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Lessons learned, but not mastered

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  • Lessons learned, but not mastered

    I recently took on a project for money. I seldom do this because it seems to erase the fun of the scrolling.
    I have the business sense of a gnat so I will make nothing on the project.
    Estimate of the project to the purchaser was $80
    The project is an inlayed crest, a coat of arms.
    It consists of shield with two stag heads, erased. Between the stag heads ia a crescent with a fiched cross. A horizontal band has three annulets or rings
    Beloow that is a tower.

    So I chose the woods, based partly on what I had in my shop and partly on the colours. I ended up buying a piece of maple for 12 dollars, I will have wood left for other projects. I used the thickness planer to make the wood 1/2" thick. the woods are maple, black walnut and cherry.

    I layed out the pattern and started cutting out the inlays. here come the lessons
    Lesson one
    I thought I could use a thin blade to make a tighter cut. It doesnt matter how thick the blade is if the wood is set out on the correct angle to make the inlays flush.
    The thin blade...a number one.... bent in the turns. The pieces were very very tight when I was done. So tight I tapped them in with a hammer.
    Lesson two
    Maple isnt necessarily stronger than walnut!
    Lesson three
    Wood glue and sawdust can fill a slight gap but polyurethane and sawdust will do a better job.
    Lesson four
    Make sure you have enough wood to do two projects incase the first goes wrong.

    I don't know if those lessons are embedded in my head yet. I do know I enjoy scrolling much more when there is no money involved.

    When I first started scrolling, the man who got me hooked came over.
    He had a short story on a piece of paper.
    A doctor went to a lake to relax, he saw an old man cutting wood to build a cabin. The doctor went back to work, a few months later he craved the lake and came back. The same old timer was peeling the logs. The doctor liked the lake so much he bought some land. The next month the doctor returned to see the old man notching logs and building his cabin. The doctor shipped in a prefab home and set up a dock with a boat. He went back to the city.
    In the spring he came back and the old man was sitting on the porch of a log cabin. The doctor went up to him to look at the cabin. He admired it and then turned to the old man saying.
    "You are an elderly man, why didnt you just do what I did and buy a cabin sit down and enjoy it for a year instead of toiling all the time I saw you."
    The elderly man turned to him and said "I get my enjoyment from doing, not from what is accomplished"
    When I do a project for money, I tend to lose sight of the enjoyment.

    I will post a picture of the project when it is complete. I am just debating whether I should go buy more wood and start over, or be creative and correct my mistakes on this project.
    "proud member of the best scroll sawing forum on the net."
    Ryobi SC180VS scroll saw EX21

  • #2

    Those are well learned lessons. May I ask why you did not use veneers and do a Marquitry project? Or an Intarsia project? I think you chose the hardest project trying to do inlay work with 1/2" material. I probably am missing more points that you did not include in your post.

    I too hate to do commissioned work. I had a lady last year stop by one of my booths at a craft show and ask me to make some ornamates for her. She said she wanted a wholesale pricing for 500 and more work to follow. Well I saw dollar signs and figured I could stack cut and get rich. Well after doing 50 I called her and told her I am not interested any more. I do not like to make the same things over and over I get bored real quick. Just not worth it in my eyes. Too many different things to make then to make the same things over and over.
    John T.


    • #3

      A few years ago I had the perfect scrolling material. an unlimited source of 1/8 veneer 6" wide and random lengths to 18"
      I could get oak, maple, walnut, purpleheart, spruce, cedar, teak, hickory. and almost anything else I wanted. All for free!
      I did an inlay at that time with that material, it was a joy. The lady saw the project and that is when she asked me for an estimate. I hadn't even seen the coat of arms.
      Well that source of wood dried up. My brother in-law still works at the door plant that supplied it but people were stealing full everything goes in a chipper

      I like 1/2 wood for fretwork and thought it would be good for the inlay.
      Well I have decided to "repair" the project. it isnt worth me buying more walnut.

      I am having thoughts of doing an inlayed plaque for my brother in-laws boss...yes I am not above bribing
      I may just have to go and sit with him, see if he will consider a new market for the offcuts. mail order wood.
      "proud member of the best scroll sawing forum on the net."
      Ryobi SC180VS scroll saw EX21


      • #4
        I enjoyed the story and the lessons. Good luck with that bribe.


        • #5
          Lessons still to be learned

          Well the inlaid crest was deleivered to the lady who ordered it at the fair yesterday.
          She was ecstatic, save one small detail.
          Well not really small.
          I spelled the name wrong
          In my excitement to do research on the coat of arms I went from Hanna to Hannah to Hannay.
          Well when all was said and done I had an extra H on the name.
          So today I sanded off the name, redid it with the correct spelling and refinished it all in 10 minutes time
          Everyone was happy.

          Thank god for computers and water based finishes.

          Hope I remember to check spelling on all my projects
          "proud member of the best scroll sawing forum on the net."
          Ryobi SC180VS scroll saw EX21


          • #6

            Hey Carl...the bribe just might work!!! Back in the early '80s when my ship was in the yards in Philly I used to get scrap wood (yellow pine) from the pattern shop. I carved and painted a few 1/2 size slick decoys and gave them to the guys in the shop. You would not believe how much the quality, and dimensions, of the "scrap" improved!!! Not to mention quantity!!
            If it don't fit, don't force it....get a bigger hammer!!


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