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compound cutting

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  • compound cutting

    I'm trying to learn a few things. My mother bought the cross pictured below and gave it to me as a present. I want to duplicate it, and give them out as gifts as well.

    I don't currently own a scroll saw, so I need to decide what features I'd need on the saw I end up buying. Also what type of blade I'd need.

    This cross has one continues kerf, cut at an angle that allows it to be pushed out to form a 3D effect. I suspect it was done using a spiral type blade.

    I can't figure out the steps taken to produce the correct angles on each of the sides. I assume you'd have to turn off the saw and rotate the piece to keep the blade angle going in the right direction for each side. Wouldn't that stress the small blade, and possibly break it?

    Any tips/hints on saw models and production issues will be gratefully accepted.

    The pic posted is a scan of the piece, I don't have a camera, the cross wouldn't stay pushed out laying on the scanner and because of the attached base I had to scan the back side. Also the piece wasn't signed or labeled so I can't give credit to the person who produced this. All I know is that it was made by a guy from Minnesota vacationing in the same area of Arizona as my mother.
    Attached Files
    Last edited by repairit; 08-19-2006, 08:22 PM.

  • #2

    I doubt if that piece was cut with a spiral blade, the lines are all straight, not the best thing to do with a spiral blade. If the wood is about 3/4 inch thick I would cut it with a #5 to 7 blade (some people would go as big as #9). The table tilt is determined by several factors, 1) thickness of blade, 2) how far you want the wood to extend for each step.

    On my saw I would tilt the table left side down 4 to 5 degrees cutting in a clockwise direction. (do some test cuts before you commit to the real thing.)
    If you want the layers to stick out further decrease the table angle if you want it flatter increase the angle. You do not stop the saw when you make the turns.

    As far as saws go there are lots of discussions on this web site about saw selection and we all know what is best for us. That said I would suggest a saw that uses pin less blades. My personal preference is the Delta SS350 ($180 with stand) But I would suggest looking on this site for other good suggestions. (I don't want to start a saw or blade war again; scrollers are pretty silly like that)

    WARNING: Scrollin can be hazadous to your lifestyle. If you get a saw you will be addicted in a very short time and all else will be meaningless.
    Last edited by Rolf; 08-19-2006, 08:43 PM.
    RBI G4 26 Hawk, EX 16 with Pegas clamps, Nova 1624 DVR XP
    Philosophy "I don't know that I can't, therefore I can"
    Proud Member of the Long Island Woodworkers Club
    And the Long Island Scrollsaw Association


    • #3
      Thank you for your reply!

      I see I have alot to learn about everything, including the blade. I figured it was a spiral bit from the small start hole. It can't be more than 1/16" diameter. That and the fact that there are a few sharp corners where there the turning would have happened. My picture doesn't show that very well. I didn't give the dimensions of the piece. It's roughly 6"X11"X3/4" thick.

      I guess that doesn't matter right now. I have a big learning curve ahead of me. If flat blades are easier to cut straight, then it is a flat blade I'll be learning with.

      I will be searching the forum extensively. There is a great deal of information right there at my finger tips.

      I know what you mean by addicting. I don't own a scroll saw, but I have been writing down scroll project ideas for a couple of years now. I can't imagine the amount of joy i will have in my heart after I actually complete one of them.
      Last edited by repairit; 08-20-2006, 10:27 AM.


      • #4
        You have no idea how addicting it is. Can you say "12-step program"?
        Buy and start with the best saw you can afford. Get the one with the deepest throat, variable speed, blower etc. Thyose are musts if ya' going to get serious and once ya' start ya' will. I prefer my DeWalt 788 personally. The small Delta is good, nice and affordable but ya'll out grow it soon. I'm not saying ya' can't turn out good work and use it several years but you'll find your self wanting more. Better to speed $500 now rather than $200 now and $500 later. Anyway, get the best ya' can and work with it.
        Your cross is done in what is called "relief cutting". If ya' cut one way it'll push, 3-D, out and the other way it'll 3-D inward. The amount of degrees ya' cut will determine how far out or in your pieces will go. Relief cuttin gadds a whole other diminsion to scrolling. I discovered it while trying to "recess out" a deer head in a basswood plank. There is a jig posted somewhere on this site that will show you the differences in the degrees and directions of the cuts and what each will do.. It's very handy thing to keep around. Somebody else might be able to point you in the right direction because I forgot. You might try doing a search for "Relief cutting" or something along those line as a start.
        Good Luck with your upcoming addiction!
        Confuscious says, "The cautious seldom err".
        Confuscious didn't own a scrollsaw either.


