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Smiling Daisy Crafts

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Reply with quote  #1 
I am just learning to use the scroll saw.  I bought John Nelson's scroll saw workbook.  I went to Home Depot and bought a couple 1 x 6 pine boards.  The first lesson has lines that I needed to cut: straight, curved, angled, etc.  The book said that I should not push the wood but just guide it.  I also did the 2nd lesson (cutting out a cat) and the 3rd lesson (cutting out a fish).  I am a little frustrated because I feel that I do have to push the wood not just guide it.  It is a new blade so it can't be that the blade is dull.  I'm not sure how to set the tension or what speed is best to use.  Will those 2 things cause it to be more difficult to cut the wood.  Could it be the type of pine boards I bought?  Since I am new to using a scroll saw, is their a better type of wood for me to learn on?
Udie

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Reply with quote  #2 
Hello Smiling Daisy Crafts - Let's see if I can help you.
Well you sure asked a loaded question.
There is not only one answer, but let me give you a few ideas to think about.
Blade tension - the blade should flex no more than 1/8" or less side-to-side, forwards and backwards.
When you ping it you should hear the musical note "High-C'.
You really should not have to push hard on the blade when feeding wood.
Plywood will wear out a blade faster than solid wood.
You selection of Pine is a good choice, try not to place your pattern in knot areas, they are extremely hard to cut thru even for an experienced scroll sawer.
How long does a blade last - depends on blade/size, material you a cutting, speed and force exerted. To many variables ... but usually a new blade will last about 30 minutes of continuous cutting. Scroll saw people like to buy their blades in bulk pack, 144 blades, it is a lot cheaper that way, and you can probably mix and match blade numbers. Buying locally in small packs is much more expensive.
If you cannot follow the line ... it's time to change the blade. This feel for the blade will come in time.
Make sure the blade is in correctly, with the teeth facing down.
Go to the Olson web site (olsonsaw.net) for charts on blade selection and speeds, I think you books should have that also. You may even look into Reverse tooth blades and crown tooth. I think #5 and #2 are a good starting blade for say 3/4" Pine.
The blade will flex, it will flex backwards when feeding into the wood. Sometimes you just have to wait for it to catch up because you are feeding it too fast.
Economy blades are stamped meaning there is a burr on the back of the blade the forces you to go right when making a straight line. Most of the time you can turn on the saw and using a file, remove the burr helping you make better tight turns.
I would suggest to go to YouTube and search "Scroll Saw Basics" ... there are dozens of videos which you will benefit from watching ... you will, I am sure learn a lot from them.
So - thinner wood to start with would be better, maybe 1/2" Pine, or try 1/4 hardboard panels and 1/2" MDF.
But if it is too hard to get, using the 3/4" Pine is just fine.
Stay away from the hardwoods right now.
Check your blade tension, don't worry about breaking the blade, when you do, it just makes a loud noise that scares you; it scares me all the time.
If you have cut all the things you have described, it would be time to change the blade.
Speed is a touch and feel thing, try a lower speed and see how that works and then increase the speed. You will get a feeling for the right speed for the wood and the blade you are using and how you scroll. Everybody is a little different.
Hope this helps.
Udie

Once again, thanks for the Personal Message, I hope I was some help.
Feel free to contact me on any subject.
Udie

Ken Martin

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Reply with quote  #3 
Hi Smiling Daisy Crafts

Udie gave you a great answer above, and the best thing I can add is to finish the chapters in the book, and Relax. 
Relax. Relax. Relax. Relax. Relax. Relax. Relax. Relax. Relax. Relax. Relax. Relax. Relax.
Blade tension is the biggest thing.  Too loose and the blade won't bite and too tight and the blade will break.  Three things brake a blade usually, 1 to tight. 2. going to fast. and 3 using a warn out blade.

I worked my way through the book you are using on 1/4" wood using a number 5 blade.  First because I didn't know any better, and second that is what I had.  Now on my 1/4" puzzles I can use a very thin Puzzle blade or a number 2.  You will get there as will.

The reason they tell you to relax is so that you don't put too much pressure on the blade.  
Always watch as you are starting out that you feed the blade into the cutting teeth not pushing from the side.  In the beginning I was always pushing the blade from one side or the other trying to make it get around the corner and stay on the line.  Remember the blade only cuts from the front.  You will begin to see the right way to make all kinds of corners as you go through the chapters in the book.

