Thursday, October 26, 2017

Scroll Saw Association of the World


I recently joined SAW.  You can see in the banner above what SAW stands for. Clicking here will take you to their website. It has been in existence since 1996. I have known about them for at least 5 years but I hesitated to join. They are having a resurgence in membership which is a good thing as we don't want the scroll saw to fall away and be forgotten. There are things you can do with scroll saws that you can not do with any other tool. Works of art are created all the time using scroll saws.

If nothing else do explore their web site and see what is there. Then think about joining and becoming an active member. They are looking for suggestions on what we as scroll saw artists can do to get more people scrolling.

Yes some works that get created on a scroll saw are works of arts.

Here are some things created on a scroll saw these are called Intarsia. This is where you cut thick pieces of different woods shape then by sanding and the glue them to a backer. When you are very good they will look like the ones below. These are all fine examples of wood art.

From Kathy Wise





Then there is Bruce Worthington patterns some examples of his completed patterns






These are done using natural woods no staining. The only thing that is done is they have some type of finish applied when done.

Some from Charles Dearing which are fret work





I do find this hobby relaxing most of the time. Creating things for the NC State Fair can be trying at times as I have now placed first twice now. I have entered 3 years in a row and the first year I was awarded third. That entry I observed the ones that placed above me and I saw what was being judged as really good. Last year I went to the fair with something I thought was good. But not what I wanted to enter and took first place. This year I got around to cutting what I knew was going to be a difficult cutting. I took blue again. So now the pressure is really on to continue.  But other then that this is a fun hobby.

Thanks for looking!
Jim


Saturday, October 21, 2017

Better Picture of the Blue Ribbon winner

This is a much better picture sent to me from a friend of my Blue Ribbon entry


Saturday, October 14, 2017

Made it to the NC State Fair Today

Well I made it to the fair today. I was going to go on opening day to see what ribbon I won. But I had to work late and just could not make it. Friday I was out of work at a better time but who really wants to go to the NC State Fair on a Friday Night? Many people too many for my likes so I went today Saturday the 14th.

I was awarded the Blue Ribbon! I am happy but sad at the same time. Happy for myself sad for the other people. Lots of great work goes into each and every item that people submit to be judged. Everyone wants the Blue Ribbon and many people get awarded them in the many different categories there are.

I've been cutting stuff on my scroll saw for a few years now. I only started entering the State Fair 3 years ago. The very first year I was awarded 3rd place.  I learned much with that first entry. I learned what style is rewarded the most. My word art entry plaque was good but lets face it. How much work is actually in a word art? Even one that is two plaques containing the 10 Commandments. The real work is in scroll saw fretwork cuttings.

So I said self you need to stop being afraid of those spiral blades and get to work if you want one of those blue ribbons! So that is what I did. The entry for this year was going to be last years entry but one thing occurred last year  that prevented me from completing it on-time last year. I was on my way home from work by bicycle as I have done for the past 20+ years and a distracted driver hit me from behind and took me out for quite a bit of time. So I had put in one of my earlier fretwork cuts and that was awarded the blue last year.

So I have doubled this year with a second blue ribbon with the bully. Now this is a a cutting with over 1,000 cuts in it. When I started this I really had no idea what I was getting into. I knew it was going to take time. But there was times when I would spend more time in a day putting the blade through the many holes I had to drill then I did doing actual cutting. Then towards then end there were so many holes that I just missed drilling that I would have to drill more holes so I could cut more.

But it is just such an impressive pattern that all the work was well worth it!

Now what do I plan on cutting next year. This maybe just as hard as cutting something. I have a few ideas about which patterns I already own I will cut. Because as a scroller I have more patterns then I have time to cut. Buying a pattern is easy cutting them takes time and materials.

Most scrollers I know have a pattern addiction problem. Stuff you buy to cut but for what ever reason you don't. It is a good thing patterns are pretty affordable.

Any way finally here is the picture from the fair on my entry. Yes it is the elephant in the top left of the picture. This year I am in the back at the top. About as far from it as you can be. There was no one near to ask if I could, like last year go into the display area to get a picture of myself and the entry. I will go back maybe I will be able to get closer next time. With it being on the top shelf it will be nearly impossible to get a picture like last year. So I may not even ask since it is pretty high up.

Finally the pictures




And thanks for looking and reading my  post!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Bully is ready for the fair!

