My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #1092: Doing What I LOVE to do!

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 07-31-2013 11:12 AM 4257 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1091: Better Late Than Never Part 1092 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 1093: Decisions, Decisions »

After what seemed like an eternity that I have been away from the scroll saw, I was finally able to get back at it and do some cutting yesterday. You would think that being a designer, I would spend several days a week at the saw. But reality isn’t quite like that, as there are so many aspects to running the business that takes up time (not to mention – the drawing part!) that it is only occasionally that I get to do so. Actual cutting is only a small piece of the puzzle – and one of my favorite pieces.

I have decided that these patterns will be sold as a set of three. I think that the related plaques can be nice as stand-alone projects, but look outstanding in a group. I also try to give my customers the most value for their money when purchasing my patterns, and I think that it will be a good idea to include three similar, yet different subject views.

I have several similar sets such as this on my mind and I would love to make them available as quickly as I can. I just have to buckle under and really get to work.

Yesterday I got all three of my frames/backers cut. I absolutely LOVE how they look:

I used 1/2” thick maple for these pieces – which is one of my favorites! I love the really hard and tight grain of the maple, as it holds up beautifully to the delicate scroll work:

The pictures today are at the point where they are sanded. As you probably noticed on yesterdays’ pictures, the router bit that I had used was dull (I grabbed the wrong one from my supply!) and it burned the edges a bit. It took a little bit of extra work, but I was able to sand out the burn marks using my orbital sander. I used 320 grit paper so I wouldn’t wind up reshaping the routed edges, and it took a bit longer, but the results was great.

Today I am going to cut the overlay pieces, which will only take a short time. Then the real fun begins as I am going to finish these up in (of course) a couple of different ways. I have so many visions of how I can do these and I want to try to show at least a couple of them.

This is the best part of my job! (Oh! I say that about EVERYTHING, don’t I?)

I also wanted to mention today that Stumpy Nubs posted a video yesterday in which Mustache Mike talked about choosing different scroll saw blades. (You can see it here: ) I thought that it was a good approach to give an overview of this VAST subject. Because of the scroll saw’s versatility, the blade selection can be a bit confusing for people. There are so many types and sizes that it can be very easy to be overwhelmed. But I liked that Mike said how most scrollers tend to settle into about 5-6 blade sizes as their favorites. I say this all the time and find it to be true. If you visit my site, you can see that Keith and I do a pretty good variety of different types of projects. However, we tend to use only about 4 sizes of blades:

#2/0 reverse tooth #2 reverse tooth #3 Mach speed reverse tooth #5 reverse tooth or #5 PGT reverse tooth

We ALWAYS use Olson blades and highly recommend them. (And no – I don’t get paid to endorse them!) I find that in the smaller sized blades such as this, they can’t be beat for performance and accuracy. Many of the other brands work well in the larger sizes, but neither Keith nor myself can get the control from those blades as we do from the Olsons. We have tried with open minds to use other brands and have always come back to our Olsons. I get mine from the Wooden Teddy Bear . I don’t get paid to endorse them either, although they do carry my patterns. But they are a great company and honest and have wonderful prices on Olson blades and fast and friendly service and I do recommend them to those of you who are looking for them.

Some people say they have trouble controlling the smaller blades. I often wonder if it is because they are using other brands that we have tried where yes – the small blades were difficult to control. For my designs that I am highlighting here, I used 1/2” maple and #2 reverse tooth scroll saw blades. Any larger blades would not allow me to get the fine details that I get with these blades:

The Olson blades make clean, sharp cuts and last a decent amount of time. They are reasonably priced, have pinpoint control and leave the edges beautifully smooth. What more can one ask for?

Today’s agenda includes oiling and finishing these pieces, as well as the overlay. I hope by tomorrow I will have the finished plaques to share with you all. I am rather proud of them. :)

It is a beautifully sunny day and the temperatures are perfect – cool but not too much so. I hope you all have a wonderful day and have fun doing something creative. I know I am looking forward to it.

Happy Wednesday!

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

8 comments so far

View KnotCurser's profile


2026 posts in 3212 days

#1 posted 07-31-2013 11:47 AM


First and foremost, fantastic designs! I will most certainly be ordering a set of these – they would look fantastic as a grouping on a wall.

With that said, I have a suggestion for cutting on these. It sounds strange, but here is how I would cut these…...

I would start with a #1 spiral blade and cut everything down to just before the sharp corners. Then I would insert a #1 or #2 reverse blade and very quickly be able to do all the corners.

