn dark later on. I really do appreciate your advice.

I discovered that there are some problems with the web site. Apparently when you are on the home page, you can click on any category on the left side and get to that page. Once you are off the home page though and on a different page, you are unable to do so and whatever you click on from the side menu comes up blank. You need to do everything from the home page and keep going back to it if you want to navigate around the site.

It took about two hours of talking to people, both with online chat and also on the phone to figure out that the problem was on their side and not mine. It is very frustrating because I was alerted to the problem by a customer and wasn’t even aware of it.

In speaking with the representative from tech support from the site, he was just hearing about it over there and it is apparently widespread and not just particular to my site. I was told they are working on it and are trying to fix it as quickly as possible, but as of this morning there is still problems with it. We put a message at the top of the home page so customers are aware of the issue, but it is quite irritating nonetheless.

I am really losing confidence in the hosts of the site. It seems that every month there are issues with them. My only alternative would be to hire a web designer and redo the site from scratch – something that I don’t have the money or time to do right now. Also, that would have its own issues, I am sure. This is a clear example of having to choose my battles. There are so many deadlines in front of us right now that setting up a website is something that would be impossible to do. Just switching software with this server last October took the better part of a month. We just can’t afford to spend more time on doing it all over again.

So for now, I need to focus on other things. At least the problem was somewhat global within the server’s company so hopefully it would be resolved soon. I would worry more if it were “just me”.

Besides working on the two oak boards and figuring out the problems with the site, I was able to finish drawing and cut out my next candle tray for the magazine. I was starting to think that the day would be a wash when at one in the afternoon I still hadn’t fired up the saw yet and had to rework some of the candle tray design on the computer. But fortunately, everything seemed to fall into place in the afternoon and I was able to get what I wanted to completed.

Below is a picture of the finished tray:

From "Secret" Christmas Projects . . (shhhh!)

The wood I chose for it is sepele. I love the coloring and also the tight, yet varied grain of it. I finished it with mineral oil, further bringing out the grain.

From "Secret" Christmas Projects . . (shhhh!)

Once again, I was amazed and thrilled at the difference in using my new saw. It is truly profound. I realize that the Excalibur saw is a couple hundred of dollars more expensive than the DeWalt, so it may not be a completely fair comparison, but had I known that there would be such a huge difference in my cutting I would have scrimped and saved in order to purchase this saw a long time ago.

I attached the rubber “feet” to the bottom of the saw, removing them from the legs of the stand since, for now at least, I am leaving the saw on the cabinet and not using the stand. That made a big difference I felt in the amount of vibration and noise that the saw produced. There was less than the DeWalt even when these feet were not in place and by installing them, it brought the level down again significantly.

One of the other things that I really noticed was the lack of front to back movement of the blade, which I mentioned before. This allowed for absolute pinpoint pivoting of the piece and complete control. Holding down the work was accomplished by lightly holding my fingertips in place using very little pressure, without fear of the piece jumping up and chattering. I am going to make a short video to show this as soon as I get caught up with things, as I feel it is something that is very important.

I am getting used to the blade change and overall set up, and I no longer feel awkward as I felt in the beginning. I never had to adjust the tension at all during the entire project. The overall time that it took me to cut this piece was exactly the length of a double record album (Pink Floyd, The Wall), as I just finished peeling off the final pieces of the patterns as the disk ended. It wasn’t as if I was hurrying either. This saw does top out at a slower speed than my DeWalt did and is much less aggressive due to the lack of front to back motion of the blade. However, the smoothness and control more than made up for the slower speed and made the entire experience pure pleasure (along with the music!). I was never one to aim for speed anyway.

Even maneuvering through the sled runners and antlers was pleasant and I experienced no stress whatsoever doing so. I felt fully in control and able to follow the lines exactly.

Can you tell I like this saw?

I was actually a bit sad when I was finished cutting. I was thinking I was going to re-cut the Wright Inspired Candle Tray (the geometric one) just to see how much difference there would be this time around. It would be interesting to see.

So today will be finishing up and hopefully drawing the next design up. I am really looking forward to seeing that one come to life too. I am truly excited about my work and all the nice new tools I have to use in creating. It is days such as these when I can’t wait to get up in the morning to get started. What a good place to be!

Have a great one!

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

4 comments so far

View huntter2022's profile


275 posts in 2671 days

#1 posted 04-27-2011 03:09 PM

Sheila that looks very nice , Good to hear your able to use the oak . Glad you liking your new saw , have you tried any bevel cuts yet. You are going to be very happy. have a good productive day

-- David ; "BE SAFE BE HAPPY" Brockport , NY

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2976 days

#2 posted 04-27-2011 03:27 PM

Yes, Dave. I needed to do the bevel cut for the tray. I forgot to mention that. It was much easier doing a circle on a level table than one at an angle. I do find, however, that it is absolutely necessary to use a square to bring the blade back to an exact 90 degrees. There is no ‘set point’ like the DeWalt had. But I just keep one handy. It is best to check anyway.


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

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3171 days

#3 posted 04-28-2011 12:51 AM

:-) you realy have made the sledge runners delikat
something I didn´t noticed on the old saw ….......maybee just me that see it first time now
but I think your work will bee alot more to the difficult side in the furture in the way it will
have an easyer tendency to crack if people isn´t carefully slow when they saw your patterns :-)

but I think its alright becourse both you and I gess your costummer is ready for them
as we have talked about before ….. something for every skill-level and patience

it so great to hear your enthusiasm when it comes to designing again and sawing with this saw
even though you have talked so much about trying to incoperate lathework and using the lathe
I´ll bett it will take along time before you will do it … like that new saw tooo much …..LOL
I think you need to find out when the saw and you are on the wrong side of the edge before
you are ready to moove on to new instruments :-)

it will be queit a jurney to follow here at the sideline ….nock them down girl :-)
and lets see if you two together can make a big 12 tone symfoni for the New York philharmonic

have a great evening :-)

View BertFlores58's profile


1698 posts in 2978 days

#4 posted 04-28-2011 01:19 AM

I agree with you Dennis of integrating all the skills that Sheila possesses because it makes the product a very expensive item. (If your are selling what you produce). However, that extraordinary design will limit the buyability… experts are the only willing to buy the pattern and it needs a really good marketing strategy.

Sheila, I love the way you had increased the difficulty in your work. There is a good way of attracting expert to be interested. On your last paragraph… why not play a CZARDAS song, any version. The 3 part music is like what you do… The easy, the medium, the hard… The melow, the quick, the quickest.. ... most important is .. THESE 3 ARE IN 1 SONG. THE WORKPIECE (Sapele), THE WORKER (Sheila), AND THE WORKHORSE (THE EXCALIBUR)... working as one.

-- Bert

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