Last year, my second year in a row, when I entered the State Fair there was just me putting in my entry. The first year I entered I had a White ribbon for 3rd place. I was just like this is fun. I was not entering what I had planned to enter just a project that I had previously completed. I did not want to skip a year. I want to enter the State Fair every year. That entry won the Blue Ribbon! I was totally blown away. The blog post about that is here. So this year I have all this pressure on myself by myself. This is by far the toughest and most cuts I have done on a single piece.

So I started this project well over a year ago. It was supposed to be for last years State Fair but the bicycle crash I was involved in 2016 cut the project off for last year. But here are the various parts of this project and it will culminate with the final project picture ready for drop off in two weeks.

The frame. What I struggled with the most. The fear of the 45 Degree cuts the glue up of that and then then finishing. I believe it is a good frame. I used purpleheart wood for it.

The front of just the frame



The Back of just the frame



The Backer front which is painted black to show through the cutouts of the bully




The back's back side showing my logo.


A close up of the logo. This is toner printed on paper reversed. Then I take that and use a wood burning tool to melt the toner to the wood. Cheaper the buying a branding iron.


Finally Bully This has 1048 cuts. I have blurred this on purpose as I have been told people take images and make a pattern from them. Effectively stealing from the designers. Patterns are not expensive so it puzzles me why people do this.


Now for Bully framed. I don't want to blur this one. But with glass in the frame it was really hard to get a picture of the thing without a reflection coming with it. So I opted for indoors at an angle.




Sunday, September 10, 2017

Bully Getting there....

So I cut the frame yesterday and glued it up. I have not finished the frame yet but I spent hours sanding and put it together and took this shot. The frame is made from purpleheart. The purple should really come out once I put the finish on it. I am once again going to use General Finishes Oil Based Gel Urethane Topcoat. I liked the way it came out on my first project that I used that on.

Here it is just together and not totally finished. The weird distortion in the picture is there on purpose. Apparently, unscrupulous people will take photos of projects and make them into patterns that they then use/sell. So from now on when I am showing a photo it will be like this in some fashion. Not that all that many people follow my blog. But the pattern designers lose money when that happens. Patterns are pretty cheap. Patterns are generally under 8 dollars so I can't understand stealing them but people do.


Monday, September 4, 2017

Halloween Luminaries

Yup starting another project. Time is running out to complete this one. So despite the fact that I still need to build my frame for my NC State Fair entry I am starting another. I don't have the wood for the frame yet as it will be here this week. So this weekend if the weather holds I will work on the frame.

This is for Halloween and will be luminaries which will be painted. So I am using some 1/4" MDF I have from work. These were used with spools of optical network cable thus why they are round. So I am stack cutting these to get two pieces for each. Which works 6 different designs on this run times 2 for a front and back. Then 6 sides times 2 for 12 sides. Finally 3 Bottoms times 2 for 6 bottoms.

What I did here as to tape two circular MDF pieces with blue painters tape. The place the patterns on the wood lining them up to get them all on this piece.




I Have drilled and cut one internal piece out. That is all for today.




Thursday, August 31, 2017

An Oldie!

This is a story cross I did way back when I was starting out using the scroll saw. I am at my mother-in-laws and she is the one that has this. I painted the front and left the back natural. I need to cut another story cross but after doing this I really did not want to use spirals anymore. I have lost my dislike for spirals and I use them more often. They have a purpose and I have worked that skill somewhat into my abilities. I have had requests for more of these from other family members but I really did not like spirals at the time. The predates my blog so why it was never on it. I don't even remember when I cut it but before Oct 2009. The straight lines are not straight. Just overall it has a beginner look to it. I was bad at getting the fuzzies off of it. I still dislike sanding but now I put the time into it since when you do it looks so much better. Sanding what everyone hates but means so much to the finished item that you really need to do it. I used a Craftsman 16" scroll to cut this. A good beginner scroll saw but not as nice as my Excalibur I use now. Just a piece of history for me. I do like to see my older works now and then.



Sunday, August 20, 2017

Day 2 Learning Frame Building No Pressure

Well, I spent the latter part of the day putting what I learned yesterday into practice. This is not the frame I will ultimately use. But I like the way it came out. I still would make changes to some of the design but this actually works pretty well.

My father gave me two of these clamps a few years ago. They are simple and work great.



I actually thought why am I using the dremel to cut out part of the frame. I am using it as a router but this is a rather large project and using the Dremel is a rather hard way to do what I want. I just figured why not use the dado blade to do what I want. Plus I can cut the dado out before I cut the 45-degree angle thus making everything a nice square corner.

So this is what came out today. It is not what I am going to use for the state fair. But now I have the confidence that the wood I choose I will be successful with.

