My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #324: Still Learning

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 04-29-2011 02:23 PM 5230 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 323: Concerned About My Friends Part 324 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 325: I Am Kind of Exasperated Today »

I awoke at my usual six a.m. this morning, only to come out on the couch and promptly fall asleep while cuddling my dear kitty Richard. Now I am slightly behind in doing what I wanted to do.

Oh, well. I suppose it happens to everyone from time to time. The previous night was restless because I was worrying about my friends so I suppose that I am making up for it.

I heard from both Bob (Grizzman) and Leldon yesterday and I was very relieved that neither of them or their families were harmed. The brunt of the storm missed the area around Grizzman, thankfully and Leldon’s home as well as the homes of his family members were spared as well. His cousin’s home had a tree fall on it, but all are well.

When I spoke to Leldon, he was up near Tennessee trying to buy gas with a friend. He said there were only about three gas stations open in Cullman and the lines were horrendous. His father went to Tennessee also to purchase a generator and the family is going to pool their resources with them until things improve. It looks as if there will be no electricity for a week or so, so things won’t even start to get back to any semblance of normal for a while. He promised to check in periodically via his iphone and on his facebook page.

I managed to get my pattern not only drawn up, but also cut out. This idea is a little simpler than what I have been designing lately, but it is also a lot of fun. The cutting itself took only about an hour. I used the oak that I had worked on the other day and everything went without incident. I had spent a bit of extra time adjusting things to make sure they will fit alright before actually pulling out the wood and making it. I believe that the effort paid off, as when I dry fitted the pieces, they seem like they will be problem free.

I had learned something while teaching at the show that I wanted to share with you. I always say that I learn something new every time I teach and this was no exception.

For years now I have used temporary adhesive to glue a copy of the pattern directly onto the wood for cutting. As you realize, there are so many lines in scroll sawing that tracing over them accurately is nearly impossible. This is a generally accepted method of applying the pattern to the wood for cutting. Additionally, I also then after the pattern is in place apply a layer of clear packaging tape over the wood which assists in keeping the wood from burning during cutting. Something about the adhesive lubricating the blade and keeping it running cooler. In any case, it has always worked for me and it is something that I do religiously.

The problem is with this method, the spray glue can sometimes be fussy. Using temporary spray adhesive and getting it to work perfectly every time can be a challenge. If you don’t wait long enough after spraying (usually around 20 seconds) and put the pattern on the wood too soon, it can be very difficult to remove. If you wait too long and the spray loses its tack, the pattern will be flapping and coming up as you are cutting – which as you can imagine can be very frustrating.

When I first began scrollsawing, this was one of the most difficult aspects of the entire process. There are days when I still encounter problems.

But while teaching last month, I was told by some that they use a layer of blue painters tape and apply that to the wood before spray gluing on the pattern. Not only does this provide the same lubrication that the packaging tape provides, but it also allows for lifting the pattern off the wood quickly and without incident when you are finished cutting, yet it doesn’t peel up during the cutting process. It is consistently reliable and something that had never occurred to me.

Some say that the extra cost of the tape is prohibitive, as it is slightly more expensive than using the clear packaging tape, but I fail to see any savings if you are trying to cut on a pattern that is falling off or spending a lot of extra time scraping the pattern off the delicate pieces of fretwork you just spend hours cutting. To me it is a no brain-er.

I first tried this method on my Rocking Reindeer pattern last week and I was quite impressed. After fifteen plus years of scroll sawing, I found myself asking why I didn’t think of this myself and do it this way sooner. It just goes to show that there is always something to learn.

I plan to start mentioning this in my instructions and I am even going to make a short video and put it in my video library for the new comers. I figure if the information eluded me for all these years, how many others are struggling out there with the same issues I had using the other method? I want to get word out.

Today I will be shaping and sanding and assembling my new project. I am thoroughly excited about it and having a wonderful time seeing it come to life. Here is a “teaser” picture to show you part of it:

Again, I can’t wait to see it finished. Doing projects such as these are fun and exciting. It is going to be a good day.

Have a wonderful Friday.

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

6 comments so far

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3170 days

#1 posted 04-29-2011 03:35 PM

thankĀ“s for the update about Grizzman and Leldon
good to hear they are alright

great little tip with the bluetape :-)

take care

View Verna's profile


202 posts in 2828 days

#2 posted 04-29-2011 04:03 PM

Sheila, yes, thanks for the update about Grizzman and Leldon. Terrible, terrible destruction.

I’ve used the painter’s tape under the pattern for a number of years with great success. It started out as an alternative to have to use a “chemical” to adhere my pattern to the wood. I absolutely hate the smell of the spray adhesives and they do tend to give me a horrible headache. And, about the same time as I started using the blue tape, I also started using glue sticks to adhere my pattern to the blue tape. NO ODORS!!!! I love it.

So, call it “self-preservation”, “green”, or just call it “Verna doesn’t like those strong odors”. Blue painter’s tape on the wood, glue stick to the back of the pattern and clear packing tape on top. AND, I sure can tell the difference if I forget to put the clear packing tape on top—that lubication helps a lot.

-- Verna -- Indianapolis, IN

View Rick13403's profile


256 posts in 3559 days

#3 posted 04-29-2011 04:20 PM

Hi Sheila, I’ve been using the blue tape for quite awhile too. I saw a tip in one of the craft magazines and also use the glue stick and after your class in March added the clear packing tape too. It really does help.

-- Rick - DeWalt 788 & Ex21 -

View BigTiny's profile


1676 posts in 2943 days

#4 posted 04-29-2011 04:22 PM

When cutting stacks of veneer, a lot of the guys who do marquetry put waxed paper between the leaves to lube the blade and it seems to work well for them. For thin sets, they sometimes use a layer of cardboard on the back to support it along with the waxed paper.

This idea might be useful in certain cutting situations for the scrolling fraternity here.

-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

View huntter2022's profile


275 posts in 2670 days

#5 posted 04-29-2011 06:01 PM

I use the blue and green painters tape mostly blue . Glue sticks I get them at the dollar store in a package of 3 and use on my smaller patterns the bigger patterns like 8×10 I use spray but keep that glue stick handy if the pattern lifts up just dab it and cut away. package tape I use on hardwoods and thick wood.


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

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2974 days

#6 posted 04-30-2011 02:01 AM

Yes! Where have I been? How did I miss the ‘blue tape’ tip for all these years?? I still find that on some hard wood I like to put the packaging tape on top also, but for most things I don’t really even find it necessary anymore. And the peeling off of the pattern is so much easier. It just makes the whole job much, much better! I haven’t tried the glue sticks, but i will when I get a chance. At least for the small projects. :)

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

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