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.
-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts, Sheila Landry Designs http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com "Knowledge is Power"