Front of frame


Back of frame


Close up of inside where the glass and project goes


So today was very productive now I just need to select the wood and get it sent to me.

Thanks for looking!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Frame Building

Hmmm, today was productive in frame building for my state fair project.  At least in ways not to make the frame! I was not too thrilled with the idea of doing 45-degree angles as this is for the state fair. I figure anything you build for your entry will be judged accordingly. It is only fair. I also don't think you should use a store-bought frame for a judging contest. So I am building my own frame. Let's just put some really awesome pressure on me.

Well, I thought why not make a frame that is slightly different. I have seen these half lap frames and they seem interesting. They are harder than you think to build. Who would have thought using a dado and getting the width would be so hard? I made a few attempts today and none of them panned out. I tried even miter half lap joint with no success.

So I went back to the basic 45-degree joint. Turns out this is going to be easier than all the others. Now I just have to figure out the best way to route the frame now for the glass and project. I did build this very small frame which would work for a 4x6 photo. But I was using my Dremel since this is what I have and I did build a "router table" for it seven years ago. But I was using the Dremel Chuck which makes changing bits out simple. But it appears that it does not hold the shaft of this very securely. As the bit was slowly coming out. Which really messed up the depth of what I was trying to do.

So I put it all down and left for a while. Then it dawned on me to go back to the original collet system and yes that is better at securing the router bits in the tool. So Back on track to play with this some more tomorrow.

Sorry, no pictures today as I was making firewood all day. But some days you just have to go in and know that it is just a try this out day and not intend to build the final product. I call this an idea day. A day where you intend to make mistakes and not to really build something day. If something comes out at the end of the day so be it. But if nothing worthy but just firewood that is fine also. I still have seven weeks till the project gets dropped at the fair.

WOW, seven weeks. Not much time is really left. I need to get this stuff worked out in the next 2 weeks so that I can build the frame!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Commission Finished

The purpleheart as been finished with the oil based gel satin finish. Let's just say I am always leery when doing any finish other than Danish Oil. I struggled with this one. After I had done a couple of coats I did not like the way it had come out. So I spent a few minutes sanding it off and then redoing it.  The fingers are fragile and sanding the finish off was nerve racking but it survived.

Now that this is finished I can get back to my entry for the NC State Fair this year.


Sunday, August 6, 2017

Commission work

A guy at work is having his engagement party in a couple weeks and he approached me to come up with some ideas for a present he wanted to give his fiancĂ©e. So he had a couple of ideas I create some patterns then once he saw them he had some other ideas I combined them with some parts of what I had already had done and this is the one he liked


Now I decided to use my last piece of purpleheart. It is really the only thing I have other than pine or poplar both of these are 3/4" while my purpleheart is 1/4". It does matter the thicness. I can plane down the thicker wood but it is still just common wood. So with that said and looking at what I created for the hands?

I was in a rush when creating this and did not look at it overall for weaknesses just for possible floaters. Well, some of those look rather fragile and I figured I better test cut this on something to see what issues I will be facing. Sometimes when you design stuff you can actually design a very fragile pattern that can be really hard to cut. This is one of them! So the first test cut many things broke while trying to cut the hands. Which let me know what I needed to cut first and which side needed to be cut. The next one went better but still, I made poor choices on the cuts. So the third cut was better but still problematic. So with no choice left I put the pattern on the purpleheart and cut all the surrounding cuts first since I did not want to break anything on the hand while spinning the piece to make all those cuts.

I did not break anything on the hands!

But I'll tell you those hands are one continuous cut from start to finish. and that is not what I did. I broke that cut into sections rather than do it all in one run. That way I only had to hang onto one fragile piece at a time. I almost think this was harder to do than the Bully was. Well, here it is without a finish on it yet. I'll work on that over the week. I think I am going to use gel satin finish on this to make the purpleheart pop.

I only used a Flying Dutchmen #3 Scroll Reverse blade this made the cleanups on the fuzzies on the back just a small job. Unlink the bully which took me hours to get the fuzzies off since I was using a spiral that was not a scroll reverse.

What is a scroll reverse blade? Glad you asked. Normal blades cut on the down stroke as the blade exits the wood it leaves little tiny wood fibers that look like fuzzies. A scroll reverse blade has some teeth towards the bottom of the blade that point in the opposite direction and cut on the up stroke. So as the blades come back up those teeth cut the fuzzies off. The eliminates 90-95% if not more of the fuzzies. A huge time saver when you are cleaning up the cuts when you are done.



Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Bully Cuts Are Done!

