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Brand new to woodworking

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  • Brand new to woodworking


    As the title states I'm brand new to this. So new that I haven't even taken the scroll saw out of the box yet. I've just finished teaching myself how to use my Dad's router, which I inherited 10 years ago. Yes, I still have all my fingers.

    Now, for my question. I assume from reading some of the threads that this thing is supposed to be table mounted. Is there a specific table to use? Can I use a workmate? Once mounted can it be dismounted for storage? I don't have a dedicated workshop, I've been using the router mounted to a Workmate set up on the deck.

    Any other advice would be greatly appreciated as I really would like to start working with this tool, but I prefer to do so safely and wisely.

    I used the router flying by the seat of my pants and after a few false starts and finally realizing I was feeding the wood backwards, I figured it out. Dad must have been watching out for me because I managed to do this without serious injury.

    I figure I've pushed my luck as far it will go, so this time I'm asking for help BEFORE I start.
    Last edited by Francie; 05-25-2005, 07:18 PM.
    [FONT=Arial]Any idiot can handle a crisis. It's the day to day living that wears us out.[/FONT]

  • #2


    Welcome both to SSW Forum and to the hobby of wood working.

    1st- Scroll sawing is safe. You really have to focus your mind to figure out how to seriously injure yourself with a scroll saw. Not that it can't be done, mind you, but it is hard. Now about minor injuries, band-aid type that hurt like the dickens, well gosh, kind of like cooking and kitchen knifes I guess.

    2nd - If you have read previous post here you know about Scroll Saw Workbook by John Nelson. It is for beginners and others.

    3rd - YES, You attach your saw to a bench or something that will not move. You did not mention which saw you have, but I am going to presume it will have vibrations. Vibrations that could cause the saw to walk if not clamped or bolted down. As for Workmate, I will let someone else talk about that.


    PS: Nice Avatar. Good selection.


    • #3

      Good question with so many answers
      One of the keys to minimizing vibration is to bolt the saw to something solid.
      I have even seen them bolted to a wooden box full of sand for mass.
      My saw is bolted to a workbench. I do take it off the bench and use it on a folding table at shows.
      It isnt ideal but it does work. I wouldn't want to do a lot of sawing without the saw bolted down.
      If you prefer to use the workmate I would suggest bolting the saw to a piece of plywood. Screw a 2x4 to the center of the ply and clamp the 2x4 in the jaws of the workmate.
      There is no shortage of advice in this forum, I am sure there will be many who will say never use a workmate. Many are dedicated scrollers who cut over 40 hours a week and need a dedicated area to scroll.
      Take all advice with a grain of salt. There is only one rule to scrolling. Have Fun.

      Welcome to the forum, we all look forward to seeing your work as you progress through your new hobby.
      "proud member of the best scroll sawing forum on the net."
      Ryobi SC180VS scroll saw EX21


      • #4
        Dear Phil and Carl,

        Thank you for the quick response and all the information you provided.

        I finally took the saw out of the box. On the outside of the box it's labeled scroll saw, but when I took it out and looked at the paperwork everything refers to it as a spiral saw. It comes with four pieces that look like drill bits, not saw blades. Are these two different tools? I see no way to mount this spiral saw on a table. Everything in the paperwork shows it being held by hand.

        If this is not a scroll saw, then I will definitely put one on my Christmas list, since I'm very interested in learning how to start scrolling.

        P.S. The actual name of this tool is a Rotozip Spiral Saw.
        [FONT=Arial]Any idiot can handle a crisis. It's the day to day living that wears us out.[/FONT]


        • #5
          Hi Francie

          Welcome to the forum.

          I'm afraid it looks as if you're going to have to wait until Christmas to start scrolling . Judging from this link, the Rotozip appears to be a cross between a router and a jigsaw, not a scroll saw. A scroll saw is a stationary tool, not a hand-held one and should look something like this.

          That said, there's no reason why you couldn't use your rotozip to make some attractive pieces from wood, so long as you don't mind the wide cut it will make.

          There is no opinion, however absurd, which men will not readily embrace as soon as they can be brought to the conviction that it is readily adopted.
          (Schopenhauer, Die Kunst Recht zu Behalten)


          • #6

            If you tool looks like this

            Then what you have is a sprial cutting Jig saw. The spiral cutting blade allows it to cut in all directions. This is a hand held tool. A fantistic tool for home improvement: cutting drywall for light switches, electrical outlets, and so forth.