        • #5
          Originally posted by repairit
          I figured it was a spiral bit from the small start hole. It can't be more than 1/16" diameter.
          Repairit, you will soon learn that 1/16" diameter is quite large in many applications. I haven't bothered with a bit that large for quite some time.

          Good luck and welcome aboard. By the way, what part of MN do you come from?

          Making sawdust with a Dremel 1680.


          • #6
            Originally posted by Capt Weasel
            Your cross is done in what is called "relief cutting"
            This is good stuff here. Now I have the correct name for the type of operation I'm shooting for. I called it compound because of the angles needed to hold it from pushing all the way thru.

            I'm working my way thru the information on this site, I'm sure I'll see it referenced sooner or later. I haven't even gotten to the scroll sawer articles, yet. I get into the forum and look at the different posts, time flies by and it's time to go.

            While I agree with you on buying the bigger saw now, I'm afraid my budget doesn't allow it now or in the near future. I'll certainly keep my eye on Craig's list and in the conventional classified ads for deals on the bigger saws, but I'm fairly sure I'll go with the smaller one to learn on.

            Thanks for your reply and solid information.(and warnings)


            • #7
              Originally posted by Minnesota scroller
              By the way, what part of MN do you come from?
              About 100 miles west of the Twin Cities on hwy 212.

              Wow! I'm certainly out of touch on this scroll saw thing. I had better go and take a look at some of these things. 1/16" is .0625" if that is a big blade, then a normal blade would look a lot like dental floss.

              I may go thru blades fast. I'm 6'4" tall 280 lbs, hands like hams. I can see myself sitting there hunched over a saw muttering, "don't break the blade, don't break the blade." lol
              Last edited by repairit; 08-22-2006, 10:34 PM.


              • #8
                Those blades are mighty slim, but they're tough, too. You may find yourself breaking as many of those teeny drill bits as you do blades.
                As for the saw, if the Delta fits your budget - go for it! A Delta was my second saw (after a Dremel). They are good, strong saws, and you can "grow where you're planted".
                Which is to say, you can probably do everything you want - it just may take more time or effort than a top-of-the-line saw. I'm betting you will enjoy every minute of it. And when (if) you are spending more time cussing the saw than you are sawing, you'll be in the serious market for another saw.
                Welcome to the family.


                • #9
                  My wife bought me the Delta for my BD a few years ago, and it served me well until I realized I Really liked this hobby. That is when I bought the RBI G4.
                  As long as you don't start out with a pinned blade saw, and it has easy or toolless blade changing you are good to go.

                  Choosing a first saw is tough, if you have a local club get with them and you may have a chance to try different saws, before you buy.
                  RBI G4 26 Hawk, EX 16 with Pegas clamps, Nova 1624 DVR XP
                  Philosophy "I don't know that I can't, therefore I can"
                  Proud Member of the Long Island Woodworkers Club
                  And the Long Island Scrollsaw Association


                  • #10

                    the size of the hole for the inside cut is determined by the blade, most all blades are 1/32 - 1/16 " from the teeth to the back of the blade, but the ends of the blades are bigger and will only go into a 1.16th hole, so the hole looks weird at the starting point , becuse of the blade with or kerf the blade leaves a tail different sized than the hole. results: you have the hole with a tail. resembling spermazoa...
                    becuse you cant slot with a drill bit you only have 2 choices

                    to relieve this sperm looking hole with a long tail. you can use a spirial blade but then you come into a bad deal with the blade wandering.
                    the squair corners i do them this way,
                    practice at slow stroke speed and let the saw do the work so it will be slow at first,,,
                    cut to a corner and hold backpressure as you make the cut, turn the wood 90* slowly and let the teeth file the wood out of the way, when 90* is achieved forward pressure and finish cut.

                    the trick is to keep the teeth in contact as you turn the wood, and allowing the blade to file out the corner. without letting the blade overheat or not turning the wood too fast which will result in blade braking..

                    i find back feed by pulling the project a little against the back of the blade. as you slowly make a 90* turn, it keeps the turn as small as possible if you let the teeth file till the angle is met. then forward feed to continue till the next turn...
                    Dremel 1680 & Delta ss250 shopmaster


                    • #11
                      [QUOTE=repairit]About 100 miles west of the Twin Cities on hwy 212./QUOTE]

                      This would put you somewhere between Granite Falls and Olivia, probably about 1 hour from where I live. In case you're curious, I live in Marshall.

                      Making sawdust with a Dremel 1680.


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