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Fence on a scroll saw?

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  • Fence on a scroll saw?

    I vaguely remember reading somewhere about someone using a fence on a scrollsaw - but can't for the life of me remember where.

    It struck me that it would make it very easy for making jigsaw puzzle blanks... if it worked!

    Anyone got any ideas?


    Scrolling with a Dewalt 788

  • #2
    This is a hot topic, most people will say a fence will not work due to the bias of the blade.
    I think it would work if it were set to the blade bias, Diamond Scrollsaws in England sell a fence for their saw and it works.

    If you were to use a spiral blade then the fence should work since there is no bias.

    I think I saw a picture in one of the recent issues of the magazine where someone used a framing square taped to the table as a fence.
    "proud member of the best scroll sawing forum on the net."
    Ryobi SC180VS scroll saw EX21


    • #3
      I saw a pic of a lady cutting a puzzle edge with a straightedge (might have been a piece of scrap) on top of the wood to help hold the line. I haven't tried this myself, but just use a regular #2 blade (not a puzzle blade) and it goes OK.

      Just realized that I'm addressing cutting out the picture and not the cutting of the blank. For the blanks, I rip with a REAL jigsaw, which used to be called a saber saw but that name has been taken over by reciprocating saws. I use what's called a plywood blade, but it's a little rough on the cross cuts so I do those on the scroll saw.

      If I had a lot of same-sized blanks to cut, I'd use a table saw.



      • #4
        Diamond saws are capable of taking blades other than scrollsaw blades. You can fit a section of bandsaw blade and and use that, thus avoiding any bias problems.

        I've actually got a fence for my Diamonds but I've never used it; if I need to cut a straight line, I can cut straight enough on a fretsaw without using one . Added to which, when it comes to cutting in straight lines there are better tools for the job which can cut thicker stock much more accurately. Bandsaws don't take up much space in the workshop .

        There is no opinion, however absurd, which men will not readily embrace as soon as they can be brought to the conviction that it is readily adopted.
        (Schopenhauer, Die Kunst Recht zu Behalten)


        • #5
          It makes sense that it would work, but it seems to me that there are other ways that are easier to make a straight cut. ie, tablesaw, router, bandsaw
          Mark Abbett


          • #6
            Good question! I've been pondering something like this myself but with a twist. I'm looking for a fence idea to use when cutting long stretches on the inside of a portrait. I can get it close with a straight blade but invariably have to go back and spend time sanding the humps out and getting it square again. That eats up time especially if really have a hiccup. Anybody ever tried something this? A framing square laid on top of piece is the only thing I can think of but then I might have clamping issue.
            Confuscious says, "The cautious seldom err".
            Confuscious didn't own a scrollsaw either.


            • #7
              Capt. Weasel, I know what you mean by an occasional hump on a long straight stretch. To aid in the sanding of these humps, I use scroll saw files. I bought a 2 pack from Sloan's Woodshop and they fit in the saw just like a blade. It much easier and more effective than doing it by hand.

              Making sawdust with a Dremel 1680.


              • #8
                I've used them but my 788 won't take them due to the table slot and that they flex to much. I've been using files but I'm looking for a 1 cut and done solution. Time is money.
                Confuscious says, "The cautious seldom err".
                Confuscious didn't own a scrollsaw either.


                • #9
                  Can I ask a really dumb question? I don't really know what a "fence" is, but I assume through its context that it is something straight to follow to cut a straight line.

                  My question is simply: Why would you need to cut a straight line for a jigsaw puzzle?,,,and what in the world is a "jigsaw puzzle blank"?



                  • #10
                    Ian: (AKA PuzzledMoose)

                    When I tried to take normal business cards and make puzzles our of them, I had a problem of making my woodbacking exactly the size of the standard business card. Then I ran into getting the card to glue exactly to the dimension of the wood backing.

                    Resolved the problem by making the plywood 1/16 or so oversized in both dimensions, and once the top and bottom were glued togeather I used a shooting board to square up and make the whole thing the correct size.

                    A shooting board, also spelled as shuteing board:

                    But takes a very sharp plane blade. I use a block plane which has the lower angle of the blade for plywood use.

                    Be aware, that few puzzle makers use the backer board technique with puzzles, but I felt that with the very small size of the pieces from a business card, a backer was needed. Both the puzzle back and the backer board are from 1/8 inch BB plywood.