            Just a suggestion, If you are going to purchase a scroll saw, do not look in Sears, Home Depot, or the like. These stores are focused on Home Improvement, not hobbist. Look in your Yellow pages for Woodcraft Supply or Rocklers stores, or other wood working stores that carry machine tools for wood workers. Some Hardwood lumber stores carry scroll saws.

            There are lots and lots of Internet web stores that carry very good scroll saws, but then the recommendation to go to a Wood Working show near you (they usually occur annually) and try out the saws before you decide on a brand.



            • #7

              I started out playing around wiht a rotozip...there are still things you can do with it. I see by your profile, you are a's time to get those creative juices flowing--and work with the medium not against it!

              I can see the rotozip as being great for scroll saw style portraits like what Gary Browning does... If I were you, I'd check out a scroll saw picnic...

              But if there is anything I can do to help, please let me know!

              Bob Duncan
              Scroll Saw Workshop


              • #8

                Francie.....just a little tip just in case you were unaware. The Roto-Zip, much like your router, only likes to cut in one direction....clockwise. It tends to wander all over the place when cutting counter clockwise due to the direction of the spiral on the cutting bit.
                If it don't fit, don't force it....get a bigger hammer!!


                • #9

                  Now that would be a challenge to see at a picnic! I think the more that hobbyists learn to use their tools the better the art becomes. I can think of lots of patterns that could be cut with the rotozip. Almost all of the Accents in Pine patterns would work.
                  I wonder how the first mechanical fretsaws were accepted back in the days where hand saws were the only way to go. Same with routers and chisels.
                  I guess it is at that point now with laser cutting.
                  Bottom line. Have fun!
                  CAЯL HIRD-RUTTEЯ
                  "proud member of the best scroll sawing forum on the net."
                  Ryobi SC180VS scroll saw EX21


                  • #10
                    brand new to woodworking

                    Thank you all so much for the information and your advice. I will definitely be shopping for a scroll saw.

                    In the meantime, I'm going to play around with the spiral saw and see what happens.

                    My husband wants a decorative plaque to display his old license plate and my son wants one to display the license plate and the hood badge from his first car.

                    Looks I have my first project cut out for me .

                    I'll let you know how it goes.
                    [FONT=Arial]Any idiot can handle a crisis. It's the day to day living that wears us out.[/FONT]


                    • #11

                      Welcome both to the site and to the world of scrolling. This is a wonderful artform and can be fun and relaxing. The others that told you about the tool you have are correct and I will let others suggest a scrollsaw and you can actually look back on some older posts here and get a feel for different saws. But what I would like to focus on is you stated you learned to use your father's router and were self taught. I am not going to make this sound trite or graffic but that is one of the most dagererous tools a woodworker uses. Especially for someone untrained. I suggest you buy a beginners book for the router and any other tool you want to learn about and that includes the scrollsaw. Now the scrollsaw is one of the safest tools to use but the thing is you want to learn the right way of doing things which will make it more enjoyable. You stated you were using the router backwards which can be very dangerous. There are instances you want to run the router the opposite way but you do so with intentions. If you are not going to take a woodworking course then I would suggest books because the more you do woodworking the more tools you are going to want to make the job easier. Work safe and remember if the task you are about to take on doesn't seem right and safe then it probably isn't so look for another way of doing it. Have fun and welcome aboard. If you need to ask questions feel free to do so.
                      John T.


                      • #12
                        I'd like to echo the welcome others have already given, and suggest something else you may like to put on your wish list - even before your "real" scroll saw. It is the book "Scrollsaw Workbook" by John Nelson, and it is almost like having an experienced mentor right there with you as you're learning your way through the progressively more advanced projects. He also has some opinions on choosing your scroll saw. If there were such a good book on routers, I would not be afraid to try that tool either. I don't want to overwork my guardian angel during the learning curve without a guide.
                        I too was interested in using the Rotozip saw as a somewhat scroll saw. There is a rechargable model, and it looked like it might be neat for places without electricity. I hope you will keep us informed on your progress with it, and your recommendations.
                        Again, welcome, and I think you will find this board about the friendliest place you would ever want to be.


                        • #13
                          Scrollsaw hopes!

                          Hi Francie, Hope you do get a scrollsaw eventually and start having the sort of fun it presents! I have my saw mounted on an old school desk - the old type that has a lifting lid. The lid has been nailed down for more stability and a multiplug unit attached to the back to cope with all the extras like a light and if you want a vacuum cleaner nearby to cleanup regulary. Another good stand can be made by putting a ply table on the base of a comode chair. The type elderly / disabled people use. They are great because they can be lowered or increased in height to suit without too much difficulty. These are becoming the sort after stand over here as they are also light making them very portable.
                          Cheers. Teresa .


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