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Blog entry by stefang posted 10-20-2014 06:15 PM 1553 reads 0 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Chase to the Cut Part 4 of CHRISTMAS GIFT BASKETS series Part 5: Mitering the basket sides »

Today I finished the scrolling and got the sides ready for the bottom panels. There are a some important points that are outlined below.

Once again I am offering some advice on the cutting. Many of you will be light years ahead of me with your scrolling skills, but others, like myself, who use their scroll saws less frequently can get rusty. This advice is directed mainly to them.

  • Cutting technique (again) I have revised my cutting technique a little since scrolling the first packets and it seems a bit faster and a less bothersome way to do it. As you can see from the first photo I have made a continuous cut around, but the sharp points have been left until the main piece has been removed. The points are then easy to cut out afterward accurately without having to make almost impossible turns and risk messing up the project. The 2nd photo shows the completed cut. See below

  • why have I used a relatively thick blade?
    I used a #5 for all the cutting which I mentioned before. My reasoning is that it will last a lot longer and since it is fret sawing the width of the blade is not so important except that it doesn’t make quite a sharp a point, that is, the points that are cut like a ‘V’. Another good reason for a heavier blade is that it is much better to trim an already cut edge such as when a curve was cut with a flat spot and it needs to rounded out. However, it does make it difficult to turn those tight corners and that is why I have chosen to do the cutting the way I’ve shown above.
  • How to insure that the mirror image cuts are near identical
    I first cut out a part on say the left side, then I cut out the corresponding part on the right side. I then compare the two to see if they are alike. If I have made a small cutting mistake on the one then I cut the other one to match it. This leaves my symmetrical design symmetrical and small changes will not be noticeable by the casual observer.

If you want to see how you did after the packets are dismantled, you can flip one side and put one on top of the other to see how well they match.

Here is the result after cutting all 5 packets. I thought I used 1-1/2 hrs. for the first one, but I’m sure now that it must have been more like 2-1/4 hrs., which is what I used on each of the others. I’m glad they’re finished. I was getting pretty bored towards the end.

I ran into problems while cutting the veining. I had intended to use a #3 blade for that work, but it kept coming loose on my lower blade clamp and I didn’t have the patience to find out what was causing the problem so I went back to my #5 blade. I have to admit that I did a pretty bad cutting job on the veining. My blade wasn’t tracking well and so I was having a hard time following the pattern lines. I figured out too late that the problem was caused by a dull blade, so I have nobody to blame but myself. It didn’t ruin the project, but it did downgrade the quality a bit. Anyway, here are the 5 completed side packets. See below

The first thing I did before dismantling the packets was to mark them with color coded ink using felt tip pens. This marking showed me the orientation (side up/side down) and also identifies which packet each side belongs to. This is to ensure that no differently cut sides will be mingled with the wrong set, remembering that though the patterns are cut almost identical there are some small deviations. So now we know that all four sides on each basket will be a perfect match and that the grooves for the bottom panels will be cut on the correct side. See below

The bottom groove was marked up on an extra side blank of the same width and thickness, I located the groove about 4mm above the bottom edge to be cut 6mm wide with the depth set at slightly more than 3mm. I made a test cut on my table saw to test the accuracy of my depth setting. I also used the scrap piece to set the fence for the first cut of 3 needed to get the full width.

I had the sides stacked in order close at hand on my table saw and I began cutting the grooves being very focused on making sure that I was cutting the groove along the bottom of the side piece and also on the correct side. A mistake on even one of these would require a couple more hours to recut a replacement! I restocked each side piece back in order as the were finished, running all 5 packets through on each cut and then adjusting the fence for the next cut and repeating. See below

I made a mistake cutting the groove. A mistake that I reminded myself had to be avoided. Lucky for me it won’t ruin the project, but I still find it quite annoying. Can you spot it? That might be difficult with the photos provided, but don’t be afraid to give it a guess.

I have used 16 hours altogether now. The scrolling took about 11 hrs. That means I have a little over 3 hrs. invested in each basket so far. That seems pretty efficient for me.

I plan to cut and and glue in the bow ties (butterflies) in the bottom and cut the compound miters on the side pieces and assemble and glue them up with the bottom panels in place. If I have time after that I will get the top rims and feet miter and glued up too. Thanks for viewing!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

17 comments so far

View Kaleb the Swede's profile

Kaleb the Swede

1720 posts in 1391 days

#1 posted 10-20-2014 06:33 PM

These are really amazing pieces Mike. I really like the design you have also. I don’t think the recipient will notice the minor error you made. If I pointed out all of the mistakes on the things I a made it wood be nothing but mistakes. Must be nice cutting on that machine too, Excaliber’s are one of the best I’m told.

