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