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Were Beginners

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  • Were Beginners

    Hi scrollers,
    My name is Kim and my husband is Kirt. We live in the upper peninsula of Michigan. We own a commercial building on Highway M123 just 30 minutes north of the Mackinac Bridge. We are very interested in opening up a wood working/retail shop. We both would like to start with scrolling and have no idea where to begin. We have 400.00 to start up our business. First we need a saw. If anyone has time to help get us started with maybe a top 10 list of things we need and what saw would be best or any other tips please let us know. This is the first web site I've been on with scroll sawing and I love it.
    Thanks so much. Kim and Kirt

  • #2
    Welcome to the form Kim. I live in Mount Pleasant. As far as scroll saws, I own the Dewalt Dw788 and love it alot. You can buy one for around 400.00 to 500.00. As far as starting up a business, I will let others that are more knowledgable help you out. There are alot of fine people on this site that would be more than willing to help. Good luck and keep us informed on you adventure.

    Steve in Mi.


    • #3
      Welcome to the forum.
      I guess if you have $400 and you want the top ten things then you will have to slice the pie a little thinner.
      There are many saws out there, Steve suggested a good one, but it may eat up a lot of your budget.
      When looking for a scroll saw make sure it will take both pinned and pinless blades. Not too many professional scrollers use pinned blades any more. You will find the pinless ones are finer and can cut tighter turns than the pinned variety

      I think after a scroll saw a drill press is the next machine I would get

      Although much scrolling will not need sanding it doesn't hurt to have some sort of a power sander. A lot of it will depend on what type of projects you choose to do. Each has its own merits. If you decide to do intarsia or segmentation then a drum sander on a drill press will get you by to start with

      You will also need a good selection of wood.
      Baltic Birch plywood is a nice choice, it cuts evenly and finishes well. If you have a source for other woods that are reasonable then by all means use them too. You can often get offcuts at cabinet shops, high schools, and even old pallets made of hardwood can be used.

      You will need a good selection of blades, there are several suppliers available.
      Although blades are inexpensive do not settle for cheap poor quality ones.
      I wont mention any brands, you can just do a search for blades on the forum and get lots of advice.

      You will need patterns. The patterns you will need will depend on the style of scrolling you want to do. There are several styles of scrolling all listed on the forum, look through the galleries at some examples and see what you like.

      Fox Chapel has tons of great books and patterns available.
      I would also recommend you get the Scroll Saw Workbook by John Nelson.
      It is one of the scrollers bibles.

      You will need finishes, either paints or stains and clear poly, types.

      You will need to ask tons of questions and get tons of input, then sift through it all and see what appeals to you.

      Best of luck and remember we all started scrolling knowing nothing about it at all.
      "proud member of the best scroll sawing forum on the net."
      Ryobi SC180VS scroll saw EX21


      • #4
        Thank you so much for all your info. Wow my husband and I are getting so excited. My husband has always loved working with wood and we think we have finally got the location and time to do it. We have a table saw, a hand sander, a cordless drill. a 20$ dremel that would burning thing that is still in the package with a peice of wood. I've always wanted to do that too. We have lots of scrap wood. What other kind of wood? And what is the best thickness? Where would I find that Scroll sawers workbook? Library, bookstore or here at this website? What is your favorite kind of scrolling? What do you think would be a good retail idea or pattern for up north woodsy michigan? Something big or little? What is the best thickness of wood to start with? Would you please give me a list of your top 10 finishes? Thank you so much. K&k


        • #5
          I love your enthusiasm . I will get back to you once I digest all the questions
          "proud member of the best scroll sawing forum on the net."
          Ryobi SC180VS scroll saw EX21


          • #6
            I do not cut commercial so I cannot offer much advice in that area.
            I enjoy all styles of cutting but I have yet to do intarsia. I have done some segmentation in an intarsia style though.
            You can get the book from this site if you like. Clcik on the new scroll books icon on the right side of the page.

            As for big or little, it is a matter of preference. You have to sell a lot of $5.00 items to make the same profit as a $100 item.
            Don't sell yourself short. Check online at some prices others are charging for their work. Remember it will take some time to get to the level that some of the other artisans are at.

            Best wood thickness depends on the project. I like 1/4 BBPly but I also like 1/4 to 3/4 inch hardwoods too..

