Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Customized Letter Opener Scroll Saw PAttern.

Earlier today my wife, Patty asked me to make her a letter opener. I had just brought in the mail so apparently that put the idea in her head. Patty generally likes simple designs. She is not a big fan of fancy fretwork. I also knew she would prefer it not to be very large. 

These wooden letter openers need to feel good in the hand. They also need to come to a rounded but relatively sharp tip. Sanding is critical. I used a drum sander to get the blade sharp. I finished off the rest of the handle with hand sanding.

I used a nice piece of Zebra wood for the project. It's expensive wood but you don't need much for these small projects. 

With all these things in mind, I designed a simple 7-inch long letter opener. To make it a bit more personal I added her initials. When you download the pattern below it will obviously not have the initials on it. Here is a way you can add initials to your pattern.

First, you need a stencil font. I used one named "Lintsec". You can download it at this link.

Now you need a program that will allow you to add the initials. Here is a link to download the free program named Inkscape. It is available for multiple OS's. Windows and Mac.

Now you need to know how to do it. Here is a link to a video that shows how in import my patterns into Inkscape so they can be edited. I will then show you how to add the initials.

If you have never used a vector-based graphics program before there will be a bit to learn. In the tutorial above I will take you step by step so just watch it a few times if you need. The technique will come in handy for more than just this pattern.

Seyco ST-21 Scroll Saw Table Tilt:

One thing that makes me such a fanboy of the Seyco ST-21 scroll saw is how the design decisions were made. The machine is obviously based on the same technology as the Excalibur EX21. The Excalibur was a very nice machine so they had a solid base to work from. 

When they decided to bring this machine to market they wanted to keep the same solid base design but make improvements where possible. These improvement decisions were made by people who have years of experience talking to scroller directly. 

One decision that they made was to increase the cutting height capacity to 2 1/2". This was based on customer request over many years. To make that happen they had to decrease the amount of tilt of the table. It is limited to 30 degrees.

I have no problem with this design tradeoff because over 30 years of scrolling I have rarely tilted the saw more than a few degrees. It's just not something I do. From my conversations with many other scrollers it is apparently something they rarely do either.

One place where this design tradeoff does matter is when you want to cut beveled bowls. These bowls often require a large tilt of the blade. These bowl patterns were popular years ago in a book by Patrick Spielman and more recently in the very popular book by Carole Rothman. They are fun and challenging to make. Here is a link to one that is in my free catalog.

Here is one of the things that make Seyco stand out from the large manufacturers. They had a customer who wanted to make these bowls. They spent the time to come up with a workaround. It is a little bit of a kludge but it works. Do you think Jet or DeWalt would take the time to address an issue like this? Not likely. Like I said I am a Seyco fanboy and this is one of the reasons.

Here is an email I received from Ray at Seyco that explains how this workaround is done. I wanted to share this for those of you who want to try making one of these bowls.

Hi Steve.
Joe and I were experimenting with a possibility re the tilt on our Seyco ST-21. (a customer who
wanted to cut one of the Carol Rothman bowl patterns that call for 35º tilt asked about the table
tilt limited to 30º) We made an auxiliary table out of 1/2" MDF, mounted it on washers to raise it
above the head pivot connection, cut the blade slot sideways and got 36.1 degrees. This cost us
$3 for a piece of 1/2 MDF and $1.20 for 6 thick plastic washers and we can cut the 35º easily
with no changes to the saw other than removing the steel table, putting the MDF table on
temporarily and putting the steel table back on when we are through with the 35º tilt project and
ready to move on to the other type project. This obviously reduces the 2-1/2" cutting capacity
back to a standard 2" capability which will work for the bowls.

Thanks for all you do, Ray and Joe.

- -

Email Newsletter Readers: Remember that the Newsletter is just a copy of the daily blog post. To see the post in it's proper formatting click this link. If you ever misplace a pattern or any item you see here you can always find it on the blog. Everything stays on the blog forever. 

Products for your consideration:

Scroll Saw Pattern Design Tutorial: DVD
Let me teach you to create a beautiful wooden portrait pattern. I will show you everything you need from start to finish. The video will show you the free software program you can download for Windows or Mac OS. I will show you how to install the program and configure it for best results. 
Then I will show you the technique to take your photograph and make a pattern from it. When the pattern is complete we will go in the shop and cut it.
The DVD is $10 plus shipping. This is a data DVD that you will use on your computer to watch the video tutorial  

Every Scrollsaw Workshop Pattern from 2007-2017 in DVD
Purchase the entire Scrollsaw Workshop pattern catalog for offline access.

This DVD has 2,300 patterns published from 2007 thru 2017.
The DVD is $20 plus shipping. Ships to 60 countries around the world.

If you use the DVD on a Windows PC there is a simple viewer program to browse through the patterns.

The DVD also works fine on a MAC. The viewer program is not MAC compatible but there is an included PDF with all the patterns shown as thumbnails for easy viewing. 

Unique Wooden Vases:
Want to create beautiful wooden vases on the scroll saw?
My two "Wooden Vases on the Scroll Saw" books make it easy.

The books are $12 each and available for instant download after purchase. Click for Video Demonstration.

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