What size blade are you using to start?
When you practice projects from the book are you covering the wood with clear masking tape?  The tape lubricates the blade and will make it last longer.  Still to this day covering both sides of the wood with masking tape.  As you go along you will see there are a lot of ways to get your patterns on the wood, and by going online and watching videos you will begin to see more and more of them.

One thing that might help you get used to how the blades move and cutting works is to practice on a 12x12 peel and stick vinyl tiles.  You can get one piece at a time at Home Depot for a $1.00 or less.
Caution:  The blade will run through the vinyl tile like butter.  So go slow.
If you are using a small blade to practice this might be a better way to go.
When I am cutting templates out of these tiles I like to just take enough of the backing paper off to stick on my practice patterns for the day.  Still cover the pattern with clear masking tape before you start cutting for a smoother cut and it makes you get used to putting on the tape.

Most frustrating for me was trying to learn what blade to use with what wood.
When do I need a bigger blade, or a different kind of blade.
Like Udie said go to the Olsen web site and download their blade chart. 
However, if you start a new project just ask, and we will do our best to steer you in the right direction. 

John form Toymakingplans.com once recommended Olson PGT Blades(Precision Ground Tooth) and I have been using them sense.  I also like the brand "Flying Dutchman" Blades.
When you think you know what you want do buy by the gross, it will be cheaper.

Best thing for now is to go through all the Chapters in the book, and start watching on line videos.

When you have any questions just ask.  I mean any questions, because we were all right where you are now.   Also I know there are people out there just waiting for someone else to ask a question, they are thinking of, so they don't have to ask it. When answers come they always help more than just one person.

Welcome and Keep in Touch
e-mail: kenmartin4141@gmail.com

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Smiling Daisy Crafts

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Reply with quote  #4 
     As for the blades, I looked through the lessons and needed #5 & #3 blades.  I bought a pack of each at the Woodcraft store.  If you can recommend a site for buying them in bulk, that would be great.
     With the clear tape, I saw the video that said to put it on one side and attach the pattern to it but I didn't realize that putting it on both side will help the blade last longer.  I will try that. 
     My friend's dad gave me some pieces of 2 x 6 wood left over from building an extension on his house.  I assume it is pine.  I was wondering how thick can the wood be when cutting on a scroll saw.  Are there tricks to cutting thinker wood?
     Thanks again
Ken Martin

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Reply with quote  #5 
Good Day To You

     Are you looking for Plain End Blades or Pin End Blades?  Plain end blades are better for small work because you don't need such a big starter hole for inside work.
Two sites I have used are:
     http://www.olsonsaw.net/  I bought a number of different blades from them, and bought the #5 PGT Plain End Skip/Reverse Tooth No.455R Univ. No 5RG in bulk.  They came in a packet of 64.
     http://www.mikesworkshop.com/blades.htm  (3 gross or more you get 10% discount on blades)
     In the beginning you might want to buy a number of different size blades to experiment with before you buy a lot in bulk.  The #5 is OK because you will use a lot of that size.
     One way to tell your blade is starting to ware:  You will find you are putting more pressure on the blade to make it cut.  
     Good luck on your new adventure.

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Sdaupanner

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Reply with quote  #6 
have ordered from these people and service is great and their product is even better :
Mike's Workshop, Inc.
P.O. Box 107
Brandon, SD  57005 USA
Phone 1 605 582-6732
Fax 1 605 582-3792
email       mike@mikesworkshop.com
Printable
Order Form
 Mix and match in same blade category for gross and half gross pricing.
Add $3.00 shipping and handling.
Minimum order 3 dozen.
Canadian checks and money orders accepted in US dollars
drawn on US Banks only.
I know that ken put their name up there and I will double endorse them.
Don
Ken Martin

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Reply with quote  #7 
Hi Again

