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  • Writer's pictureKaren

The Art of Scroll Sawing - Pt 2

Following on from the recent first part, we now get to the nitty gritty!

Cut Away!

Now we have all the preparation completed, we are at the point of making a start on the cutting.

The machine we use is an Axminster 16” Trade Scroll Saw which was purchased after about a year of working with a mid-range scroll saw, but as we were starting to do more complex work, the quick –change blade facility on the Axminster really became a necessity. I would heartily recommend the machine for simplicity of use, smoothness, build quality, stability and after-sales dealings with the company have been first class.

The blades used are Swiss made Pegas brand, which for the cost, accuracy and long life work for us. The ones used are Super-Skip No.1, or for very fine work, No. 2/0.

No.1 Blade specifications: Thickness: 0.0102” Blade width: 0.030”

No. 2/0 Blade specifications: Thickness: 0.0087” Blade Width: 0.0236”

The blades need to be threaded through the wood before cutting can start, so many pilot holes are drilled using a 0.8mm drill bit into the black parts of the image. This will just give sufficient clearance for the blade to pass through and allow the individual pieces to be cut.

Off We Go!

Teeny, tiny cuts. All the black needs to be cut out.

The saw is used at a slow speed of 400 strokes/minute which suits me, and the flimsy nature of the wood I’m working with. Preference is probably to cut out the small, intricate pieces or particularly complex cuts first, to leave the wood with more strength to cut the larger pieces later.

Some of the more intricate areas can be one long cut taking up to an hour, even though it may give the impression it is many cuts. For some reason, this can provide with a great deal of satisfaction.

Tiny island sites, need special attention as due to the size it is very easy to lose or misplace them. Once cut they cannot be replaced, as it is never possible to replicate them due to the wood grain and shape. Many a time in the early days I’ve stood staring at the floor looking for them, or lost them down the blade hole and they have disappeared! Nowadays, they are secured with tape, in the order they are cut.

Drilling, cutting and carefully preserving the parts can take between three and five hours.

Join me for the last instalment soon. As usual, any comments appreciated below!

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