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Cutting Purpleheart

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Forum topic by nancyann posted 391 days ago 1863 views 2 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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nancyann

104 posts in 392 days


391 days ago

Can anyone tell me what scroll saw blades to use when cutting purpleheart?

I used number 2tlb blades on this project and really had a rough time with it.

-- Nancy Antley


24 replies so far

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7180 posts in 1418 days


#1 posted 391 days ago

Hi, Sandy. On the thickness you show, I think the Olson Mach blades in size 3 would do fine. Remember with denser woods that bigger blades aren’t always necessarily better. The bigger the blade, the more heat it will generate and therefore more chances of burning. Always try to use the smallest blade you can use to get the job done (and be PATIENT and let the saw do the work for you! The best thing to do is relax and enjoy the ride.)

Another thing that I think is really important when cutting hard and dense wood is to use packaging tape. If wood is really dense such as this, I would definitely tape both sides of the piece. This won’t hurt anything and it will certainly help.

If you are still finding that burning occurs, you can slow down the saw a bit and use skip tooth blades. Skip tooth blades have a wider space between the teeth and allow the sawdust to clear a bit easier, also allowing for cooler cutting.

Once again – patience is the key. When I am cutting anything that is very hard or dense such as this, I just figure it is best to go slow and respect the wood for what it is.

I hope this helps. :) Sheila

-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts, Sheila Landry Designs http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com "Knowledge is Power"

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eddie

6269 posts in 1112 days


#2 posted 391 days ago

hay Nancy welcome to LJ there are a lot of masters of this craft on here and a lot of newbies too ,its a good site ,looks grand ,all i know is its a very hard wood but pretty and it cost :)

-- Jesus Is Alright with me

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Janette

12 posts in 392 days


#3 posted 391 days ago

How thick is the purpleheart you are cutting. If I’m cutting 3/4”, I’d suggest at least a #7 blade. Also, if you put clear packing tape on the wood – that helps as well. Cut slowly and change the blade often.

-- Janette, Intarsia Artist & Contributing Editor Creative Woodworks & Crafts Magazine

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MonteCristo

2088 posts in 687 days


#4 posted 391 days ago

The Wikipedia entry (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peltogyne) says carbide tooling is recommended (not really an option for a scroller). The wood may contain silica that dulls edges quickly. Also note the wood has toxicity issues.

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View kdc68's profile

kdc68

1692 posts in 775 days


#5 posted 391 days ago

Shelia and Janette.....What does packing tape applied to hard to cut woods like purpleheart do to improve the cut ?...

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

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Jay Wells

58 posts in 390 days


#6 posted 390 days ago

The tape has a release agent on it to keep it from Sticking to itself on the roll.
This acts as a lubricant on the blade reducing heat.

-- Find your limitations, and ignore them!

View William's profile

William

8486 posts in 1341 days


#7 posted 390 days ago

I am late to this question. Eddie asked me to come on over here.

First of all, how thick purple heart are we talking about here? That makes all the difference.
Beyond that, I’m not sure how much help I am besides some basic suggestions. I’ve never cut purple heart. I have cut some pretty hard woods though.
You said you used 2tlb blades. What brand is that? Some manufactorers use #2, #4, and so on blade sizes in even numbers, where some go with odd numbers.
I use Flying Dutchman blades for all my detail work. My blade of choice is the #3. Others use Olson blades, and they are good too. I’ve just had good luck with the Flying Dutchman.
In the end, I am afraid that blade choice often comes down to a personal choice. Asking ten scrollers what blade to use on a particular project will usually net you ten different answers. What some scrollers find best, others wouldn’t even have near the saw. It’s like walking into a bar and asking which is better, Ford or Chevy. You’ll get a lot of conflicting answers. The only way to learn you own blade choice is through using them.
To demonstrate my point, I started out using Dewalt blade I was buying local. They got hard to find, I started using nothing but Olson. The local variety was lacking. I found I could get better variety, and pricing, online and tried three different brands from online (Pegasus, Olson from what I know now is an inferior supplier, and I can’t remember the third). Anyway, I happened across Mike’s Workshop (the link I provided for FD blades) and tried them. I’ve been getting all my blades from there since. As for sizes, I keep five different sizes on hand and order them by the gross (12 dozen). It comes out cheaper that way and I do use them all.