I’m looking to do some scroll sawing for Christmas gifts too. Just easy ornaments. With my harbor freight scroll saw. Anything else and I think it wood explode

-- Just trying to build something beautiful

View stefang's profile


15512 posts in 2756 days

#2 posted 10-20-2014 06:38 PM

Thanks Kaleb. The error has nothing to do with the mirror image and the groove is on the correct side and location.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View johnhutchinson's profile


1172 posts in 1051 days

#3 posted 10-20-2014 06:51 PM

Mike: I think I would have cut the grooves FIRST. Any reason for not doing that?

Hindsight is always 20/20. :)

-- John - Central Ohio - "too much is never enough"

View stefang's profile


15512 posts in 2756 days

#4 posted 10-20-2014 07:08 PM

No, they can be cut before or afterward, but I think that what you are saying is that if a mistake was made cutting the grooves, it would be better to have it happen before spending a lot of time doing the scrolling, and I can agree with that thought, but it’s not the mistake. The mistake is not a big enough that my sides need to be replaced, more of an inconvenience really.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Woodbridge's profile


3451 posts in 1840 days

#5 posted 10-20-2014 07:34 PM

Mike, thanks for the update and the tips on scroll sawing. I use my scroll saw infrequently so your advice about cutting continuously and then going back to cut the sharp corners is very helpful. I will definitely take that approach the next time I use my scroll saw.

It hard to see, but did you cut your grooves at an angle to account for the angle of the sides?

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View PhilBello's profile


389 posts in 1389 days

#6 posted 10-20-2014 07:48 PM

Mike, likewise thanks for the timely reminder, I haven’t done much scrollsaw work for a while, and it never hurts to receive a nudge!! Nice work…

-- If you want the rainbow, you got to put up with the rain - Steven Wright

View stefang's profile


15512 posts in 2756 days

#7 posted 10-20-2014 08:00 PM

Congratulations on having the right answer Peter. You are quite a smart guy to figure that out I didn’t think anyone would come up with the right answer, especially with almost nothing to go on. The sad part is that yesterday evening I did a little sketch to determine how the workpiece should be oriented to cut 15 deg. groove and I still forgot to cut it at an angle. Oh well, I guess it isn’t quite as bad as trying to get through a door while holding a long plank side crosswise.

Thanks Phil. They are wonderful machines. We should use them more!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View johnhutchinson's profile


1172 posts in 1051 days

#8 posted 10-20-2014 09:27 PM

Mike: Maybe the right-angle groove IS the correct answer. It would be more “forgiving” for someone else who’s trying to make the tray. Who cares if there’s a little slop on the underside. All you really want to do (I think) is capture, not glue, the bottom.

-- John - Central Ohio - "too much is never enough"

View shipwright's profile


7094 posts in 2220 days

#9 posted 10-21-2014 12:02 AM

Peter’s eyes are better than mine. My guess was going to be that you set the saw for the angle but cut it backwards so the sides would tip in instead of out. That’s the mistake I would have made. It’s such a small angle that it’s hard to tell that the cut is actually square.
These are coming along really nicely Mike, and oh yes, thanks for the cutting photos. Now I’m not the only one posting close up pics of my cuts. :-)

Keep ‘em coming.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


17577 posts in 3098 days

#10 posted 10-21-2014 03:07 AM

I was going to guess that the grooves are too wide, but since the cat is out of the bag, it is too late to be wrong ;-))

Good pointers again Mike. Nice blog.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View stefang's profile


15512 posts in 2756 days

#11 posted 10-21-2014 10:06 AM

Thanks everyone for participating in this million dollar quiz. I will be sending the prize money to Peter as soon as I get it.

John You are correct. I can still use the groove I cut. and there will be no glue so as to allow for seasonal expansion/contraction. I made the same mistake on the first basket I made and we are still using it at breakfast and lunch time every day after about 10 years (some people just never learn). I plan to cut the miters first though so that I can see how well the bottom fits before glue-up and make any necessary adjusts.

Paul My cutting technique improved quite a bit from packet to packet, although the finished quality is about the same for all of them. I found it much less stressful to do my cutting the chicken way and it made the work much more enjoyable. If I were cutting classic style marquetry on the scroll saw, I would use the same technique, but of course not a technique that can be used for the patch style packet or Boulle packet cutting .

Bob I hope you give scroll sawing a try. It’s lots of fun.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Roger's profile


19714 posts in 2226 days

#12 posted 10-21-2014 11:20 AM

Gr8 stuff Mike

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

View stefang's profile


15512 posts in 2756 days

#13 posted 10-21-2014 12:24 PM

Thanks Roger. I need something to do to keep myself away from my Lazyboy chair.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View kiefer's profile


4873 posts in 2089 days

#14 posted 10-21-2014 02:34 PM

You stay away from that LAZY BOY .
Christmas is approaching fast and you can take a couple of days of then .
Get all those presents done and you will feel better and we are enjoying the progress reports too much .


-- Kiefer

View stefang's profile


15512 posts in 2756 days

#15 posted 10-21-2014 03:53 PM

Thanks Klaus. Don’t worry, I feel the Jul Tide pressure, so I am working at it. I just came in from the shop and I’m making another blog installment now.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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