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Lessons learned

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  • Lessons learned

    I've been frantically working on Christmas projects for the past several weeks. This year I've had some new experiences that have offered the opportunity to try new techniques and learn a few lessons.

    I tried compound cut ornamants this year for the first time. They were fun, but after cutting 70 of them, I was longing for the ability to stack cut again.

    I learned that using reverse tooth blades for compound cutting wasn't the best idea. Next time I want to try skip tooth. I learned that it is critical to make the blanks square to get a good, symmetrical cut. I also tried the propane torch vs fuzzies trick for the first time. It worked pretty well and since I was painting the ornaments, it didn't matter if I scorched them a little. I think next time I'll try one of those long nozzle butane lighters. I wonder if it would be easier to control with less flame & heat?

    I'm working on the Lichterbogen nativity project from the latest SSW magazine and let me say it has been a challenge to my patience, skill and nerves. I used spirals for the first time and all I can say is that for those of you who use them a lot, my hat is off to you. I broke more blades during this project than any other I've ever tried. I blame most of it on my lack of experience and poor technique.

    My biggest problem was getting the the blade securely in the clamps and staying there. Many of my blades broke before they ever touched wood. I realized, far too late, that part of my problem was with the blade clamps on my DeWalt. I finally removed the thumbscrew and set screw and touched them up a bit with a file, even though there was nothing visibly wrong with them. That helped some. I also discovered that my bottom blade clamp thumbscrew was cracked, which I think was leading to a lot of my trouble. of course I didn't discover this until I was 95% done cutting.

    Actually once I got a blade to stay in the clamp, I picked up the technique of cutting with them pretty well. In fact, I probably pushed them past their useable life span because I really came to dread taking a blade out and trying to get another one to stay in the clamp without breaking.

    I do want to thank SSW for this site. SSW, either directly or indirectly provided me a lot of resources to help me along with these projects. I posted questions on the forum and used links to other sites to get further help. IMHO, this is truly one of the best resources in cyberspace for scrollers.
    Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter. Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."

  • #2
    Thank you Bill for you compliment on our litle forum- I am sure I speak for a lot of us here and say you are among family here and we tell it like it is.. We will be your teacher at times and your student at times but we all love to help- Just knowing you appreciate us is so nice-- I feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

    By the way-- if you not tighten your tension on your blade so tight it will not break your blade so often. It took me a while to figure this one out but it seems if I have a good taught blade tension I have almost no breakage,...too tight and I will pop them like firecrackers



    • #3
      Sharon, I thought about the tension, but when it wasn't strung up tight, I could see the blade flexing and was concerned I would miscut. Yes, I was pushing the blade too hard. , but once I got a blade to stay, it seemed to cut better with higher tension.

      I've never broken this many blades before, especially when a lot of them never touched wood. I really think that it was a combination of my blade clamps and my failure to fully understand how to insert spirals into them so they would stay. I was even trying to flatten the ends of the blades so they would fit better in the clamp. I broke several that way. They never even made it into the saw.

      I guess the biggest lesson I learned from this experience is that when frustration starts to get the better of you, take a break, get out of the shop for awhile. Nothing good can come from trying to force your will when things aren't going your way.
      Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter. Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."


      • #4
        I recently had my first experience with spirals, cutting a door-topper. My opinion is that I was initially trying to use too small a blade (a # 1, I believe) on 3/4" BB plywood because when I switched to a #4, I had much less trouble with blade breakage. I tried to adjust tension to what seemed right (some deflection with pressure, but no more than about 1/8").

        My big problem was inserting them into the holders. I eventually developed a technique of opening up the thumbscrew so the blade would go in easily, then tightening the thumbscrew to "just snug", then throwing the tightening lever. (This was using Delta's upgraded blade holder - can't remember what they call it.)

        Hope this helps.

        Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. -- Dr. Seuss

        NEW DeWalt 788 and that old, Jimmy- Jerry- and Kevin-rigged Delta 40-560


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