                    • #11
                      I'm truly sorry again, folks, but now I have an additional question to add to the two above which are still unanswered. When making a puzzle from a business card, why not glue the card to the wood and then just cut along the sides of the card and then cut it into puzzles pieces?

                      I have done this for sales people who, when unable to see a prospective buyer, would leave an unassembled puzzle of the buyer's business card....with one piece missing, along with a message saying something like: "to obtain the missing piece for your office supply (or whatever) puzzle, contact Joe Schmoe at 555-0000". It sometimes worked.

                      I guess my questions all relate to keeping things simple....



                      • #12
                        Thanks for the responses and potential solutions. Glad I'm not the only one who gets bumps on straight lines - only a novice here and not as skilled as Gill..

                        Carter: Sorry I hadn't answered your earlier questions - been out all day.

                        Firstly, people say there's no such thing as a dumb question, though I sometimes wonder about my own .. Maybe something got lost in the translation from UK to US

                        Why the straight edge on a puzzle? I meant the straight edges on the backer board that the picture is attached to - that's what I referred to as a jigsaw puzzle blank. We call puzzles either jigsaw puzzles (or just jigsaws) in the UK, but my Canadian partner has informed me that this isn't a North American term!

                        Cutting the plywood on a table saw was leaving slightly chipped edges on the plywood I was using so I was trying to get a nice clean cut on the scrollsaw - hence the question about the fence... Hope this makes sense...

                        BTW I've been looking at your gallery and love your puzzles - I'll keep practising ..:-)

                        Scrolling with a Dewalt 788


                        • #13

                          You raise a valid question: why did I use assembly technique I did?

                          The simple answer is: it was my choice. I knew I was not then, am not now, nor will I ever be as skilled as someone like you in puzzle cutting. Brain isn't wired that way. Therefor I could not cut the tung and mouth tabs to interlock the puzzle together. Without the tabs, the puzzle would not stay connected.

                          In order to cut the puzzle, but keep it somewhat together, I used the suggestion from Patrick Spielman in his book Scroll Saw Puzzle Patterns. Patrick used a framed puzzle with backing for puzzles for children without the tung and mouth tabs. His idea was small children have motor skill problems with assembling puzzles with tabs. My choice was I didn't have the skill to cut the tabs.

                          So when the cutting is all done and the frame is glued to the backer, there ends up a rough edge around the framed puzzle. Yes, I could trim it on my band saw, the scroll saw, maybe use a sanding block, or even a file. But the shooting board with a plane blade sharpened to an 8000 grit water stone gives an incredible smooth edge to plywood. Again, the choice of tool to finish and clean up the glue squeeze out (ooze-out) and square up the edges was mine to make.

                          I have 7 hand planes from block up thru jack to bench to a 24 inch jointer plane. Over the years I have made 3 different shooting boards for different projects in a box unused for several years. I had the tools and the technology, so I went with what I knew.

                          Keeping is simple, as you say, is good. I postulate that what is simple for me may not appear to be simple for you, and I know the reverse emphatically applies.

                          with respect for your skills:



                          • #14
                            Phil, what I still don't understand is that all of your puzzle pieces DO have locking tabs.

                            I assume, Ian, that what Phil refers to above as a "backing board" is what you refer to as a "backer board". I find they are useful only when a big puzzle "piece" fits one-to-one with the cutout. If there is more than one adjoining piece, then, assuming there are locking tabs (unless you're making what's known as a "push fit" puzzle), you don't need a backing board and children enjoy it just as well. I have a 3 1/2 year-old-grandson who likes to assemble my Bob the Builder puzzles, where I cut the machines into 5 to 6 pieces each...with no background board.

                            Great phun.......Carter


                            • #15
                              "Backer board"="puzzle board" or the wood the picture is glued to. Without the picture it's a "blank". Do I have it right, Ian?

                              Phil's puzzle is usually called a tray puzzle, very popular for young children. Some manufactured ones have a plain wood frame, but the old-fashioned way is for the frame to be part of the picture. That way, it gives the child some clues as to how the pieces fit. An advantage of the tray puzzle is that it's self-storing, easy for the child to get at and easy for a parent to pick up later.

                              I make tray puzzles just like Phil's, only bigger, and do as he did with trimming the edge after gluing the frame to the, uh, backing board. Don't use a plane, though. I only use a plane when I have to, i.e., sizing doors. Anyone who can plane a straight line deserves immeasurable respect.



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