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  • Is It My Saw or Me?

    Hello, I've been using a scroll saw for cutting large shapes out of pine and the more I see what it can be used for the more I want to use it. I found a design to cut a humming bird puzzle and decided to use Tulip wood. The problem is that I'm having trouble cutting this wood and have gone through several blades. It is very hard and about 3/4" thick. I even tried switching to bubinga and others but I pretty much get the same result. I can't keep the cuts straight and a lot of blades breaking. I have no problem with thinner wood. I have a 16" craftsman scroll saw and was wondering if that saw is not able to cut dense hardwood or if the operator of the saw is the problem (very possible). Would it be worth the investment in a "better" saw such as a Dewalt or Excalibur?

  • #2
    The blade is very important, the thicker and harder the stock, the larger the blade is generally the rule. For 3/4 stock I would prefer a #7 blade, such as a TruCut Agressor, or Flying Dutchman Ultra Reverse. In quite hard wood, such as white oak or walnut, the Flying Dutchman left the snoothest cut, with the least burning. Give Mike a call at Mikes Workshop. He can can give you expert advise and set you up with the right blades.
    Manufacturer Of Heirloom Quality Sawdust

    I wasn't born in the south, but I got here as fast as I could!

    Dewalt DW788 Hegner Maximat 18

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    • #3
      Could be one of several things, too small a blade (too fine), not enough tension, feeding too fast or a combination of all of the above. The harder and thicker the stock the less teeth per inch you want to use, or in numbered blades the higher the number, say a #12.
      Pat
      Woodworking is Therapy.... some of us need more therapy than others.

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      • #4
        It is always nice to have better saw
        But in reality your difficulties are probably more blade related than saw related.
        If you are buying your blades from Sears they are not the best quality. Also if you are using pinned blades you tend to be limited as to the tooth configuration and size.
        For the harder woods you need good sharp blades, I like Olson (from Sloans) but others swear by FD (flying Dutchman Sold by Mike)
        For that wood I would use an PGT 5 and it would cut that like butter.
        Rolf
        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

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        • #5
          Hi John,
          Most blade have a burr on the right side, this makes the blade cut to the right. You have to move the wood some degree to the right to stay on the line. Do not force the blade or it will cut with a bevel and will break real easy.
          Some have mentioned this but have good tension on the blade, the blade should not move sideways more than 1/8". Have good speed, if not you have a tendency of pushing too hard into the blade and the blade start to cut with a bevel. Have slow feed rate, let the blade do the cutting. Again if you push too hard the blade will break.
          Also use clear package tape ove the pattern, it will help that the blade does not burn the wood. It releases friction.
          Go to my web site and click on Q&A you will find a lot of help.
          FD Mike
          Last edited by 3_M; 06-12-2012, 06:46 PM.
          SD Mike

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          • #6
            The better the saw the better the final product. My work drastically improved when I went from craftsman to a RBI. It was also much more enjoyable to cut on as well. If you plan on scrolling for awhile it would pay to upgrade. You could treat yourself to a new one, or search ebay or craigslist to find a really nice used one. I was super lucky to buy a RBI G4 off ebay for $500.00. The saw had about 12 hours of use on it. But you will have to be patient to find something close enough to pick up in person. Is that a good enough reason to buy a new toy?

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            • #7
              I've been running my old craftsman saw since 1996 so I'm pretty sure it's not your saw. If you are cutting 3/4" Brazilian tulipwood you are cutting one of the densest woods there is so use a sharp blade. I use many of the harder woods in my intarsia and normally use an Olson#5 skip tooth with no problems. Don't force the cuts, take your time and replace the blade when it starts to wear out which will happen quickly with these harder woods
              Mike
              "Why buy it if you can build it"
              www.midlothianwoodworks.com
              My Blog --
              http://midlothianwoodworks.wordpress.com/
              My CustomMade Page
              http://www.custommade.com/by/mikemathieu/

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              • #8
                3/4 inch bubinga is pretty hard stuff, too. Much, much harder than pine. Get good blades, go slow, and don't push too hard.

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                • #9
                  Yes, John, an upgrade of the Scrollsaw would definetly help. Most of my cuttings of 3/4 inch oak is done with a blade that will discard the dust away from the cutting area. I haven't done one lately, but, I have had good luck with the Flying Dutchman #5 Silver Reverse blade. One thing you definetly have to do is GO SLOW. Adjust your speed on the saw so you can cut straight & smooth. Experiment with your blades & see which one works for you & your wood. Good Luck
                  PERK

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                  • #10
                    I'm not sure - but there may be a couple of species that are harder than the woods your cutting, you may have to look a bit harder to find them - Tulip and Bubinga are some pretty hard woods. I found I have a bit better luck with Precision Ground Blades for the really tough woods like that.
                    Douglas Fraser
                    Eagle River, Alaska

                    My Gallery - Aurora Wood Crafts

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                    • #11
                      I am in the middle of cutting my second project in 7/8" Brazilian Cherry (which I think is #3 on the hardness scale) using FD #5 Ultra Reverse blades.

                      I have not been pushing the blade hard and changing far more frequently than I probably need to since this is a presentation piece and sanding burn marks is out of the question in some areas of the cutting.

                      Get a great blade, tension it correctly and you should do okay. If you are happy with thin woods, the saw seems to be working. Figuring the blade/wood/feed combinations is the most maddening and rewarding part of all of this.
                      Jim
                      When looking at the clock at work--the correct time is:
                      Too early to leave, too late to call in.

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                      • #12
                        Thanks for all of the replies - I just finished moving so I was "offline" for a few days. I think I'll use everyone's advice and go slow and start out with softer wood! I'll hold off on a new saw for now and practice on my Craftsman. Now that I have some space to work I'll hopefully have more time to spend with the scroll saw.
                        Thanks again.
                        John

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