Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Cheat Chain Scroll Saw Pattern.


Download Below
Click to Enlarge
This is a sample. You can make it as long as you needed.

Yes, we are going to cheat.

Hand carving a wooden chain from a solid block of wood is fun, challenging, and time-consuming. I have carved chains and I have used a technique to make them partially on the scroll saw. 

I was in an email conversation with a reader the other day who needed a six-foot wooden chain. She had seen the video I did years ago on how to make a chain from a solid block of wood with the scroll saw. Obviously, that was not going to work very well for a six-foot chain. Hand carving would also have been too time-intensive. 

My suggestion to her was to cheat. If you are looking for the end result and not the challenge then why make it difficult. The links in the photo above are half links glued up. With some careful glue-ups and sanding they can look pretty convincing. Yes, close up you will see the joints but from a couple of feet its hard to tell they are not solid.



The two links above show two of the joints. Number 1 shows a joint that needed a better fit or more sanding. Number 2 is a successful joint. Even close up number 2 looks good. Not perfect but good enough. Even the number 1 joint will be fine for many projects. I believe the project my readers was working on was a nautical themed anchor display. This would be fine for a project like that.


You want the edge of the board to be nice and true for the best joints. Each link is cut. Obviously, you need to cut two for each link. The links on the 1/4" thick chain are two inches long. You lose a half-inch for each length because the links interlock. You would need about 50 links to get a six-foot chain. You could cut that is one sitting. The assembly and sanding will take some time.


I used this stair-step jig to help with the glue-up. It held the pieces in place while I glued the next link into the chain. 


I did not use clamps. I just held finger pressure for a couple of minutes until the glue tacked up. One solution would be to have a number of small rubber bands. Wrap one around each link after it tacks up. Just be careful that the link halves stay aligned. Now just continue the steps until you get the desired length. CA glue eliminates the clamp problem but if you get squeeze out it is harder to sand away than wood glue.





Several years ago I did a couple videos showing how to make wooden from solid blocks of wood with the scrollsaw. The links below are to those videos. The video quality is pretty bad but that is what YouTube was like back then. The technique is basically the same as is used by woodcarvers to make the chains.



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Products for your consideration:


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