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Relief Cutting of letters

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  • Relief Cutting of letters

    Hi Folks

    I am struggling with an attempt to do some reflef cutting of some letters. I have John Nelson's book, Scroll Saw Workbook , and I did the practical exercise #14 on the Relief Cutting and I made the suggested "tester". However when I attempted to cut out my daugthers name to make a desk nameplate for her it didn't work for me.

    To have the letters pop out, I set the table at a 4 1/2 degree angle (left side down) and I tried cutting in a counter clockwise fashion but when I tried the first letter, I soon was required to cut in a counter clockwise motion some of the time and a clockwise motion other times.

    Is there a trick to doing letters? Any suggestions as to what I was doing wrong? I was trying to cut out the name "DONNA"

    Any and all suggestions will be appreciated. Has anyone found a good book or magazine article on relief cutting?

    Last edited by Jimpask; 03-05-2005, 10:36 PM.
    Jim Paskett
    RBI HAWK 220

  • #2

    Relief cutting of letters is not easy. The trick is you have to keep the same feed pressure throughout the cut. All letters are cut in the same direction to get the same effect weather you want them to stand out or fall back. That will take some practice for sure.
    John T.


    • #3

      It helps if the wood will spin in the throat of the saw. Don't use boards that are too long.
      Clockwise will cut the letters one way, counterclockwise the other

      the results are not bad after a few tries
      "proud member of the best scroll sawing forum on the net."
      Ryobi SC180VS scroll saw EX21


      • #4
        Relief Cut Letters

        Thanks for the further review of John's book as initally mentioned, there is a practice exercise #23 that is specific to what my problem is. Guess I just didn't look far enough. After the table is tilted down to the left, I see where some of the letters such as: A B D O P Q, all need to have the inside cut made by cutting in a clockwise direction....the outside of those letters to be cut in a counter clockwise direction. This way the inside of the letter will be pushed down and the letter itself will be pushed up to give me the relief effect that I am trying to obtain.

        This book is of great help to all scroller, beginners to old pro's, and is available from the Fox Chapel people here on this site.

        Jim Paskett
        RBI HAWK 220


        • #5
          I agree on John Nelson's book - I keep refering back to it over and over again (I'm a slow learner)


          • #6
            I don't think in terms of clockwise or counterclockwise; it gives me a headache when letters double back on themselves, and it doesn't give a single rule for both left-tilting and right-tilting.

            I think of the uphill and downhill side of the blade. At the point where you're cutting, anything uphill from the blade will "rise up" and anything downhill from the blade will "sink down". For me that's an easier way to remember it, and it doesn't matter if you tilt the table right or left. Your mileage may vary.


            • #7

              Thanks Steve. I know when I first read the article I was wondering does the author mean to tip the table "left side down"...while looking at the table from the front or looking at it from the rear.

              Sure can get confusing at times...but than again maybe I am a little more dense than others.

              Again thanks for the tip on "upside" vs "downside"

              Jim Paskett
              RBI HAWK 220


              • #8
                Gee, never thought of it as uphill and downhill! sure makes it easier to remember!

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