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Jigsaw or similar for cutting curves in box tops?

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Forum topic by Elizabeth posted 09-13-2013 05:41 PM 557 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Elizabeth

810 posts in 1831 days


09-13-2013 05:41 PM

I want to get into making tone boxes aka tongue drums. I have a scroll saw but I see that a lot of people make the solid boxes and then cut the tongues out of the tops using a jigsaw. (Apparently the sound of the tones will change if you try to tune them off the box and then attach it after cutting.) I don’t have a jig saw.

I wonder how many finished boxes end up ruined by screwing up the top!

Assuming I decide to go the cutting-in-situ route, what jigsaw or other cutting device would you recommend? I think something lighter weight (3-5 pounds maybe) would be better than heavier for me. And obviously something with good control for cutting around tight curves. I have seen some with lights on them, which would be nice but not essential. Would prefer to keep the cost in the $40-$80 range but if there is good reason to go higher I will consider it.

Apparently somewhere outside the US Black and Decker make (or used to make) a 360 jigsaw designed for cutting curves but it runs on 240 volts. I also briefly looked at the Dremel Trio as it has jigsaw-like cutting ability but since it uses a spinning bit the cuts can go in any direction. However, after reading several reviews I’m not sure if it would be right for this job.

If you were buying a tool for this purpose, what would it be?


9 replies so far

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

2860 posts in 1931 days


#1 posted 09-13-2013 08:22 PM

If I visualize the “tongue” on the box correctly, I would use a handheld router, even a trim router and a jig to follow the outline with. The jig would be quite easy to make. I would think the final “tuning” would have to be done by hand.

View nailbanger2's profile

nailbanger2

962 posts in 1831 days


#2 posted 09-13-2013 08:27 PM

+1 for Mr. Ron, but if going the jig saw route, I don’t think the $100 budget will cut it. I like the Bosch, and they’re more, unless they’re used.

-- Wish I were Norm's Nephew

View Elizabeth's profile

Elizabeth

810 posts in 1831 days


#3 posted 09-13-2013 08:42 PM

Here are some of the tongue drum projects from LJ:

http://lumberjocks.com/projects/15495
http://lumberjocks.com/projects/21023
http://lumberjocks.com/projects/87484

Nailbanger which Bosch do you like? HD.com is showing half a dozen from $99 to $299.

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nailbanger2

962 posts in 1831 days


#4 posted 09-13-2013 08:51 PM

Oh, I didn’t see your message on the bottom and was checking out the drums. One was cut with a jig saw and another with a scrollsaw. I’ll go to HD.com right now. My Bosch cost me $179 about 10 years ago. Be right back.

-- Wish I were Norm's Nephew

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nailbanger2

962 posts in 1831 days


#5 posted 09-13-2013 09:10 PM

The thing I like about my jigsaw is the smoothness with which it cuts. Without the ability to feel the saw while cutting, I’m going to be making a guess based on specs, which are all very close. All have a tool less blade change, that’s a plus. I would make sure of that if you decide to go with the $99 JS260, as it has a picture of the allen wrench on the power cord. I myself would go with the JS470EB at $139. It has more power (1 amp) and a lower center of gravity. While it weighs 3 lbs. more, while you use it you will have the weight resting on your stock, so I don’t know if that will be a big deal for you or not. As always, the blade makes a big difference, and there is quite the variety. Luckily, they generally have a chart where they sell the blades.

Sorry I couldn’t be of more help.

-- Wish I were Norm's Nephew

View Elizabeth's profile

Elizabeth

810 posts in 1831 days


#6 posted 09-13-2013 09:19 PM

Thank you so much for your input!

View nailbanger2's profile

nailbanger2

962 posts in 1831 days


#7 posted 09-13-2013 09:23 PM

De Nada!

-- Wish I were Norm's Nephew

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

11234 posts in 1378 days


#8 posted 09-14-2013 01:51 AM

I cut mine with a scrollsaw and the put the box together. I used the Wood Magazine pattern and yes the tone will be more resonant after the box is constructed.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

2860 posts in 1931 days


#9 posted 09-14-2013 08:10 PM

After looking at the drum pictures, I can see that a router would not work. I think this is a job for a scroll saw; something like a Hegner or an older Delta.

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