I know this sounds like twice the work, but you would be amazed at how much easier using a spiral blade for 95% of your cutting can be!

Try it one time and decide for yourself.

Oh yeah – two thumbs up on The Wooden Teddy Bear for blades! I order all of mine from there as well – never had an issue and the shipping is cheap and fast!



-- Robert Rhoades WoodWorks / Email: /

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9237 posts in 3063 days

#2 posted 07-31-2013 12:12 PM

Hi, Bob! Thank you for your kind words.

Per your suggestion – All I can say is “different strokes for different folks!” (But what I REALLY want to say is “WHAT?”)

I am “spiral blade challenged” on the bestest of my best cutting days. Keith likes them for portrait style work (which – by the way – I think you are one of the BEST at!) but for me it would be like teaching old rover to play the flute!

I am really in my own comfort zone when doing this type of cutting. While I am sure you will do an excellent job with spirals, I am afraid I wouldn’t want to show any close ups of my work using them. LOL

Glad you agree on Wooden Teddy. They are a great company and I never heard a bad word about them. I love recommending companies and people that I am happy with.

I hope you have a wonderful day! Thanks again for your comments. :)


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

View nancyann's profile


106 posts in 2037 days

#3 posted 07-31-2013 03:40 PM

Thaks for the insight on blades. I too realized that I was having trouble controlling my blades when working in delicate areas, in fact at times popped out a couple of areas . Now that’s very aggravating especially when the projcect is almost complete. I like to buy from Wooden Teddy bear and I will be ordering Olson blades to try out. Love your new designs and will be ordering them. Keep it up Sheila and take care.

-- Nancy Antley

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9237 posts in 3063 days

#4 posted 07-31-2013 03:54 PM

Hi, Nancy – I am really glad you like the designs. They surprised me at how nice they came out when I actually cut them!

Yes – Keith and I figured that many of the people that liked the ‘other’ blades seemed to use the larger sizes. Since we don’t usually use bigger than a #5 except on rare occasions, that may be why we don’t like them as much. The smaller Olsons are really great and I find that they have pinpoint control. Many people ask how I cut as accurately as I do and I attribute it to these blades. I have honestly tried the others several times – years apart thinking that my cutting has changed and I just can’t control them like I can the Olson’s. That may be just me (and Keith too) or a combination of our saw with the blades or whatever, but it is what it is and it works for us. :) Let me know how you do please after you try them. :)

Take care and thanks for stopping by – Sheila

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

View Celticscroller's profile


1270 posts in 2216 days

#5 posted 07-31-2013 04:28 PM

Good morning Sheila. The plaques turned out beautifully. What type of router do you use? We have a router and we just got a small router table for it but I haven’t gotten around to trying it out yet. Another learning curve!
I agree with you on the blades. I will use nothing but Olsen though some people swear by the Flying Dutchman blades. I find I use the 2/0 or the 2 mostly and I have used the crown tooth and the reverse tooth blade and like them both. I’ve tried the spiral some time ago and have to say I hated it! I had no control over it and I know it probably takes time and patience to get used to it but since I’m comfortable with the reverse tooth and the crown tooth, I stick with those.
Enjoy the day. Looking forward to seeing the finishes on the plaques.

-- Anna, Richmond BC

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9237 posts in 3063 days

#6 posted 07-31-2013 04:34 PM

I just use a small Porter-Cable Laminate trimmer that I have had for probably over 15 years. I love it because it is small and easier for someone my size to handle. It fits standard 1/4” shank bits and is great for smaller projects and plaques. We built a little support table that we put attached to it so we can easily do small pieces. I will post a pic if you wish.

I am happy with the plaques so far. Still have to cut the birdies out today though. the “office work” has kept me busy so far and I HAVE to get off the computer and get to the saw! ;)

We have a BEAUTIFUL day here and it is hard not to be happy. The sun is shining and it is warm, yet not hot out. Just Perfect!!!!

I wish you a wonderful day as well. Thanks for the comment!


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

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 3000 days

#7 posted 07-31-2013 04:41 PM

Sheila what a wonderful contrast
It took me a bit to figure how it was done
The soft and sharp, superb

Hae a great day/evening :)


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9237 posts in 3063 days

#8 posted 07-31-2013 05:06 PM

Good afternoon, Jamie! Thank you very much. Fun stuff! It is truly relaxing and enjoyable to do. I am glad you like it also. :)


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

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