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Freehand vs cutting with a pattern

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  • Freehand vs cutting with a pattern

    Just a random thought...

    It's interesting how resistant some scrollers (myself included) are to the idea of cutting freehand. Carter does a wonderful job of trying to get us to step outside the box and cut without a pattern, but how many people really do?

    For example, last year at the Mid-West Scroll Saw Trade Show, we tried to get people to "freehand a fox" and only 4 people tried! I butchered one myself and gave up too! I haven't tried freehand cutting anything since!

    Now I have a challenge for everyone! Take a piece of scrap and cut the first image that comes into your mind...who cares how it looks, and post a photo. I'll cut something during my lunch and try to post it later....

    Lets see what we come up with!


  • #2
    I do freehand cutting at the fair. Mainly butterflies and small animals.
    I do find freehand cutting of jigsaws isnt that bad. Once you get the turns down for the lobes it seems to flow.
    You can also cut the puzzles out faster freehand, you are not concentrating on following lines.

    Yes I have wasted a few!
    "proud member of the best scroll sawing forum on the net."
    Ryobi SC180VS scroll saw EX21


    • #3
      BobD, I believe you have to be somewhat of an artist to cut something freehand, if you can't draw something freehand with a pencil how could you cut it from a piece of wood? I can see cutting a puzzle out but not an object such as an animal, etc. Just my 2ยข worth. Mick.
      Mick, - Delta P-20

      A smile is a small curve that straightens everything out.


      • #4
        A good way to start freehand thinking is to cut distinctive shapes. Cut a lawn rake. Cut a giraffe. Cut a question mark. You don't have to be any kind of artist at all to cut shapes with which you are intimately familiar.

        The point is not to produce an "artistic" sculpture. The point is to begin to discard the psychological shackles that exclusive pattern cutting incorporates. The four-year-old who says, "Can you make me a moose?" isn't looking for a perfect Bullwinkle. He'll have just as much fun with a reasonable fascimile, and he will be very appreciative of your almost instant freehand response.

        But, most important....have phun



        • #5
          I cut my puzzles freehand but not at Carter's level. Puzzles are very easy to cut. I can't cut anything esle freehand, no talent there.

          Delta P-20 & Q-3

          I wondered why the baseball was getting bigger. Then it hit me!


          • #6
            Can't draw worth a darn so I know I can't cut freehand. Love those patterns and thank you to all who design. Please keep it up.
            Last edited by ChuckD; 03-29-2006, 12:11 AM.
            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


            • #7
              Carter has helped me tremendously both here and on my own Woodworking Friends site. I thought it would be hard to cut freehand after cutting by patterns for so long but it actually is quite easy once you try a few.
              Here is one of the first ones I made freehand. Wish I had time to make a bunch more but I have too many irons in the fire I need more practice on the line cutting but I was attempting it with this one and starting to get the hang of it.
              This was a calendar picture of the Butchart Gardens in British Columbia , Canada


              The task ahead of us is never as great as the power behind us

              Delta P-20 Scroll Saw, 14" x 43" Craftex Wood Lathe and Jet 10" Mini Lathe .


              • #8
                Cutting something that has some sort of pattern on it, even if it is a stamp or card, you still have some idea of where to go.

                Going... uhmmm commando on piece of wood is quite a different thing. I think those who can do that have good visual qualities... as in see it in the wood before the cut.


                • #9
                  Freehand? Are you NUTZ?

                  Bob and Carter may be able to take a 8x12 of BB ply and generate a nativity scene but I can't. Heck I'd be happy if I could hand it back to you and have it still be a 8x12 and not a 12x8. The puzzles I have done are shaped puzzles so I follow the outline best I can and now only use the lines as a suggestion. I should try not including any inside lines and see how well I do at that point.

                  To me this seems as difficult as Carter cutting out the puzzle and then attachng the image to the precut pieces.

                  As an aside, I have never been intimate with a giraffe.
                  Sawdust King

                  If there is one thing I can make perfect every time it is sawdust.


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