            As for finishes I don't use many. I am not the one to ask about that.

            There are lots of wildlife patterns that will sell well
            CAЯL HIRD-RUTTEЯ
            "proud member of the best scroll sawing forum on the net."
            Ryobi SC180VS scroll saw EX21


            • #7
              We think the wildlife patterns would sell well too.
              2 more questions. Could you give or any one give me more detail on intarsia and segmentation differing from scroll sawing. I think I know. Is intarsia more like a puzzle or layering? I will be at the library to look up more books tomorrow and please forgive me for being such a beginner. Thanks again


              • #8
                My 2 cents. Skip the drill press for now. Instead buy one of those little vertical stands that you attach a powered hand drill to. Each interior cut you make requires a gate hole usually made with a 1/16" drill bit. The hole needs to be vertical if you want to stack patterns to increase your output. You can also use your Dremel in a shop made vertical drilling jig.

                Invest in a powered palm sander. Often, the cutting will have fuzzies on the backside that can be quickly removed by putting the cutting face down on, say, a piece of cork board and then sanded.

                Most use 1/8" and 1//4" Baltic Birch plywood. You can't get this at your local lumber store. Here it's important not to have any voids inside the plywood that would weaken your cutting. You can practice on cheaper stuff, of course. Some have salvaged luan (sp?) from discarded interior doors as practice material.

                Many don't finish their work. Depends upon what you are making and whether you'll frame it. Boiled Linseed Oil (BLO) is a good finish, though for some cuttings.

                Books with patterns and techniques can be found in a lot of places. Including your local library. I've found good deals on used Spielman books at

                If you can afford it, get a good scanner and monochrome laser printer to copy and print your patterns.

                Craftsman 16" VS, Puros Indios and Sam Adams!
                Scrollin' since Jun/2006

                My Gallery

       (reciprocal links welcomed)


                • #9
                  We have learned so much tonight. I've checked out some old posts and will continue to do so. Lots more to learn and I'm sure alot more questions. Please bear with us because were sure we will have many more questions. Thanks for all your help


                  • #10
                    Welcome aboard Kim!

                    You might also want to check this link: you might pick up some tips and information for starting up a small business.

                    Best of luck on your journey and new addiction!

                    DeWalt 788

                    aut viam inveniam aut faciam

                    God gives us only what we can handle.. Apparently God thinks I am one tough cookie.....


                    • #11
                      Welcome Kim and Kirt. I have a DeWalt 788 and love it.
                      Wishing you good luck in your venture.
                      Owner of a nice 21" Excalibur
                      Owner of a Dewalt 788
                      PuffityDragon on AFSP


                      • #12
                        Welcome to the group Kim and Kirt. you will find a lot of good info here, I recommend spending a little more for a saw, I went through 2 before I settled on a Dewalt DW788 couldn't be happier with it. again welcome.
                        New owner of a Dewalt DW788


                        • #13
                          I'm also new to scroll sawing, but I may be able to help with a couple of thoughts from researching the subject. I have found that a lot of people who are in the "business" of scroll sawing have the DeWalt 788 or the Delta P-20 scroll saws ($500 price range), but in all of the forums and scroll saw sites I have been into in the last several months, I have found many people doing high quality work on saws in the more reasonable price ranges. You might want to check that out on the various Forums. In my recent travels, I stopped in at a "Tool King" store in Denver where they had 9 reconditioned DeWalt 788 scroll saws for a price of $329. The one on the floor looked brand new. You can check out Tool King on-line.

                          While in Yuma Arizona, I found a fellow in the scroll saw business. He had a store full of fretwork desk clocks, napkin holders, wall plaques, butterflies, etc. These were all made from 1/2 inch and 1/4 inch oak. Most of his patterns were wildlife designs and southwestern designs. he got most of his patterns from books he had purchased. Most of his work was priced from $20 to $50. I don't know anything about business, so I can't help you there. I just wanted to offer this example I stumbled upon since you seem to be searching for possibilities. I hope some of this is helpful.


                          • #14
                            Welcome to the forum Kim & Kirt.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by CanadianScroller
                              I do not cut commercial so I cannot offer much advice in that area.
                              But he probably should be, Carl's advice is golden he is one of the first folks that helped guide me along a few years ago...of course now I just see him as another crazy Canadian fella' full of wind...kidding!!

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