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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It's my grandparent's 65th anniversary next year and I'd like to make them a mantle clock with something like "Celebrating 65 years together" across the top in wooden letters. Therein lies my problem. I know very little about how to make the lettering. I do have a scrollsaw, and have cut out a few block letters already, but they required far more sanding to get smooth than I'd like. Clearly, I'm doing something wrong.

There seem to be a large selection of blades that I could have used, but I had no idea which to pick, or why I would want to pick that one, so I used a random one with a high TPI count thinking that would give a nice cut. I took my time, but it seemed as if the blade wanted to jump ahead and cut in small increments instead of smooth and steady. How do you pick the right blade for your task, and how do you properly adjust the tension knob? My scrollsaw has a variable speed. Does it work better when the blade oscillates fast? Slow? Somewhere between the extremes?

Last time, I just printed out what I wanted on a sheet of paper and glued that to a board that I had ready. Then I just went to the saw and got busy. I sanded off the paper after cutting everything out. Small letters, and power sanders resulted in a couple of letters I had to do twice. Is there an easier way to attach and remove the pattern so I break less?

Lastly, are there fonts that work well with scrolling, or is it purely a matter of preference and skill?
 

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I personally do a lot of scrollsawing so I can inject some help here. Not all scroll saws are created equal, with that said you do with what you have. There are different blades made for either soft or hardwoods and in between blades to do both. If you use a blades that has some reverse teeth on it, it helps to keep the burrs away from the bottom of the wood. If the blade seems like it jumps at times it may be that the sawdust is intermitely clogging up when you cut, ( might be pushing too hard or just thick wood you,re going thru.). Less tpi blades help that also. You have to let the blade do the cutting, when you push too much the blade defects and you get uneven cuts. Also square up the table to the blade before you start. Just my 2 cents, hope it helps some.
 

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It's my grandparent's 65th anniversary next year and I'd like to make them a mantle clock with something like "Celebrating 65 years together" across the top in wooden letters. Therein lies my problem. I know very little about how to make the lettering. I do have a scrollsaw, and have cut out a few block letters already, but they required far more sanding to get smooth than I'd like. Clearly, I'm doing something wrong.

There seem to be a large selection of blades that I could have used, but I had no idea which to pick, or why I would want to pick that one, so I used a random one with a high TPI count thinking that would give a nice cut. I took my time, but it seemed as if the blade wanted to jump ahead and cut in small increments instead of smooth and steady. How do you pick the right blade for your task, and how do you properly adjust the tension knob? My scrollsaw has a variable speed. Does it work better when the blade oscillates fast? Slow? Somewhere between the extremes?

Last time, I just printed out what I wanted on a sheet of paper and glued that to a board that I had ready. Then I just went to the saw and got busy. I sanded off the paper after cutting everything out. Small letters, and power sanders resulted in a couple of letters I had to do twice. Is there an easier way to attach and remove the pattern so I break less?

Lastly, are there fonts that work well with scrolling, or is it purely a matter of preference and skill?
go here and talk to mike, and get his blades , they are very good, ask him what to use he has been doing this for a long time, the link http://www.scrollsawbladespatterns.com/blade_selection.htm
 

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Good advise... you asked about speed, well faster is better for most wood cuts.

As for letters breaking with power sanders... sand your wood surfaces prior to cutting and once you got the proper blade etc., you should only need a little hand sanding to touch up the work. One last tip... orient your letters to the grain of the wood (longest runs should be with the grain.

As for the wood - if your cutting thin lettering - most folks use Baltic birch plywood for that sort of work. Not all Baltic ply is from the Baltic area but now days it can be from a number of sources - so long as it's a hardwood plywood, you'll be OK.

As Geltz was asking, what kind of saw do you have? Is old and accepting pinned blades only? Is the motor strong enough? Scrolling involves variables in saws and woods and blades - if you're still having problems and need to ask more questions, a picture or two might help us.
 

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I've found the easiest way to remove the pattern from the work is lay it facedown on a smooth flat surface (sheet of glass) and splash your solvent on it. The solvent will wick up under the piece and soak in, takes a lot less that trying to wet a rag and wipe it down. After a minute you can pick up the piece and many times peel the pattern off whole.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
http://www.sears.com/craftsman-16in...p-00921602000P?prdNo=1&blockNo=1&blockType=G1

I have that scroll saw. It's cheap, but it's all I needed at the time. I don't remember what it was I was working on when I got it, but I didn't think I'd ever need it again, so I didn't want to get an expensive one. Now I enjoy playing with the scroll saw so I probably should have invested in a better one.

I've been using a standard yellow wood glue to glue my pattern down. Paper is made from wood, so it works pretty well. Is there a special glue and solvent I should have been using?
 

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They have spray glues and removable glue sticks for glueing patterns down you can get. I never used the yellow glue myself, I would think it would gum up the blade? I personally just use mostly clear scotch tape to hold my patterns down. It strengthens the edges of the pattern to use again and it lubricates the blade for me. I don't keep the pattern on after cutting for sanding myself, but that's me.
 

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I do a lot of scroll work, I use blue painters tape on wood, then spray contact on pattern then adhere to the wood with the blue painters tape on it, comes off great no mess with solvents.
 

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Use spray adhesive on the wood AND the back of the pattern. Let the adhesive tack up a bit before attaching. When done, use a heat gun on the surface and the pattern will come right off. Mineral spirits will remove any glue residue left behind.

I'm in the same boat when it comes to blades. I'm considering the starting pack from the link that was posted a few responses up. I'll be watching this thread to see if anyone else has recommendations.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for all the tips and tricks guys. I'd give them a try, but I was recruited to help out at the hunting lease fixing a couple of leaky roofs so I will be there for about a week. I'll definitely give some of those things a try when I get back.
 

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I prefer using carbon copy "paper" to transfer my drawings to wood. Pencil markings are alot easier to sand off than paper and glue.

Hard to answer the blade question. Buy a few of each in a combo package and figure out which one works the best with the saw you have and the wood you are using.
 
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