My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #396: Productive Days are Good

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 07-10-2011 01:28 PM 3991 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 395: What Happened to Friday? I Blinked and it Was Gone! Part 396 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 397: Unexpected Success »

For a rainy day, I didn’t do too badly. In fact, I got a lot accomplished yesterday. It was one of those good days where everything flowed along nicely and even though I was in several different directions, things seemed to move right along and by the end of the day, I made a nice sized dent in what I wanted to do.

I got 20 sets of the little skating pond cut. Psychologically that was a huge boost. Just seeing the little figures pile up so quickly (in only a couple of hours) made the whole project far less intimidating. I have 72 sets ordered, but I had set up 80 for cutting just because they fit on the boards that way. I think I am going to cut the entire 80 so I have a few extras so that if some of the pieces aren’t perfect, I can swap them out without much muss and fuss.

I am almost afraid to brag, but the cutting is going nearly flawlessly. It feels good to feel like I know what I am doing and seeing everything working out as planned. I suppose that is where experience comes in. Even the pattern pieces are set up nicely in that I used just the proper amount of spray adhesive where everything holds together nicely, but when I am finished it all peels apart quite effortlessly. I find myself asking if it is luck or skill that is making things so easy and I have come to the conclusion that it is a bit of both.

There are several ways to attach pattern effectively when scroll sawing. While I have become partial to using a layer of painter’s tape over the design and then attaching the pattern on top of that, it would not have been very practical in this case. It would have wasted a lot of tape and time.

Since I started with fairly large sheets (30” x 30”) I wound up attaching the patterns directly to the wood using the temporary spray adhesive. This takes a little more skill to get the patterns where they stay stuck during the sawing process, but then are easy to remove from the wood when finished. The most common problem is the pattern coming up prematurely and flapping around while trying to saw. This can be quite an annoyance – especially when trying to saw small items such as this.

The other extreme is where the pattern stays put, but then when you are finished it is somewhat cemented into place and much effort and time is needed to remove it. The goal is to find a happy medium and I believe I am there.

Also, since I layered several pieces of wood and stack-cut them, there was the issue of holding the layers together. Typically I use double sided tape and hold the layers by applying small squares of it in the waste areas of the wood between the layers. But with all these small pieces on such a large piece of wood, it would have been nearly impossible to use that method effectively. I went back to the way I used to do it long ago – by spraying blank sheets of paper on both sides with the temporary adhesive and gluing them together (temporarily) that way. It was fairly quick that way (just about an hour for that batch) and again, the only risk was making sure that I allowed the proper setting time to achieve a good bond that would hold the pieces together with no shifting and still allow me to separate the pieces easily when I was finished cutting. I think I achieved that.

It is especially important to be accurate when cutting pieces such as these. Since they are going to be used for painting, if the edges are not where they are supposed to be, they will not look good. There are several small details such as the face profiles which have little noses and such and also the skates that need to be right on the line in order for them to look good. It isn’t a matter of speed and I feel that the most important thing I needed to do was follow the line exactly.

In order to do this, I needed to concentrate fully on what I was doing. I printed out the lines a bit thinner than normal. This would help me stay accurate. I chose a couple of my favorite albums to listen to and put on my headphones and shut out the rest of the world for a couple of hours while I cut. It is amazing how fast things go when you set up your working environment to be pleasant. Before I knew it, a couple of hours had passed and I had a pile of the little guys and girls in front of me. I was getting tired though and I felt I had accomplished enough for the day. I think that is important too – to quit when you begin to tire. How many times do we make stupid mistakes at the end of a job because we are getting fatigued and want to do just ‘one more thing?’

I called it a day at the saw and actually got to do some painting. I am happy about the new painting project too, and I think it will be something that people will want to do.

I talked to my son yesterday and he asked me if I would help design a logo for his new company. He is a police officer in the Chicago suburb of Joliet, but he has always loved computers he and his wife are starting a side business of developing and hosting websites for other companies. He had done this all through high school and started his first business at 16 years old. He was very successful at it and was plucked right from high school to work for a group of doctors on Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago to manage their web site and computer network. He worked there for several years until he got the job as a police officer, something he always aspired to do, but he always kept his computer work in the back ground.

I felt really good that he asked me for help. He has helped me on so many computer things and has taught me to do a great deal, and for me to be able to do something back for him is a great feeling. Besides, how many kids ask their parents for help these days – especially on the computer. I have some ideas of what I am going to do for him, as he had some ideas and suggestions of his own. I am really proud that he is so enterprising and successful and it is very satisfying for me to see him so happy in his life. I suppose as parents, that is the best we can imagine.

So I am going to continue on today with following that plan. I am going to do more painting and perhaps cut another batch of skaters. The sun is bright today and it is warm out though, so who knows if I won’t decide to escape for a couple of hours later in the day. But for now, I know I feel good about the directions I am heading and will spend the rest of the morning getting started on those things.