The scroll saw work is now done. 1048 individual cuts. That means 1048 holes drilled and the blade inserted 1048 times. This took a whole lot longer than it should have. But then again I was unable to cut for about 5 months last year. Then it was winter which prevents me from cutting since I use just a simple unheated shed for a shop.

So now I need to make a frame for it before it is really completed. Also, apply a finish and I need to make sure the fuzzies on the back side are not there. Since I am entering this into the NC State Fair for 2017 I will have to be extra vigilant about those fuzzies. Attention to detail is everything when you enter into a contest to judge the quality of your work.

I will also need to decide on a color for the back. I am thinking about using felt either gray or reddish clay in color? I am leaning towards reddish if I can find it.


Thanks for looking!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

More Bully

So I've done more cutting on the bully. Maybe another weekend or two and it will be done! It has been a long road. I have this fear that after all this work is done that this plywood is going to have chip outs under the paper. 

When this is done I would have made a total of 1,048 cuts. Wow, that means I have drilled 1,048 holes then inserted the scroll saw blade over 1,048 times. I say over because there are times when the blade slips out of the blade holder and then I have to put in another blade.

All that adds up to a ton of time spent cutting this thing.



Sunday, July 9, 2017

Update on the Bully

Yes, I have been cutting this off and on for over a year. So it was supposed to be last years State Fair entry but my bicycle crash put that idea on hold and I entered another project into it. It has taken me a while to get fully comfortable at the saw and now I will be working this project till it is done. Hopefully, I'll not make any major mistakes. This has quite a few internal cuts. On the really small ones it takes longer to feed the blade through the hole then it does to cut it! It looks to be just shy of 50% done. So I still have a bit of time left. Then the removal of the fuzzies from the back will take a bunch of time to do also as the spiral blades leave more fuzzies behind then the Ultra Scroll Reverse I use for non-portrait cuts. But the spirals let you in any direction and you don't have to spin it.

I find this patterns very hard to follow and the reason is that the pattern is black and so is the blade. So the blade get's lost at times in the pattern and drives me crazy. On this one I tried to change some of the pattern to gray but that does not fully work since it is a picture and not a vector graphic. It is probably my biggest gripe with pattern designers.

So maybe someday I'll go down the path of designing my own portraits so I can make them the way I would find easier to cut for myself.



Thanks for looking!

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Multilayered Dragon (Wyvern) Final

Okay so I have now glued it all up. I am happy with how it turned out. There are things that I would be more careful with doing if I were to ever do another but I probably will not do another as how many of these do I need? I added a hanger and it was slightly tricky since it has such a long tail which throws off the center of balance for this. Which makes it hang to the side  So I had to find the center of this thing before putting the hanger on the back. With such thin woods I am unable to screw or nail this so I epoxied the hanger onto it. I like the angle it hangs at.

Anyway here is the final picture of the Dragon (Really a Wyvern) I had a hard time trying to get a picture of it. The size of it kept me from really getting a good picture of it with my camera. But I do like the color of the wood. No stains this is all natural wood. It is Purpleheart (Purple), Satin (Yellowish), and Walnut (Dark Brown). The white backer is just Baltic Birch Plywood It is 4 layers on the end of the tail. This is my first attempt at choosing wood based on its natural color. I used my go to finishing of choice Danish Oil I love this stuff. It brings out the color without all the worry of runs as it is an oil with the varnish in it and it soaks into the wood and hardens the wood and brigs out the colors. It is a satin finish as it does not make it shinny. I debated on how to finish it.  But since this needed to be glued up and has so many places that would make it hard to use any other type of finish. I do not like spray finishes as I always seem to mess them up.


Hanging on the wall


The epoxied Hanger




Outside trying to get good lighting



Now I need to go and complete the Bully Elephant I started over a year ago. I started that one before the bicycle crash and that is what stopped me. But that is a fret work one with over 1,000 cuts to it and it is time consuming. I can spend a couple of hours cutting and it just seems that nothing gets done since I spend so much time putting the blade into the holes since there are so many tiny cuts in that one.

Here is that link but I have not put out any updates out since this post last year. I might have maybe 1/3 of this one done. I'll put another update out on this one soon.

Bully


Saturday, June 24, 2017

Multilayer Dragon (Wyvern) Sanded and Danish Oil applied

OK so this is really not a dragon. It is called a Wyvern. I did a little research about it and found out since it only has two legs it is not a real dragon. So to stay true to the pattern designer I am keeping the Dragon n the title.

So I have finally finished sanding it. Many little pieces and took my time. Plus like most people I find sanding tedious and boring. But it is necessary to a good looking project.  It is the hours spent trying not to take too much off because you can't put the wood back on. Also with this project you are sanding lightly so as not to break any of the pieces. Like most things I still think it could use more sanding but heck I want to finish this.

