When cutting, only use dry wood particularly air-drying boards and carefully study grain patterns, identifying grain direction and using only those pieces in your collection that most closely match that pattern. Also ensure that when you cut, check the cut and square constantly and ensure the pattern line is visible.
One of the most important parts of the scroll saw is the foot operated on/off switch: it provides unparalleled control during cutting. By using double side tape and sanding shims during contouring, this ensures smooth transitions between pieces.
During finishing, try to avoid using worn out sandpaper on the wood as this can burnish it. While used sandpaper can be used, it should be only during sanding sharp or fragile bits.
2) 90 Degree Cutting Angles
One of the most important things to ensure during stack cutting is whether the blade is cutting straight up and down by making a short cut in a piece of wood. How?
- Pulling the wood back from the blade, followed by
- Placing the blade before the wood and positioning the wood piece so the cut is facing the blade.
- Sliding the cut into the blade; if it fits, the blade is at a 90 degree cutting angle to the table. If it doesn't, the table will need to be readjusted.
3) Drilling Thin Wood
When using drill presses on ¼" thin or thinner wood or plywood, it may be more useful to insert a scrap wood piece beneath the project piece for added reinforcement.
This tip is particularly helpful if you are new to woodworking. Don't stress out—relax and take things easy—while you might make mistakes, being relaxed will help reduce cutting errors. And remember: finishing a project always takes longer than the estimation. Fact. Don't try to do more than you can just to finish things "on time".
5) Successfully Drill Pressing
When drilling a hole that needs to go through a board, never drill all the way in one go, since this can permanently splinter or damage the wood. Drill until the bit's tip barely breaks through the surface and turn the piece over, continue drilling on the other side. Remember to be careful when exerting sideways pressure on any attachments while you work since drill presses are not built to handle sideways pressure.
6) Taking Care of Your Scroll Saw Blades
Storing blades over a long period of time can cause them to rust; spraying them over with a thin coat of WD40 or oil is a great preventative measure.
7) Preventing Wood from Burning
Wrapping clear packaging tape across the top of your hardwood pattern can prevent it from burning during cutting. When you press the tape down against the surface it prevents any sawdust from accumulating beneath it and lubricates the wood, preventing it from burning.
8) Fretwork Finishes
The easiest way to get a fretwork finish is by submerging pieces in a solution of a solvent-based stain combined with shallow foil. When you use a lint free cloth across the grain, it wipes away any loose build up from any exposed surfaces or edges. Follow up with a spray of your favorite gloss or satin finish.
9) How to Prevent Wood Warping
There are three essential ways of preventing warping of thin plywoods:
- Store wood in a dry place, atop a flat surface and by placing a heavy piece of wood on top of it.
- Cut out a pattern from a warped piece. This will straighten during assembly with other pieces.
- If your wood is already warped, repeat the first step except dampen its surface first with a piece of cloth or rag.
10) Working With Thin Scroll Saw Blades
There are many advantages and disadvantages of working with thin scroll saw blades. On the one hand, they allow for extremely delicate cutting but on the other, because of this they are difficult to get accustomed to. Keep the following things in mind when working with thin blades:
- Ensure the direction of the teeth is pointing downwards before operating the scroll saw, by running your fingers up the front of the blade.
- Tension and saw speed are essential to keep in mind for longevity and ease of use, more so for thin blades. Excessive tension can cause the blade to snap and too little will allow it to flex too much. The optimum speed is between 1,200 and 1,400 strokes per minute.
11) No Fuss Pattern Removal
You can free and loosen your pattern through using a paint remove or mineral spirits saturated rag for moistening and gently removing it, or through applying heat via a blow dryer. Any additional sticky residue will also be removed.
12) Reducing Friction
One key way for helping to reduce friction is through rounding over the back of the scroll saw blade and positioning—at a 45 degree angle—a honing stone on the back of the blade. As the blade begins to move, allow it to gently touch the stone; turn the saw off and repeat with the opposite edge.
13) What to Look For When Buying Stock for Scroll Sawing
The first thing is the thickness; a lot of the times the dimensions listed are not their actual measurements and are usually a little smaller.
The second thing comes regarding cutting costs. The easiest and most cost effective way of buying plywood is in buying it in sheets. High quality plywood can generally be through mail order in 12 x 12 x 12 x 24" sheets. The regular 5x5 sheets should be easily accessible at a regular hardwood supplier store, but ensure that the sheets are cut in half for easier transportation. Keep in mind that when you buy in sheets, you will need to work on it a little to cut it into custom sizes.
14) Reverse Tooth Blades?
Reverse tooth scroll saw blades are blades where the last three teeth on the bottom of the blade are positioned at an opposing direction from the others. This helps in removing any burrs from the bottom of your work piece.