Scroll Saw Experts - Need advice

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KenOfCary

Ken
Staff member
Corporate Member
I'm going to start a project - the horses head that Steve Good recently published in his newsletter/blog. This will be in 3/4" Quarter-Sawn White Oak - had the perfect sized scrap piece on the workbench.

Question is: What size blade do you recommend for 3/4" QSWO? Seems like my normal #2 or 3 that I use for 1/4" or 1/2" stock are not going to be large enough. This is not an intricate piece. A lot of open space - it is more an outline in wood.

TIA - Ken
 

wdkits1

New User
Mike
I would go with a #5 skip tooth for any sections with fairly tight curves and a # 7 skip tooth for all straight and slightly curves sections.
 

Charles Lent

Charley
Corporate Member
I agree with Mike, but would probably cut the whole thing with the #5 because I tend to avoid changing blades unless I have to. For intricate patterns with tight turns you may need to go even smaller on the blade size. If you don't get the smooth finish that you want in the cuts, go down in blade size but still use the skip tooth blades. Reduce the speed if you get any burning. You can also rub a piece of paraffin wax or candle wax on the sides of the blade to reduce the burning slightly. If the blade gets hot, it will burn the wood and it will reduce the blade life.

Charley
 

Berta

Berta
Corporate Member
I agree with Mike and Charlie. I do tend to get lazy too. Changing to the bigger blade will reduce burning and blade life though.
 

sawman101

Bruce Swanson
Corporate Member
What everybody said! I like to cover the work piece with painters tape, then apply the pattern. This will lubricate the blade and eliminate burning. The blade will cut better, and stay sharper longer. I do use 1 and 3 blades, but mainly 5 and 7, reverse skip tooth blades, as I'm usually cutting 1/2" or thicker stock. Good luck Ken.
 

NOTW

Notw
Senior User
+1 on using the #5 scroll reverse blade for the entire pattern. I also typically put packing tape over the pattern to lubricate the blade during cutting.
 

KenOfCary

Ken
Staff member
Corporate Member
Got a good start on this with a #5 reverse blade - have the outside cut out today and will work on the inside cuts as time permits. Working on the Nursery Glider lately, but I'm at a point where I'm sanding and can only do that for so long before I need a distraction.

The wife really liked this pattern and I found a nice scrap of QSWO that won't be good for much of anything else. I'll probably end up fuming it and using a Varnish Oil finish. Then mount it on a scrap piece of Curly Maple. Pictures once I get a little further on with this.

Thanks all for the advice.
 

cskipper

Cathy
Corporate Member
Sounds like you are on your way, but I thought I'd throw in mtcw. My default blade is a #5 UltraReverse, but will use a #7 if I can use it. I don't like to change sizes during a project - but mostly just to keep my head straight. I use painters tape (delicate release) on under the pattern and on the bottom of the piece. Packing tape would tend to either leave a sticky residue or be difficult to remove from delicate fretwork (or both).
 

Charles Lent

Charley
Corporate Member
When you get to doing smaller work it helps to start in the middle and work your way gradually out. That way the outside uncut area holds things together and it also gives you something to hang onto.

Charley
 

cskipper

Cathy
Corporate Member
It's also okay to tape (scotch tape) the waste pieces back into their place to provide support for the remaining cuts. It's always convenient to have tape available in case the pattern lifts, etc...
 

cskipper

Cathy
Corporate Member
An after thought - one of the most important things is to let the saw cut - don't force the wood into the blade or it will bow and/or break. One easy test to see if you are forcing the wood is to carefully let go of all pressure on the wood and watch the blade. If it or the wood moves your are pushing the wood, which will cause inaccurate cuts.
 

KenOfCary

Ken
Staff member
Corporate Member
I did use painters blue tape under the pattern. A trick I learned a while back watching the scrollers at the Outreach events. I probably am forcing the cut somewhat. Occasionally as the blade exits the wood it goes 'twang' as it snaps back straight. Ah well, the touch will come with practice and the cuts are looking pretty good at this point. I will probably end up fuming the piece and then using Varnish Oil as a finish. Mounting it on a scrap piece of Tiger Maple - probably with dowels or perhaps a domino, but it might be too late to put that in the piece as the base is too short now. A dowel will be easier. Should've planned ahead on the domino hole before I cut the outside.
 
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