Scrollsawing as a Hobby

The Need a hobby? My wife and I found scrollsawing twenty years ago. It was a fun, challenging hobby. We were avid hobbyists for years.

Scrollsawing describes using a scroll saw to cut a design into a medium. Wood is common, but metal is another option. We cut our portraits in one-quarter inch plywood, but it wasn’t the only medium. An example, I did a special project with seven-eights poplar.

Start a Project

The process was to adhere a pattern to the wood using a temporary spray adhesive. Then, holes drilled through the design covered wood. We preferred a one-sixteenth inch bit to make the holes. It made one large enough to fit the scroll saw blade and small enough for tiny sections of the pattern marked for removal.

Spiral blades were our preference. They have teeth that allow cutting in any direction. My wife used them to create the Cal Ripken portrait, and I to create the bird of prey on stump portrait. There were many other complicated projects cut with spiral blades.

The length of the blades, coupled with the thin plywood, allowed us to cut two or more copies at the same time. I would cut a sheet of plywood into multiple pieces of the same size. Then, two or three pieces adhered together, and the pattern added.  We framed the extra copies and gave them away or sold.

Working with a Scroll Saw

We did our first projects using a Dremel scroll saw. It had a blade clamp below the deck and one attached to the upper arm. Another control tensioned the blade, so it was tight. These are standard for scroll saws.

We had it a short time before becoming frustrated with it. It cut well enough, but the fixed upper arm was the issue. The problem was how we had to work.

We fed the blade through a hole in the workpiece — the section cut and then the blade freed from the top clamp. We lifted the workpiece off the table to thread the blade through the hole for the next part needing cut. Missing the hole while trying to thread it through the small holes often resulted in bent blades, ruining them. Even when it passed through the wood without issue, we lost time and patience in tensioning it again. Scrollsawing while frustrated or in a hurry can lead to a destroyed piece of work.

We suffered using this scroll saw for a year before we replaced it with a Dewalt saw. It had advantages over the Dremel. It ran smoother and quieter. The upper arm lifted with the blade attached by loosening the lower clamp.  This made it easy to feed the blade into a new hole in the pattern. Reattaching the blade and tensioning it was easier. We had less frustration with the Dewalt.

We enjoyed creating the pictured works. They were others I may spotlight in future posts.

Do you have a hobby? I would enjoy hearing about it, or questions you might have about our hobby. The comment form is for your convenience.

I look forward to hearing from you.

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