     It might just be me, but I like having the tape on both sides.  If you have a problem with the tape pulling slivers of wood up when you remove the tape.(Like it will do on Redwood) Try This:  Put a layer of blue tape down than attaching the pattern to the blue tape.  Some people say that is enough, but I still wrap again with the clear tape.
It is way cheaper and less disappointing than having the tape ruin a project after you did all the work of cutting the pattern out.
When you are done cutting the blue tape will release very cleanly.
Another idea:  when you start making templates for your work, I like to use the yellow frog tape, then just put the template on the tape and trace with pencil or pen.  You can see the pattern on the yellow tape much better. 
Try several different ways and see what works best for you.  Try the clear tape over the blue tape one time and then try the blue tape by itself.  You will begin to see and feel what you like the best. 
     When you are stack cutting, like in one of the chapters will tell you about.  I use the blue tape one way and the clear tape the other.
     Rule of thumb:  The thicker or harder the wood is will require a bigger blade.  Depending on your saw the #5 blades will work for most woods up to about 1" or an 1&1/2" depending on the wood.  If you see deflection, meaning when you look across the cut and see one side is different than the other. you will know that the wood is to thick, or to hard, or your blade is warn out.  
     Tip:  When starting a new project and you think you have the perfect blade, and it is 90 degrees to the table, before you start cutting the pattern, make a small U shaped cut somewhere in the waist wood.  If the curve of the U is uniform and both ends look the same, you will be good to start your project.
     If however the U is deformed or the ends are not the same, assuming you cut straight, that gives you a good idea that the blade might be to small for the wood.  Try a bigger blade, or cut much slower using less pressure.
     Experiment and when you think you have it, try a different wood or blade on the same wood, just to see and feel the difference.
     I am by far not the best at this scroll saw business, but these are a couple things that might help me.
     Remember Have Fun

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Smiling Daisy Crafts

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Reply with quote  #8 
Thanks for the tips.  The interesting thing is that I watched some videos last night on You Tube and they used the blue tape so I was wondering which is better.  I come into the forum today and see that you addressed the topic before I even had a chance to ask the question.  This weekend, I plan to work on more lessons so I will try using the different tapes.  I have the clear tape.  I will pick up some of the blue tape on my way home from work.  One of the videos said that he uses #5 & #3 blades the most then #7. The beginning lessons of the book use #5 & #3 so I am starting with those but eventually I will get some other ones and experiment with them. 
Udie

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Reply with quote  #9 
Smiling Daisy Crafts
Glad to see you are jumping into it with both feet.
Whether to use or not use tape and what kind is really a personal preference.
What you have outlined in determining which works for you is the ideal way to solve this question.
Even if you did use spay adhesive to mount your paper patterns, removal is really not that difficult.
Many scroll saw enthusiasts use a hair dryer to heat up the pattern and most times it curls up for easy removal.
Keep us posted, love hearing your progress.
Udie
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Reply with quote  #10 
I happened to think that this is another place that a lot of info is available and they have a lot of pattens for the scroll sawyer no matter the level. Toymaker is the leader in toys and that is of all the web sites I have been on and they have the most helpful hint and tricks but there are a lot of tips and scroll patterns on Steve Goods Website also his web site is  http://scrollsawworkshop.blogspot.com and it is worth a look when it comes to making trivets and the such. Just a little help I hope.
Don
Smiling Daisy Crafts

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Reply with quote  #11 
Thanks Don.  Last night when I was looking at some Youtube videos, I found one by Steve Good where he cute out of wood samples of 3 different kinds of blades so you could really see the difference between them.  I may not get the names right but he had one where all the teeth are pointing down, a reverse tooth and a skip tooth.  That really helped to see the blades like that.  I also watched a couple other basic scroll sawing videos of Steve's which were very helpful.  I will have to check out his website, too.  I am looking forward to working on more lessons this weekend.  I know the next lesson is cutting out a butterfly so I will be cutting both inside and outside cuts.  The 3 lessons I did so far were just outside cuts.
Hawaiilad AKA: Larry

