My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #923: Creative Drilling

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 01-04-2013 12:34 PM 3396 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 922: Perspective Part 923 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 924: The Process »

I kind of had a change in plans yesterday. It was one of those ‘flexibility’ things that I was talking about that happens. But it was a good thing and one of the best parts of being your own boss and being on deadline with the things that you need for everything else means that you can switch things up rather quickly without too much of an issue.

Early in the day I received an order for several of the painting kits that we offer. We usually keep a couple of each of the kits pre-cut and in stock, but since we are just starting out with this type of thing, we don’t get too far ahead. Many of you have seen the small size of our place. There just isn’t room enough to store a great deal of stuff. So my plans changed a little bit and I needed to cut them.

What felt great was that we still had a great deal of wood all prepped and ready to go. Having half the steps completed really made things nice and easy. All I did was print the pattern onto the self-adhesive labels and stick them on and cut. Things couldn’t have gone smoother.

I really like how the labels have worked for applying the pattern. If I have any gripe whatsoever, it is that I have a small degree of difficulty getting the backing off of the printed sheets. The particular labels I have are scored once in the back, with the score line going down through the center of the sheet. But as I cut the pieces apart to better place them on the wood, there are pieces that have no scoring and I find it a bit fussy to get the backing started to peel it off. I use a small paring knife (what would I do without that tool!) and it helps, but it is still somewhat tedious at times.

I have seen labels that are scored with several lines per sheet and in my article that I am in the process of writing regarding them, I will certainly recommend that those should be the ones used if they are available. Maybe I am being picky, but it would have made the process go much quicker.

Removing the labels after cutting was simple and quick. It may be slightly slower than the double sided tape, as the tape is slightly thicker and ‘gives’ a bit, being less likely to tear, but it certainly comes off easy enough and I do give the process a thumbs up.

I finished the order and packaging everything sometime around dinner, which left little time to work on my new candle tray. However, I was anxious to know if what I was planning would work, so I took some time and cut out one of the snowflake pieces that would be used to see if it would be possible to do what I was thinking.

I chose the most intricate snowflake of the bunch, knowing if that worked out well, I was home free.

Since the snowflakes are to be posted with small 1/8” dowels running through them, I wondered how they would tolerate the drilling and how the small dowel running through would affect the overall look of the design.

Naturally, they needed to be drilled prior to cutting on the scroll saw. There would be no way that the piece would be successfully drilled after cutting. To do this, I first needed to set the patterns up so that they pieces would have a flat surface to stand on for drilling. Since I want the snowflakes to look natural, I don’t want them all standing neatly as if they are soldiers. I want them randomly rotated so that they give the effect of falling and look more natural.

I cut the perimeters of the pieces so that the side opposite to the side which is to be drilled would be flat. This would make a stable base and make drilling easy. I used 1/2” ash for the project (I like the light color of the ash) and I will be using and 1/8” bit and dowel rod to post the snowflakes. This should give enough support so the snowflake will hold together, even with the hole bored through it.

The drilling went easy and according to plan:

You could see by the dotted line that the drilling would just graze some of the edged of the snowflake. Keith saw this and had his doubts, and said that it wouldn’t work and the snowflake would fall apart. But in my mind I thought about it and I figured there would be enough material left in the thickness that would support the edges of the piece. Besides, when the dowel was glued in, it would be even stronger and wouldn’t be an issue at all.

He then thought it would look unattractive because it was unavoidable to do this without the dowel showing through somewhat. While I realize that this would be the case, I felt that your eyes wouldn’t even notice the dowels when the pieces were finished, much like the dragonfly tray where the pieces take over and the dowels rather blend in. (At least I hoped!)

The only way to really tell was to cut the piece out. I purposely picked the most intricate snowflake because I knew if this worked, I would be home free.

Below is the resulting piece:

As you can see, the hole goes through the bottom, and does indeed leave some of the sides of the snowflake missing. But it is such a small percentage of wood missing, it is barely noticeable:

A closer picture of the bottom:

I inserted the dowel, and I truly feel that the result is fine. Even looking straight on at this piece, the dowel doesn’t really detract from the snowflake. When it is mounted on the tray, it will be even less visible, as you will rarely be looking at it at eye level. Besides, I have some other little things in store and I don’t think you will notice it at all.

I called it a day yesterday knowing that I am definitely on the right track. I believe that you could even have wood thinner than 1/2” and be successful with this process. I have drilled 1/8” Baltic birch plywood to insert the screw-type eye pins for ornament hangers in the past successfully and had no issues doing so. The trick is to drill before you do the scroll cutting and be sure your drill bits are sharp and that you have a stable base to set the piece on for drilling. In a pinch, with larger pieces, I have turned my drill press sideways and turned it so the bit is suspended over the side of the table and you just have to ‘eyeball’ it. But trust me, it works well that way too with a little practice.

I can’t wait to get at things and finish up today. This is the exciting part of what I do! I see a great deal of potential in this type of design and I can’t wait to get at it.

Today is Friday already it seems. It came quickly after the holiday weeks and it feels good to be back on schedule again and back to making new designs.

I hope you all have a wonderful day! :)

-- 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 KnotCurser's profile


2025 posts in 3066 days

#1 posted 01-04-2013 12:54 PM


The snowflake looks great! Of course I have no idea how this will fit into the rest, but standing on it’s own I would have imagined the dowel would go through one of the areas in between the larger “arms” of the snowflake. I suppose it had to go through the arm on the slightly off angle that it did, right?

Thanks as well for the advice on the stickers – I just might be ordering a pack of these!


-- Robert Rhoades WoodWorks / Email: /

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9228 posts in 2917 days

#2 posted 01-04-2013 01:05 PM

Keith thought that too, Bob. But in order to make it work that way, they would have all had to be setting the same way and thick and chunky and . . . well . . . BORING! :(

You wouldn’t think by the top picture that drilling this way would work. But that is what I was talking about yesterday in my blog about thinking of things in different ways.

Besides . . . what did I have to lose but a 2” piece of ash and 15 minutes. Time well spent no matter what the outcome.

Think of the possibilities! ;)


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

View Roger's profile


20928 posts in 2801 days

#3 posted 01-04-2013 01:07 PM

that’s the best kind of snow for me…...wood. :)

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9228 posts in 2917 days

#4 posted 01-04-2013 01:08 PM

Ahh, but think how heavy it would be to shovel Roger! ;)


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

View Celticscroller's profile


1269 posts in 2070 days

#5 posted 01-04-2013 06:33 PM

I agree with you Sheila. The dowel is hardly noticeable and I think once the whole thing is finished the dowels won’t be noticed at all. I also agree with you in setting the snowflakes at different angles – much more interesting.
Have a great day.

-- Anna, Richmond BC

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9228 posts in 2917 days

#6 posted 01-05-2013 11:34 AM

Thanks, Anna! I hope it looks good when I am finished. I have some things that will make it look even a bit more special. But those will come later. :)

I hope your day was good!


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

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