Anyway, I apologize. I ramble a lot.
What issue were you having cutting the purple heart? I’m assuming it was breaking or dulling a lot of blades. I break blades because I use them past the point of being dull. I know it’s wrong but I’m poor and can’t afford to waste any at all if I can help it. Anyway, blades do dull or break a lot in certain woods, no matter what you do. You can extend the life a little by adjusting tension or feed rate. This, again, is something that you only learn through experience. I don’t know how long you’ve been scrolling.
Sometimes going to a larger blade helps, but that also makes it harder to get smaller details crisp and clean. In those situations we sometimes have to deal with the dulling and just change a lot of blades.
Based on the detail I see in the piece you showed a picture of, I’d use a #3 skip tooth Flying Dutchman blade. This is the equivelant of a #2 Olson blade. As I’ve said though. That’s just me. Your own results and experiences may vary greatly.

It is a nice piece by the way.
Do you live in the same city as Eddie? If so, I’d love to make time for a visit next time I can get that way to see him. I love visiting other scroller’s shops.

-- http://wddsrfinewoodworks.blogspot.com/

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7180 posts in 1418 days


#8 posted 390 days ago

kdc68 – Jay was absolutely right. The tape helps lubricate the blade and eliminates virtually all burning. On extremely hard or dense wood, I use tape on both sides and this solves the problem completely. It usually works well to completely eliminate burning, even with the hardest wood.

As far as getting Olson blades, I have purchased them from The Wooden Teddy Bear for many years. They have great prices and fast and friendly service and are there to answer any questions you have. You can also mix and match types of blades for quantity discounts. If you don’t have a regular supplier, you should give them a try. :)

Sheila

-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts, Sheila Landry Designs http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com "Knowledge is Power"

View nancyann's profile

nancyann

104 posts in 392 days


#9 posted 390 days ago

Thanks so much! I will try the packing tape, in fact have some here. Guess there’s more than one purpose for the packing tape. LOL

-- Nancy Antley

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nancyann

104 posts in 392 days


#10 posted 390 days ago

I have been buying my blades from Seyco, but will try out the Olson blades. Love the Wooden Teddy Bear, so will be ordering from them.

Looking forward to cutting some more purpleheart now.

-- Nancy Antley

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nancyann

104 posts in 392 days


#11 posted 390 days ago

Hi William,
I really appreciate the advise, and will be buying some of the Flying Dutchman blades as well as the Olson blades. I have been told by you and others that the #3 size would be a good one to use in both the Dutchman and Olson blades, so I’ll be buying them especially and try them out. I also buy my blades by the gross. I have been buying my blades from Seyco ever since I purchased my Excalibur from them in 2000. I will also be purchasing from The Wooden Teddy Bear, and Flying Dutchman.

I was given great advice about using packing tape and wrapping both sides of the wood. That this lubricates the blade and helps stop the burning of the wood.

Now I can hardly wait to order all the blades, not to mention more purpleheart to experiment. By the way, I used 1/2” thick purpleheart.

Eddie’s my brother-in-law, and Mick and I are only approx. 15 minutes away from Eddie, even though we live in separate towns. You are welcome to come by anytime with Eddie.

-- Nancy Antley

View kdc68's profile

kdc68

1692 posts in 775 days


#12 posted 390 days ago

Jay and Shelia....thank you for your replies.. I wouldn’t have thought of that to be the reason….great tip !

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

View William's profile

William

8486 posts in 1341 days


#13 posted 390 days ago

Actually Nancy, the Flyinh Dutchman and Olson blades are sized differently.
A #3 in FD is the same as a #2 in Olson. #5 is the same as a #4, and so on. They are sized along the same lines, except FD uses odd numbers and Olson uses even. I don’t know why they do them this way.

I’ve never used packing tape. I do use painter’s tape. I prefer the blue kind because it sticks good and releases easily. I often use the white kind though because it’s cheaper, and I am usually broke.
Anyway, from what I can tell, the painter’s tape does basically the same thing. The reason I use it though is that I like to cut very intricate patterns sometimes. If I glue my pattern directly to the wood, it is sometimes a pain in the rear to remove without damaging a delicate piece. However, the painter’s tape peels right off. I just cover the wood in tape, glue the pattern down using spay glue (I use 3M Super 77), cut, then remove tape.

-- http://wddsrfinewoodworks.blogspot.com/

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nancyann

104 posts in 392 days


#14 posted 390 days ago

Good idea on the tape. I hate to say it, but sometimes I have to use paint thinner when it’s difficult to remove the paper from delicate work, so the blue or white tape might make it easier for me to remove it.

-- Nancy Antley

View William's profile

William

8486 posts in 1341 days


#15 posted 390 days ago

That’s exactly what made me start using the tape. I had several pieces that I had to use so much paint thinner that it made my wood look blotchy. I seen the tape idea in Scrollsaw Woodworking & Crafts magazines and have been doing it ever since.

-- http://wddsrfinewoodworks.blogspot.com/

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