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Back to Basics - getting frustrated!

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  • Back to Basics - getting frustrated!

    I used to play the saxophone in school. When I went to high school, even though I had been playing for four years, the first thing my music teacher did was to begin with the basic book. When asked why, he told us that you most likely have developed bad habits and may never have learned correctly to begin with.

    I decided to take the same approach with scrolling. I have never been a good scroller and have never done anything really challenging. I started going through John Nelson's book to make sure my techniques were correct.

    I am having a problem with the butterfly. I have made about 10 of them over the last couple of days. Each time, I cut the second antenna really poorly. I just don't seem to be able to stay on the line with the small circle cutting in a counter clockwise direction. The blade always tracks inside the line- even when I anticipate it. Since that is wrong, the rest of the antenna always comes out much thinner than the other one.

    I have the fretwork down pat, tight corners and accurate cutting, but I can never get this one part done correctly. I should wait to post this when I can put up a picture but I am frustrated. If anyone is familiar with this pattern and can lend some advice I would appreciate it.

    I am using a #5 Rev. skip tooth blade on 3/4 oak. Ran out of pine ( I always have some around) and had some scraps of oak available.

    I keep giving them to my daughter who liked the first one. She says she really only needs one but would appreciate one with two antenna. (She inherited her mothers subtle sarcasm.)

    -Just do'in the best I can every day

  • #2
    I know when I am scrolling the wood and blade combination will react differently depending on the direction I am cutting.

    Like you said
    just don't seem to be able to stay on the line with the small circle cutting in a counter clockwise direction. The blade always tracks inside the line- even when I anticipate it.
    We all have this problem, and although I have not read Johns book, and I know I should.... I think a work around for you maybe to cut all the cuts on your project the same direction.

    I know it is good to be able to cut in both directions and you have discovered the characteristics of the blade as you have done this.
    Cutting, or drawing in symmetry is a challenge at the best of times.

    I have found when cutting circles with a jig I made that if I turn the wood one direction the circle becomes a spiral if I turn it the other, I end up with a true circle.
    So it is not your fault that this is happening it is just the nature of the blade.
    I hope this helps. If not I know many others will jump in.

    "proud member of the best scroll sawing forum on the net."
    Ryobi SC180VS scroll saw EX21


    • #3
      Owler, I have cut hundred of butterflies but never any out of 3/4" wood. I cut the wings out of 1/8" wood stacking 2. The antennae I cut from 1/4" wood. Oak, cherry, walnut and mahogany. The antennae is tough, I broke a lot of them when I started. I cut down into the V between the 2 curls, back out and back into the V with the blade, cut the right one first going clockwise all the way around and down to the bottom of the body. Then back to the left side and cut that one counter clockwise. Practice is about the only solution that I can think of. Maybe a different blade? I use a 2/0 28 t.p.i. blade. But that wouldn't cut 3/4" oak very well. Mick P-20
      Mick, - Delta P-20

      A smile is a small curve that straightens everything out.


      • #4
        Owler - I don't know the butterfly you are doing vut I do know the problem you are having. Have you tried going in reverse direction of the way you were cutting? I mean if you started from the top of the antenna and go down try going from the bottom of the antenna and go up. Also try slowing your speed down. This may help...


        • #5
          and by the way -I find pine is bad on breaking anyway so a good hardwood may help a lot too


          • #6
            We all have our blade favorites, and I don't want to start a war again, but.
            Try an Olson PGT 5 blade they cut very straight and don't favor a particular side.
            All of the above suggestions are very good. Make a copy of just your problem area and practice that on some scraps before you commit to another butterfly.
            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


            • #7
              Thanks for your help.

              I will keep practicing. I don't mind doing the whole butterfly because each time I do, the inside cuts get better and better. When I do something wrong, I usually know why. I don't really want to do the project to keep it. Just using it as an exercise to improve skills.

              I will try slowing down and the other things mentioned. I will take a picture of tonight's attempt and post it.

              -Just do'in the best I can every day


              • #8
                Just think of the nice bright fire you are going to have with all this kindling you are making.
                Chuck D

                When a work lifts your spirits and inspires bold and noble thoughts in you, do not look for any other standard to judge by: the work is good, the product of a master craftsman.
                Jean De La Bruyere...

                Hegner 18, Delta p-20, Griz 14 inch Band saw


                • #9
                  Ok - Fret work went great tonight - no complaints. Antenna - same problem.

                  The first picture shows the whole piece - it's about 4" x 4".

                  The second show a closer view of the antenna. The right one is always better but as you might be able to se, the bottom of the circle is flat.

                  The left one always gets screwed up the worst. The circle is not a circle and I always mess up the turn coming out of the circle.

                  Would a smaller blade help? Is the circle too tight for a #5?
                  Attached Files

                  -Just do'in the best I can every day


                  • #10

                    The pile sure is growing!

                    -Just do'in the best I can every day


                    • #11
                      Ok, try this. Drill a blade entry hole for each antennae. start first with the one your having trouble with, cutting in the same direction as you do for the other. cut that antennae all the way to where you will be changing cutting direction. Remove the blade and put it in the hole for the other antennae, and cut it in the same direction as you did the first one. Then, if they look nicely, cut the rest of the butterfly.If not, try again. If you cut that part first, you will know if its worth moving forward with the rest of the cutting. Good luck, you can do it! Dale

                      Edit! About your blade, radius ect.. No, your blade is fine. The tight almost 90 degree turn you are trying is causing the blade to twist. Try approaching that cut by cutting up to the line, then back up a bit, and take another cut toward that spot, widening the kerf some so your blade has room to turn without twisting. Remember , you are cutting through 3/4 inch of hardwood. It would be easier on 1/2 inch, because theres much less wood that needs to be removed to make that tight turn.If cutting in the counterclockwise direction, your blade must be getting pretty warm after making that turn around the top of the antenna . On the first antennae, the tight turn over the top is after that area, so the blade isnt as warm
                      Last edited by lucky788scroller; 09-21-2006, 09:44 PM.
                      Dale w/ yella saws


                      • #12
                        That sounds like it would work. Thanks. I will try again this weekend.

                        -Just do'in the best I can every day


                        • #13
                          There's going slow, and there's going S-L-O-W.

                          When I am doing very close cutting and I feel like I might botch it, I slow the saw down to a literal crawl, sometimes 1 stroke per second for a few strokes in a spot that must be ultra-precise. If I have a bit more confidence but just want to be a little more careful, I leave the speed alone but back off the feed rate so that the blade can keep up, which helps control.

                          Tolerances have a lot to do with choosing when to crawl. On the butterfly wings, you can be off pattern by 1/16" and no one will be the wiser. On the antennae, a 1/32" error is going to show up, because it's a larger percentage of the distance across the piece and a visual focal point.



                          • #14

                            Do try cutting the antennae with a #3 blade and did you hold a finger down on your work piece as a pivot point? That helps a lot.


                            My saw is a DeWalt788 Measure twice; cut once; count fingers after cut


                            • #15
                              Those piccies are rather large. Would it be possible for you to shrink them a little or post new ones which just show the butterfly detail?


                              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)


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