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Forum topic by Tbowen posted 01-23-2013 04:42 AM 16208 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Tbowen's profile


113 posts in 2174 days

01-23-2013 04:42 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question scroll saw scrollworking arts and crafts

i have recently gotten into 3D projects i am having trouble with the finished project coming out evenly…also what size blade do i need to use when cutting 2” wood (pine) and how can i keep the pattern from falling apart…it seems like when i use clamps to hold the wood together while i cut the other side it puts pressure on the blade and it makes the blade get hot and the cuts unevenly…and cutting angles seem to not want to cooperate AT ALL!!!! so cutting angles or just making a round cut is hard, im not sure if the blade is to small or what??! i seem to have trouble with the wood jumping.. please help me….any advice will be greatly appreciated!!! thank you all so much :-)

also…. if this helps any… i do not have an amazing scroll saw i just have a harbor freight brand…it does the job and i enjoy working with it i got it for a Christmas present.. i am a beginner to the scroll saw so forgive me if i ask any questions that seem obvious … (the pictures at the bottom are the 3D cuts i have done so far)

thank you for your time :-)

-- don't out smart your common sense

9 replies so far

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2686 posts in 3121 days

#1 posted 01-24-2013 04:03 AM

A friend of mine does this kind of scroll saw work and he holds the pieces together with rubber bands and masking tape. No clamps. He used FD #5 blades and says it is hard to make it come out even all around. Here is a photo of some of his work with cedar.

-- No PHD just a DD214 Website>

View Puzzleman's profile


417 posts in 3143 days

#2 posted 01-24-2013 01:21 PM

I have done it with masking or painters tape. It doesn’t apply pressure so it won’t pinch.

-- Jim Beachler, Chief Puzzler,

View Triumph1's profile


921 posts in 3279 days

#3 posted 01-24-2013 01:26 PM

I use clear packing tape. You can still see the patterns and something in the tape seems to lubricate the blade. Make your first cuts and then tape it all back together with packing tape…making sure that the tape goes on as flat as possible on the side that will contact the saw.

-- Jeff , Wisconsin Please...can I stay in the basement a little longer, please!

View William's profile


9950 posts in 3041 days

#4 posted 01-27-2013 12:47 PM

I wish I could help more, but I have never done compound cuts on the scrollsaw.

I’m not sure if it’ll work out correctly on the scrollsaw, but a couple of pointers I’ve learned by doing compound cuts on the bandsaw.
Apply your pattern to one side, cut that side, tape the waste back on, and apply the second side pattern,lining up with an uncut side or corner, instead of the waste stock. The reason for this is, once the waste area is altered (kerf material now gone) it messes up the dimensions for the second side to be cut. This is something you have to consider if you want everything matching on both sides. That can get confusing and takes practice.
After cutting one side, tape the waste back on. Don’t use clamps. If you tighten a clamp up enough to hold the wood together, it is also enough force to close the wood on the blade as you make your next cut. This creates all kinds of issues, including potentially breaking your blade.
When taping the wood back together, do not depend on simply wraping the wood in tape. As you make your next cuts, things will then start to fall apart like an unsupported 3D puzzle. Instead, wrape in in several different directions. If need be, as parts fall away, tape them back on to keep things together until you’re finished cutting. I do this by tacking a nail into the wooden frame of my band saw stand and hanging a roll of masking tape on it. You might try something similar at the scroll saw.

Lastly, you said that at times the blade does not want to cooperate. This is usually a sign of either the blade not having enough tension for the operation you’re doing, the blade not being large enough for the operation you’re doing, or a dull blade. Only experience and trying different methods can help you figure out which is the reason for your troubles.


View Rick13403's profile


257 posts in 3704 days

#5 posted 01-28-2013 05:49 PM

Check out Steve Good’s blog. He has a video on it plus instructions with a pattern. Also Diana Thompson has information on her site regarding compound cutting as she does alot of it.

-- Rick - DeWalt 788 & Ex21 -

View me5269's profile


43 posts in 2367 days

#6 posted 01-28-2013 10:04 PM

Like Rick suggested, Steve Good also has a clamping jig to hold the wood I cut up old playing cards into small strips and wedge them into the saw kerfs after making the first cuts to help the parts from pinching back together before wrapping with packing tape.

-- Mike

View BigFoot Products Canada's profile

BigFoot Products Canada

711 posts in 3592 days

#7 posted 01-28-2013 10:34 PM

Check this jig out.. Reviewed by Steve Good

Available at: BigFoot Products Press-N-Grip

View stefang's profile


16128 posts in 3533 days

#8 posted 02-01-2013 10:57 PM

Masking tape works well enough on most compound cuts, but Steve Good does have some good jig ideas too. You are cutting in quite thick material and the while the lower end scroll saws have 2” capacity in height, they are usually underpowered for such thick cuts, even in Pine. Thicker blades like a #7 or higher are best with the thick stuff and slower speeds help if you have variable speed control. I would also suggest you buy a scrollsaw basics book if you don’t have one already. Happy scrolling!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View William's profile


9950 posts in 3041 days

#9 posted 02-03-2013 11:50 AM

Thanks Stefang. Because I don’t do much compound cutting, I did not even take into account the thick wood usually associated with it.

Here, Olson also sells some blades (pinless only) specifically made for thick wood. I have tried them. I keep a dozen on hand just in case. They do a very good job. However, like Stefang said, you need variable speed.
I tried these on one of my saws without variable speed and it eat the teeth off of them before I got in inch into one inch thick wood.
Thick wood just build heat to quick on thin scroll saw blades, especially these. The gullet comes out to a very thin point. This aids in clearing sawdust from the cut, something that is a problem in thicker woods.
You need variable speed. Slow the speed down and play with it until you find a happy medium on the cut rate and feed rate without quickly frying the blades. When I use these, I use them on my Delta with the variable speed knob only about half way up.


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