Saturday, May 12, 2018

Happy Mother's Day Scroll Saw Pattern.

It's Mother's Day weekend here in the US. I want to wish every mother a wonderful day. 

The most important skill to learn for accurate scrolling:

Hopefully, the graphic below does not make you dizzy. It is there to help me illustrate what I believe is the most important scroll saw skill for accurate scrolling. 

In the graphic, the RED is the blade. The black lines are the pattern and the pattern is on a board. This is a top-down view and the user would be sitting at the bottom of the image. 

The board is being pushed into the blade and a sharp turn is made.

Here is the problem we are trying to solve. When we reach the turn, if we keep pushing the board against the front of the blade it will keep cutting and we will overshoot the turn. This will result in a very rounded corner or we may even cut into an area we don't want to cut.

To solve this problem we need to learn to make the blade stop cutting when we reach the turn. This is done by shifting the pressure from the front(cutting edge) of the blade to the back edge of the blade(Black arrow in the graphic). This is a very subtle technique and it takes a while for new scrollers to master. Most scrollers think you just stop pushing the board but that's not accurate and won't work.

When you reach the turn you will pull the board to make the back edge the pivot/slide point.
I say pivot/slide because it is not a true pivot. You just want to move the pressure away from the teeth of the blade so it stops cutting. When the blade stops cutting you will make the turn while holding the pressure on that back pivot. 

Most scrollers learn this technique without ever realizing what they are doing. It just happens naturally after you have cut for a while. If you concentrate on what is happening at the turn it will help you solve the problems when they happen. 

I hope this was a clear explanation. It is a difficult technique to teach live and it's even more difficult to teach in writing. The next time you are in front of your saw pay attention to exactly what is happening when you make a turn. Once the technique becomes clear in your mind it will begin to happen even without the thought process.