It is nice to mix work with play. I don’t see anything wrong with taking a break now and again and then coming back to the work later on. It keeps me fresh and I don’t feel like I am missing out on things, as it usually only takes a couple hours away before I am looking to continue what I am doing again. It works out well.

I wish you all a great Sunday and hope you take some time out to enjoy your day too. Prod

-- 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 huntter2022's profile


275 posts in 2643 days

#1 posted 07-10-2011 02:17 PM

Shelia , even though it was a rainy day you put it to good use

I heard alot people use a heat gun or a hair dryer or putting mineral sprits on it to remove the pattern when attached to the wood . For the pattern lifting up , I keep a glue stick ( one for like school kids) handy and just dab the loose pattern also for small pattern I have attached them .

Stack cutting , I have had good luck with Hot gluing the edges together

It is alway’s nice when your son or daughter ask for your help in making or doing something. I’m sure the two of you will come up with a great ideal . I wish him the best of luck in his future business

Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.


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

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2947 days

#2 posted 07-10-2011 02:21 PM

Hi, David:
I haven’t used a hot glue gun for stack cutting, but I will give it a try. I have heard that many people are successful with using it that way, so thank you for reminding me. :) I don’t know how it would work on these bigger sheets though . . by the time you get all the glue down, the first places you put it would be cooled. But I will try it on smaller pieces. It is always good to have several successful alternatives.

Thanks! Sheila

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

View Ken90712's profile


17563 posts in 3216 days

#3 posted 07-10-2011 05:13 PM

Nice blog and being productive on a rainy day is a good thing. Well done!

I sometimes miss a good rain or thunder storm!

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2947 days

#4 posted 07-10-2011 05:25 PM

Thanks, Ken! Sometimes I surprise myself! :)


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

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2870 days

#5 posted 07-11-2011 01:06 PM

For making sure a pattern doesn’t lift, I use a different method. I put down painter’s tape (blue masking) and then spray too much glue on the pattern before applying it over the tape. The extra (too much, like I said) glue on the pattern keeps it from lifting from the tape. As for the tape, a good quality tape will not come up, will not leave residue, but will come right off with ease.
The “gotcha on the tapes is the hold time. For example, “Duck” brand makes a three day tape. This tape is designed to come off for painters withing three days. If it is left on longer than that, then depending on the wood, it’ll either start lifting when you cut, or will be stuck on like wall paper that seems to not want to come off no matter how much mineral spirits, heat, or just plain old cussing and praying you put on it.
The tape hold time usually is not a problem. Most people don’t apply patterns until they are ready to cut. I do sometimes though lay out a day’s work the night before and apply patterns that will be cut the next day. Imagine my surprise when I found out the hard way that 3M also make a 24 hour hold time tape.
I also do a lot of stack cutting. The way I do mine is I nail small finish nails through the waste area. I have little tin cans on a shelf with different size finish nails in them for this purpose. My shortest are 5/8”, and they go up to 1 1/2”. The nail I use depends on the thickness of the stack I am cutting. There are a few tricks here as well. I know these because I have messed them all up several times.
Make sure the nails are in the waste area. There’s nothing like the joy of cutting something to realized then that you now have four copies of a piece, nailed together.
Be careful not to try cutting through the nails. When wood cutting blades and nails meet, the nails win.
Plan youur cutting so that there are two nails in your stack at all times. This sometimes requires you to stop right before you are about to make your final cut in a stack of pieces and add another nail. I don’t know how to explain that better right now. Just remember the idea is to make sure no piece of the stack gets out of line with the others.
All this being said, I also sometimes use tape in addition to the nails. If I have especially large stacks, or especially thick stacks, I will run masking tape along the edges of the stack all the way around for an extra precaution. Most people never need this. Some of you have seen the size and thickness of some of the stack I cut though.
I had a real good day yesterday too Sheila. I done, well, nothing. Our oldest son came up. I spent the whole day with all of my kids here together. That’s happened more often this year than it has in several. If they keep giving me days like this with all my kids around me, I’m going to start worrying that maybe they’re planning on putting me down like an old useless horse.


View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2947 days

#6 posted 07-11-2011 01:24 PM

Thanks, William:
I have used the blue painters’ tape also with much success. I like it a lot, but I just didn’t want to have to cover the entire 30” square piece of wood. Lazy? Maybe?

I thought I would give this way a try, and it really is working well for me. I had to think though and take care and not do it ‘on the fly’ so that everything held together as it was supposed to. I knew I wouldn’t be cutting everything right away and it has helped me a lot that I have a pile of cuttings ready to go to the saw without any prep. Even if I have 20 minutes or so to knock off a few, that is helpful.

I will try the nail method, as I know many others also use that successfully. That would certianly be a ‘fool proof’ method that even I can do. I will give it a go on the next batch and let you know how it works for me. :)

As far as your kids – it is great to hear about days like that. The older we get and the older the kids get, it seems that those days are fewer and farther between. When I was in the States, I got to see both my kids at once – the first time in over five years. What a gift that was for me! Enjoy your children as much as you can! It is great for your soul! :)


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

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics