My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #327: A New Opportunity

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 05-02-2011 01:13 PM 3296 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 326: I Finished My New Project! Part 327 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 328: A Pretty Good Day »

Yesterday seemed to go by very quickly. I spent the day writing the instructions for my two projects that are going to the magazine for the holiday issue. I am pretty much finished up though and the package will be ready to be picked up today or tomorrow. They should have it by the end of the week.

Writing instructions is a very important part of my job and it takes a great amount of time. The more I talk with and answer questions for people, I become more aware of what information to offer people in writing my instructions. There are certain things that I take for granted sometimes and with talking to people, especially those who are new to scroll sawing, it makes me realize that I cannot just assume that everyone knows the basic steps and I need to include more of them in the instructions. I would rather err on the side of providing too much information than not enough.

I realize also that many other designers offer little in the line of instructions. Their words are few and they rely on the customer to know what they are doing. I think however, that this prohibits many people who are perhaps newer to scroll sawing and may even frustrate them if they don’t fully understand the process. If we are going to encourage new people to do this type of woodworking, I feel it is necessary to offer the most basic steps so they they feel comfortable from the beginning and want to continue to work in this branch. After all, I want this to be FUN for people.

That brings me to the topic of teaching and videos. As I stated yesterday, I am in the process of planning a online class here at LJ’s which will teach the basics of scroll sawing. Unlike many other aspects of woodworking, scroll sawing is actually quite simple. There is little needed for set up besides the saw, blade and wood and a few extra accessories. It isn’t like Jordan’s shoe class where people were taught several different techniques on one object. With scroll sawing it is kind of a matter of putting the blade in and cutting. When you break it down, it is actually quite simple.

What is confusing to people it seems is how to get started. Choosing blade size, speed, wood thickness as well as applying the pattern, stack cutting and type of wood seems to be the most common issues that are brought up to me. Also, there are many different models of scroll saws and sometimes they operate in very different ways. Installing the blade and blade tension are just two examples. Both of these operations can be extremely different depending on which saw you own.

I needed to think about how I would be able to teach all of these things in an organized and comprehensive way that most will be able to understand and implement, no matter what kind of saw they are working with. I have come to the conclusion that it will be necessary to have a series of short videos to go along with the classes and highlight many different specific techniques and operations.

Although this may not encompass every issue that people may have, I think it will be the best bet to cover the most common questions and give the clearest picture of the varying techniques on the scroll saw. Although I am quite new to videos, I believe that people will want to learn and perhaps overlook my cinematic shortcomings for the sake of learning. I also believe that by teaching this class, as with all classes, I will also learn many new things from people and be a better designer and teacher because of it.

I am beginning to map out in my head the project(s) that I will be presenting for the class. Naturally, this course will be geared to the beginners, with the hopes of enticing all those who have told me that they have scroll saws collecting dust in the corners of their shops to drag them out and dust them off and have a little fun with them. Besides the intricate fretwork you would usually associate with using the scroll saw, I find many other uses for it in other types of woodworking.

So I am beginning to get somewhat excited about it all and the prospects that will come with doing a class such as this. I will be working on it and planning in between my other things for the next few weeks and preparing what will hopefully be a fun and interesting venture that everyone will enjoy. I look at it as a wonderful opportunity for all of us. I hope it encourages you to step out of your comfort zone and learn something new.

I will appreciate your input on what you may want to see or learn. Although I may not be able to cover every single issue, hearing from you will help me map out a plan that will address the most common questions and encourage other. Please feel free to let me know what you think. I will do my best to work it in.

With that said, it is on to new ventures today. I had some nice suggestions regarding my horse, and I think I will stain his saddle brown, as suggested. I also think I will attach a pull cord. These touches will be nice to finish him off.

I then have a project to do for my friend Bernie that I need to accomplish today. If I can get that behind me, I will have a clean slate to start something new tomorrow. I already have some ideas of new things.

I hope you have a great day today. Unlike my friends in the States, spring has been kind to us here. The sun is shining and it is warm and beautiful out. It truly helps make the day pleasant.

Happy Monday!

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

5 comments so far

View patron's profile


13604 posts in 3341 days

#1 posted 05-02-2011 01:46 PM

hi sheila
i look forward to your instructional classes too

your compassion and kind manner is a plus
that comes across quite well
giving encouragement to leery beginners

i find it is so much easier to do mock-ups
and take pictures to help instruct
even to some of the vague questions i find here on LJ’s

talking instructions can be interpreted in so many different ways
and someone that is hazy to begin with
seems to keep on being hazy through the responses
asking more and more convoluted questions
so i just grab the camera
and go in the shop and grab some scrap pieces
and arrange them to look like real work
and take picture with a few words of explanations
for each one
it takes open minded students to grasp the new (to them)
some just keep throwing up more questions
even though they are the seekers
like they just want your instructions to fit their
already flawed and incomplete views

i try to give my help in such a way that anyone can grasp the concepts
even if they are just surfing through

your passion for scrolling
and people in general
are your best helpers
if someone can’t learn from you
it is their restrictive thinking
not your lack of knowledge or support
that is the problem

good luck with those site guys today
it is their job to help
not make excuses for their shoddy ways
without you they would be flipping burgers for a living
make them do their job
thank you and good morning

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View ShopTinker's profile


884 posts in 2768 days

#2 posted 05-02-2011 03:06 PM

Sheila, I’m really looking forward to this class. This project sounds perfect for me. I have a Craftsman Scroll (20”?) Saw that I received as a present 10 years ago and it’s still in the box. I have a beautiful 1960’s era Delta 24” Scroll Saw. I’ve had it for a couple of years now. It sits in the corner for me to admire. I’ve never gotten around to buying any blades for it or trying it out. I looked for blades when I first got the saw and decided to buy blades when I had a project to do. I never had a need, that I know of, to use a scroll saw so I’ve never taken the time to learn how to use it. I’m not sure that I have the aptitude for cutting hundreds of little holes.

I like your horse pull toy. I can see myself cutting out that horse, but I don’t know about those wheels.

What blades should I buy as a good assortment to have on hand? I’m assuming that the same rules or recommendation for TPI apply as they do for a bandsaw or any other saw.

-- Dan - Valparaiso, Indiana, "A smart man changes his mind, a fool never does."

View huntter2022's profile


275 posts in 2615 days

#3 posted 05-02-2011 04:48 PM

Sheila ,
I have been scrolling for alot years now , but will look forward to your classes. I’m sure I will be able to pick something up as we all have are own way of doing things . It may not be the best way to do it and by hearing and see other options may make it easier to do . For your choice of class Choosing blade size, speed, wood thickness as well as applying the pattern, stack cutting and type of wood . I think maybe adding For a beginner , #1 would be saw set-up , if this is not right would make a bad experience in scrolling. and READ YOUR MANUAL Keep it in a safe place! I know your probably saying ya ya whatever.
There is alot of info in there. There is routine maintenance , troubleshooting, part list , and contact info.

ShopTinker, For blades , this is a presonal preference. After you have sawed for awhile you will have your choose of blade . For me it is Flying Dutchman blades . they have a assortment pack
I use mostly #5 ultra reverse But also have some spiral blades , and puzzle
Then there are the blades that have been given to me (all different sizes and brands) There are people like Shelia that I believe uses Olson , which I have used and didn’t care for Pégas blades , I have only used the Jewelers’ Saw Blades and fine they are nice for cutting coins

Dan get that saw out and clean the dust off and Shelia will have you cutting in no time .

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

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3115 days

#4 posted 05-02-2011 09:37 PM

when it comes to designs you have decided shuold bee for the abow average or skilled scrollers
it shuoldn´t be nessesery for you to make too much out of the intructions except for those
small corners where you know there is a problem if they don´t do it right
and if you have marked it good enoff on your site what is for what level it shuoldn´t give problems for you

take care

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9228 posts in 2919 days

#5 posted 05-03-2011 03:34 AM

Thanks to you for your suggestions Patron and Huntter. I really appreciate your support and kind remarks.

And Dan – I will be having a ‘supply list’ as soon as everything is set up and announced. MsDebbie has scheduled me for the beginning of June, so there is plenty of time. I will be sure to let you know what blade types and wood and other things you will need to follow along. If you have any specific questions in the mean time, just PM me and ask. I will be happy to help!

And Dennis – That is a good point. The instructions that I had to write yesterday were for the magazine though, and I try to spend some extra time explaining those projects so that everyone can enjoy them and make them – even the beginners. :)

Have a great evening, guys!


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

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