Thursday, May 9, 2019

My First Mother's Day Scroll Saw Pattern.

Mother and Baby graphic supplied by

This small plaque celebrates mothers who are celebrating their first Mother's Day as a mom. Hopefully, a few of you have been lucky enough to see a new addition to your family this year. 

Starting a scroll saw workshop:

I received a question today that is nearly impossible to come up with one answer but let's talk.

Lori is recently retired and looking for a hobby. She has been involved in crafts all her life but has never worked much with wood. Other than hand tools she has no power tools other than a hand drill and her new scroll saw. She found my blog through YouTube and is ready to dive in and start making sawdust.

Her question to me was this. "What power tool should I buy next?" Lori's budget is limited on a fixed retirement income so she needs to buy tools over several months. She just wants to buy the most useful tools first. She will have a basement workshop so she has a decent amount of space.

To answer this question for an individual you need to know what types of project they plan to make. In Lori's case and I'm sure many other new scrollers she does not know specifics. She wants to try several projects and see what she likes. Because of this, I want to talk about tools for a scroll saw workshop in general terms.

I am going to consider the main tools of a woodworking shop and not get into specialty tools.

Table saw, band saw, planer, disc/belt sander, drill press, jointer, drum sander, and workbench are the tools that make up most workshops. 

Workbench. I use my workbench on every project. I use it for laying out and prepping the patterns. I use it for glue ups of the parts of the projects. I use it to hold pieces while I sand. On some occasions, I will even apply a finish at the workbench. It is the main focus of my shop. As important as the workbench is you can replace it with a card table and get the job done. On the positive side, you can build a sturdy workbench for $200 from construction lumber so the cost is not that bad. I say the workbench can wait.

Drum sander. When I say drum sander I am talking about more than one tool. I will talk about a benchtop drum sander, oscillating drum sander and a spindle mounted drum. I own all three and also use at least one of them on every project. I have a Sand Flee benchtop drum sander that gets tons of use. I have an oscillating drum sander that gets lite to moderate use and a spindle mounted drum sander that gets heavy use. The Sand Flee is very expensive. I would consider it a luxury tool. I love it but I could get by without it. The oscillating drum sander comes in really handy for some projects but not enough to have it in my top five. My spindle mounted drum sander is a goto tool. If you plan on doing intarsia if become a must-have tool. We are talking general use so I think we can wait on the sander. Good old fashion hand sanding can get most jobs done even though it will be painful.

Jointer. We can rule this one out pretty quick. We are not making furniture. Most of the wood we use will already be flat and ready to use. I mostly use the jointer to edge joint boards. We can get by without this for our new scroll saw workshop.

Drill press. For me, this tool ranks high on the list. You can get by with a hand drill for drilling interior holes in patterns but for large patterns with dozens or even hundreds of interior holes, a hand drill is very tiring. The drill press does not make the #1 ranking but it's close.

Disc/Belt Sander. My disc sander gets used a lot. There are some sanding operations that are nearly impossible to do by hand. When I am flushing up the sides of a scroll saw box and need to remove a lot of material the disc sander gets the job done with ease. A belt sander can do just about the same level of work. You can get by with a combination belt/disc sander. Sanding is not my favorite job to do in the shop so these tools rank high on the list. 

Planer. The thickness planer is a money-saving and money wasting tool. As scrollers, we use a lot of thin wood. Thin wood is almost always difficult to find locally for new scrollers. Ordering thin wood online gets what we need but is expensive. The planer allows you to make your own thin wood blanks. That is where the money saving comes in. I say it is also a money wasting tools because when you plane a board to thickness you throw away a large part of the board in the dust collector. The planer has a sister tool. The band saw and the planer work together. As important as the planer is to a scroll saw workshop we can buy thin boards until we can afford a planer and band saw together.

Band saw. The band saw is a very versatile tool. It can perform many operations. The problem with a band saw is that you need a good band saw to get max use out of it. Benchtop band saws are generally not powerful enough to resaw wide boards. In our scroll saw workshop we will mostly use the band saw along with the planer to make thin boards for scroll saw projects. A capable band saw is going to run close to or over $1,000. We can wait.

Table saw. I cannot imagine my shop without a table saw. If it died I would head to the store and buy another one that day if possible. It is by far the most efficient way to straight line rip or crosscut a board. The band saw can do some of the operations of a table saw. You can buy a miter saw to do crosscuts but neither are as efficient and accurate as a decent table saw. I'm not saying that you cannot get started in scrolling without a table saw but we are trying to decide which tool to buy after the scroll saw. For me, the table saw takes first place. It is efficient and accurate. You can get by with a relatively inexpensive contractor saw to get started. We are not building furniture so the small inaccuracies of a contractor table saw are not as critical for our scroll saw projects. 

I could probably change this order several times and still not be sure but here is the ordered list. This order could change considerably depending on the types of projects you plan to build. This is my order for general scroll sawing.

1. Table saw.
2. Disc/Belt Sander
3. Drill press
4. Workbench
5. Planer
6. Band saw
7. Drum sander
8. Jointer.

What would your list look like? Email me and tell me why my list is crazy or right on. 

$12 per sheet of 12 coins plus $3.50 shipping
Inlay with a 1" Forstner Bit.
The perfect way to sign your work.

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Products for your consideration:

Every Scrollsaw Workshop Pattern from 2007-2018 in DVD

Purchase the entire Scrollsaw Workshop pattern catalog for offline access.

This DVD has over 2,600 patterns published from 2007 thru 2018.
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.

Now Available on USB Thumb Drive

Don't have a DVD drive on your new computer. No problem. Buy the catalog on a USB thumb drive.
All the same file but on an easy to use a thumb drive. The USB thumb drive option is $23 plus shipping.

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 shippingThis is a data DVD that you will use on your computer to watch the video tutorial  

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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