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My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #1495: Micro-Cutting

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 02-11-2015 12:35 PM 2656 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1494: Immersed in Creating Part 1495 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 1496: Just About Finished! »

Everybody likes a challenge now and then. I know that when I challenge myself, I not only usually learn something new, but I grow as an artist and designer. If I don't push myself into doing something that is a bit out of my comfort zone, then things start to lose their excitement. 



Sometimes it is hard to take the time to challenge yourself when you are self-employed. It seems that we are working from deadline to deadline, and it is easy to slip into the habit of taking the path of least resistance in order to keep up with things and meet all of my deadlines. But somehow, that takes the fun out of designing, and I find that there are times when I would rather slow down and try something different 'just to see' if it is possible. It is at these times when I feel most satisfied as a designer and feel that I am still learning and growing as an artist. And that to me is very exciting. 



Yesterday was the perfect opportunity for me to push myself in that way. I had shown you the new Celtic inspired ornaments that I had cut and as I was looking at them I thought how wonderful they would be as smaller pendants. Now I know that in theory, any ornament could be created as a smaller pendant, but would it really be possible to cut them smaller and have them hold up to the cutting process? Hummm . . . 



I reduced the line work to three smaller sizes. I really didn't want to cut them all smaller, as I really don't have an outlet for me to sell them or use them. But I did want to see just how small I could comfortably get things and still have them work.  



I chose what I felt were the most intricate of the 12 designs, and I used the two smallest sizes. I stack cut two layers of each  - one layer of maple and the other layers of various exotic hard wood scraps that I felt would be thin enough for each pendant. I would say that each piece averaged about 1/8" thick. 



I used a hot glue gun to glue the corners of the top pieces onto the maple. I think that is my favorite way to set things up for cutting layers, as it remains stable and doesn't shift around as some of the other methods may do. As you can imagine, any movement whatsoever in between the layers would cause the designs to fail. 



I started with the smallest butterfly, as I felt it was the most complex of the designs and I knew if I could accomplish that, I would be home free. I used my tinest drill bit to drill the entry holes:



As you can see, some of the holes slightly exceeded the cavity. I had my doubts at this point as to whether it would work at all, but I thought I had little to lose and tried anyway.



It took some 'artistic license' to do the cutting. Some of the areas had to be cut slightly larger than what was on the pattern to fit the holes drilled, but I kind of just cornered them off. The first few cuts were a bit wobbly for me too, as I was getting used to using the tiny blade and small cutting area. It was not for the faint of heart! 





But I continued on and finished the design. While it certainly wasn't perfect, it was what I would call 'acceptable'. It certainly made me slow down and concentrate on what I was doing. In the end I had two lovely little butterflies – one of canary wood and the other of maple. 



After the first pieces were done, the others were easy. As I said, the butterfly was probably the most complex of the pieces and after accomplishing that, the others were not hard at all. By then I had a 'feel' for the saw, blade and wood thickness and after a little while I had a nice array of  pendants.



I am going to include the other three sizes in the pattern. That way my customers can choose their own level of challenge. While everyone may not be able to cut the smallest sizes at first, hopefully with the patterns right there they will be able to work their way down to the smaller designs. It will add to the fun of the pattern. 



I spent the rest of the day sanding and finishing the pieces from the previous two days. Today is the day of assembly and putting together the final patterns. I am hoping to have a site update tomorrow (Thursday) as we are due to send out a newsletter. 



Keith has also added some great new designs to the site that I wanted to announce in the newsletter. He has a new pattern set that is geared for Woodworkers, Teachers, Artists and more specifically, Scrollers:




SLDK539 Proud Woodworker, Scroller, Artist and Teacher



I think the pattern will be very popular. 



He also has a new set of plaques:



The SLDK545 Courage, Strength and Faith plaque pattern is available as a set, or you can also get them individually. Come visit our site for details. 



I will be working on getting my pattern packets together today, and I hope to get them on the site by tomorrow's update. Then it is on to some new painting patterns for me to make. I have some ideas for some fun new designs. 



It is quiet out today, and we are expecting more snow tomorrow. I didn't get out to do my walk as I intended, as by the time I was finished cutting, it was already getting dark out. Perhaps I will get out a bit today. 



I wish you all a happy Wednesday. May you be productive and happy. 


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



9 comments so far

View Roger's profile

Roger

19865 posts in 2264 days


#1 posted 02-11-2015 12:49 PM

Super fine, and petite scrolling Sheila. Wow!

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. Kentuk55@yahoo.com

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9035 posts in 2380 days


#2 posted 02-11-2015 01:28 PM

Thanks, Roger! Sometimes we have to push the envelope! :)

I am glad you like them! Sheila

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

View americancanuck's profile

americancanuck

262 posts in 2070 days


#3 posted 02-11-2015 01:47 PM

When are the patterns going to be available? I really want to try these and also the celtic themed boxes.

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9035 posts in 2380 days


#4 posted 02-11-2015 01:55 PM

I am finishing the patterns up today and hope to get them on the site by tomorrow. I am also going to be sending out a newsletter announcing them as well as the new patterns Keith has come up with. He also made a second pattern for Firefighter, Nurse, Paramedic and Officer in the style of the woodworker plaque and some new crosses. :)

The cross patterns are now available on the site here: http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com/product/SLDK541

Sheila

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

View ArtistryinWood's profile

ArtistryinWood

106 posts in 3147 days


#5 posted 02-11-2015 06:47 PM

Nice work Sheila, I have done some micro cutting it keeps you on your toes for sure. i like the new patterns, will be getting the woodworker one.

Did you drill those holes in your saw or did it come that way, how do you like it, looks like it would be prone to catching.

-- It seem's to me i could live my life, a lot better than i think i am. Andrew, Midland, Ont.

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9035 posts in 2380 days


#6 posted 02-11-2015 07:21 PM

Thank you Andrew:
I didn’t drill the holes, the table came pre-drilled so you can attach a dust collection system to the underside of the table. (I don’t use it for that – a quick run of the shop vac after each session does fine!)

They don’t catch anything at all I find. I hardly notice them at all.

I was thinking about the possibility of a “zero clearance piece over the table (I have an article how to make a quick one here: http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com/articles/scroll-saw-zero-clearance) but everything held up well and I didn’t need one in the long run. I had a layer of maple underneath and that is pretty sturdy.

Thanks for your thoughts. I am glad you like the new patterns.

:) Sheila

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

View Celticscroller's profile

Celticscroller

1216 posts in 1533 days


#7 posted 02-11-2015 11:02 PM

The little heart you have in your hand would make cool earrings! These are beautiful designs Sheila. The crosses are stunning. Looking forward to the pattern rollout! The Celtic pendants will make wonderful gifts – and I know you have rhinestones in mind for some of them :)

-- Anna http://richmondcarvers.com/

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9035 posts in 2380 days


#8 posted 02-11-2015 11:06 PM

Oh, you know me so well, Anna! The glue is drying on the boxes and the rhinestones have already been applied. <smile>

I am going to be taking pictures tonight and should have them by the morning’s post. I will be working on the patterns tomorrow it seems and hopefully everything will be on the site by tomorrow. Keith’s patterns are already posted up there. I am the slow one! ;)

Have a great night and thank you so much. I am so glad you like them!

Sheila

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

View lightweightladylefty's profile

lightweightladylefty

3137 posts in 3173 days


#9 posted 02-12-2015 05:53 AM

Sheila,

The pendant designs really are lovely!

L/W

-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

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