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Reply with quote  #12 
     I would say you have received allot of great advice.  Scrolling is so different from any other type of woodworking.  I have been scrolling for over 40 years and have learned allot from other people, but I think you will find you will find out what works best for you and don't be surprised if you change this many times over the years.  I have taught allot of people to scroll.  I loved teaching people that knew how to use a sewing machine the most...they already knew how to "thread" or feed the wood into the blade.  
     I would say to you that don't worry how fast you are cutting right now...that will come in time...if you find you need to cut fast, you might just like cutting at slower speeds better.  Following the lines I would say is the most important thing you need to learn.  I agree that 1/2" soft wood (pine and poplar) would be the best right now.  Try to cut no thicker than 1" now.  Depending on what machine you are using, you should be able to cut up to 2" or so, but you will soon understand why using woods under 1" thick is allot easier to cut.  I also use Flying Dutchman and Olson blades...FD most of the time.  If you have the time, give Mike a call and speak with him about the blades he sells (that come from Germany by the way)..he loves to share what he has learned as well.  By telling him you are new at the "sport" he will give you a play by play of what every blade he sells should be used for. Using the correct blade is 1/2 of the job.  You want the outcome of what you just cut to look good on the front and back, and type of blade will help with this.
     To tape or not to tape.  This also is something you will learn to like or not.  It does take time to attach the tape and glue the pattern on top of the tape, but it does help in allowing the blade to keep a bit cooler when cutting.  Of late, I have started using a product that has several names to it, bit it all has the same outcome.  It comes in 8 1/2" X 11" sheets or 5 - 20 foot rolls (big savings here). You cut it to fit your pattern, lay it onto the board you are using (it has a light coat of adhesive on this side to allow you to remove from the wood if needed, peal off the top layer (very easy to do) and attach your pattern to the top side of the adhesive and smooth out.  The pattern stays in place (something you will find does happen all the time when using spray glue), it is easy to remove pattern from the wood, and does help to cool your blade when cutting.  So why do I use this instead of using packing tape, painters tape and spray glue....it saves me a couple steeps.  When you are doing allot of cutting you will try to find a way of saving steps.
     Find out what works best for you when cutting..standing, setting in an office style chair or a tall bar stool type of chair.  I started out standing because I seemed to have more control when cutting, but went to the bar stool design when the back and legs started giving out.
     Because scrolling can take awhile to complete, get some music to pass the time.  I find it gives me plenty of time to think and plan the next project.  For many years I cut for speed because we had a good business selling wholesale to stores, but these days I cut for the Grandkids and our own household most of the time.  I have a pretty complete shop, so I use allot of tools.  
     I believe that having a proper saw will make it much easier to cut and much more fun if you are not fighting the machine.  Of course over these years, I have tried or owned nearly every scroll saw type that was offered for sale.  For the past 15 years I have have been using two different Hegner saws. They are at the top range in price for Scroll saws it's true. but I find them to be the best for my style of cutting.  If you have local woodworking stores that sell saws (not the big box stores) that will allow you to try out the saw (perhaps they have classes as well), this will show you how other saws cut.   I still have one of those $100 saws setting in the shop for anyone that wishes to learn.
     Check out the website http://www.scrollsawer.com.  Great bunch of people from across the world that love to share free patterns, designs and tons of information.  Remember, we were all new at some time, so ask all the questions you can and I'm sure some of the answers you receive will help you along.
blackwolf

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Reply with quote  #13 
Thank you "Larry" as I am new to scrolling too [smile]
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Smiling Daisy Crafts

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Reply with quote  #14 
Thanks for all the info.  I haven't had time to get down to my work area and spend a lot of time.  I did attach 4 patterns with 2 using blue tape and 2 using just clear tape.  I only had time to cut out 2 fish which just have outside cuts.  I'm sure I will have to try these different techniques for awhile before I will be able to decide which is best for me.   The other 2 patterns I attached were for butterflies with inside and outside cuts.  I have the holes drilled so I hope to work on cutting those out this weekend.  I think I mentioned earlier that I am just working with 1 x 6 pine I bought at Home Depot.  I noticed on one of the fish that the tip of one fin broke off.  Is that because I am using pine?  If the pattern has pointed or thin areas, should I be using something other than pine?  Because I want to make toys, I want to make sure they are safe.
phantom scroller

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Reply with quote  #15 
I have been scrolling since time began, man I'm old and all my patterns are stuck onto the work by spraying a re-positional glue on the pattern then attach to wood with sellotape on top of that, I have never had any issues removing it and I use a 3 ultra reverse blade mainly and a 5 also puzzle blades for puzzles.

Oh and spiral blades only when forced to because of size of piece.
Just practice and more practice and never give up is all I will say besides listen to all the great advice given on here.
 
And here's where I get my blades from  www.scrollsawbladespatterns.com

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