Well the Danish Oil is making the colors pop which is what makes applying a finish a good thing. Still on the fence as to whether or not I will put on another finish. If I do it will be a gel satin finish.

Anyway here are the pictures of the pieces. I now have to wait a week for the oil to soak in and dry. I've learned the hard way to just be patient. If I glue it up too fast it will warp as the two sides will dry at different rates and the wood will bend.

These are all the parts which are Purpleheart and Satinwood.


The bottom layer which is Walnut


Finally the backer which is Baltic Birch Plywood


So in another week or so I will decide whether or not I will put a Gel Satin finish on it also.

Thanks for looking!

Jim


Monday, May 29, 2017

Multi Layered Dragon

This is my latest. A 5 layer Dragon. Layers contain the following woods

Baltic Birch Plywood (Backer)
Walnut (First layer)
Satinwood (Second and Third layer)
Purple heart (Second, Fourth, and Fifth layer)

This is a Sue Mey Pattern which is available here.

This has 16 pieces. This is my first time using most of this wood and the purpleheart was by and far the hardest. So I do feel for people that use purplehart when doing intarsia as I am only cutting 1/4" thick and it wore the blade pretty quickly and I used more than I normally would have.

This is Satinwood (yellowish) and Purpleheart.





This is Walnut. As you can see in the grain that this wide board was glued up from narrow boards. But for my use it will not be noticed since most of it is covered by other pieces when done.


The last is Baltic Birch plywood.



I used both Flying Dutchmen ultra scroll reverse #5 and a spiral #3 for some of the more narrow cuts. I don't usually use spirals but I have been using them more often now since I have been working on more fret work portrait styles and those really require spirals with those very small cuts. I use them when the cuts require them.

There are 17 pieces cut and then it will be glued together. Still thinking about how to finish this off. Do I want to spray finish it? Gel finish it? Not sure. But I will decided in the next day or so.

What it looks like unfinished and just placed together it is not glued nor does it have a finish. It should pop if I get the finish right. The overall dimensions are 18" by 9"


Thanks for looking!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Fidget Spinners Done!

OK So I completed the painting and gluing of the bearings on the three fidget spinners. The two not of my design spin nicely. My batman one is unbalanced and a little bit larger than what my fingers are capable of spinning freely so it pretty much is constantly touching my skin as it spins so it slows down rather quickly compared to the other two. The fact that the bearings are unbalanced means I can't just let it spin on one finger as it will just fall off if I lift up one finger. Hey, it is my first one that I took the shape and placed the bearings. So I learned what I did wrong and if I do another batman I will tweak the design to make it be able to spin and not touch the skin and be balanced so that I can spin it on a single finger.

There is a video of all three being spun and you can see what they are and believe it or not I do find the act spinning them entertaining. I don't know what it is but it does keep your mind busy and I don't sit there fidgeting or shaking my leg.






The video showing these in action

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Fidget Spinners!

Well I may be late to the craze but I am building three Fidget Spinners.

A fidget spinner as explained in Wikipedia

 I found some optical cable rolls at work that were made from MDF for the ends of the rolls. So I ended up with 12 round MDF pieces 18 inches in diameter 1/4 inch thick. They are perfect for things that I can cut on my scroll saw but I intend to paint. Such as these Fidget Spinners.



I have three distinct designs I am working on. The first two are from Steve Good of scrollsawworkshop.blogspot.com he designs patterns and gives them away for free. Has plenty of tips and ideas overall his site is a very good source of information about scrolling.

His first pattern that I cut is this one. At this point I have cut out the shape but I have not yet drilled the holes for the bearings. I decided I need to drill these out as I wanted perfectly round holes and it was a good excuse to use a Forstner bit.



Then I made up this one from the Batman Signal. This was interesting as I wanted the shape but struggled with how big it should be and still fit between my fingers. My hand is not large so it was a challenge but in the end it just fits my hand which means most people will be able to play with it.


I still have the pattern glued on the mdf at this point as I had just drilled the pilot holes so that I could drill from both sides to help eliminate tear out from the Forstner bit. I don't have a drill press so I just used my hald held drill and held it as straight as I could which seemed to have worked out fine. Here are the pictures of these drilled and the pattern removed. I have sanded them to get them as smooth as possible and get rid of any fuzzies that were left over. from the drilling and scrolling.




I have begun to paint them and once I am done and I put the bearings in I will post more about these.

Thanks!