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Spiral Blades

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  • Spiral Blades

    I have finally discovered the quality of FD blades ( Thanx Mike ! ) While ordering, I had a " momentary lapse of reason " and ordered some spirals , having heard countless tales of their effectiveness in portrait cutting. Additionally I have heard tales of the challenges in their use
    Can anyone give me some tips and/or excercises to use before I go screwing up a bunch of newly-bought purdy wood ?
    Any spiral-blades-for-dummies type of advice greatly appreciated
    DW788 and Hawk 226

    " Please let me grow to be the man my dog thinks I am "

  • #2
    spiral blades

    Ive Use Spirals For Many A Year Now And I Know You Will Enjoy Them Once You Get Use To Them. A Lot Of Folks Dont Like Them Though. I Would Say To Get Scrap And Just Pratice The Cut Without Turning The Wood. You Already Know How To Scroll. I Cut Slabs Using Spirals, A Rougher Cut But People Never Seem To Notice. Scrollers Do !!! LOL Let Me Know What You Think Of Them. Tks, Rain Man


    • #3
      I have never gotten the hang of spirals, I could do better with a pocket knife.
      Flat blades work fine for me.

      Delta P-20 & Q-3

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


      • #4
        I picked up a few FD spirals about a month ago and slowing things way down and with a little practice I could follow lines relatively well, except straight lines. I didn't practice enough for that. I don't care for them. They tend to shred the pattern and make it tougher to follow and I prefer smoother cuts. Also, these FD spirals seemd to snap much easier than any other blade I've used. This would happen while tensioning the blade, not while cutting. I thought I had the tension all figured out for these blades and then, snap. The next one, even though tensioned exactly the same, would snap before I reached the same tension. That is very frustrating. I'll still keep a few on hand and use for maybe 3 or 4 cuts per portrait - only for veining. Surprisingly, some people love them. They say it takes all kinds, right Bill?

        Making sawdust with a Dremel 1680.


        • #5
          Cutting my first pattern of Jeffs is when I started to use the spirals . They took a while to get used to but now no problem.The first pattern I cut with them was Jeffs Family time. I bought some of Mikes spiral reverse but won`t do tht again as it puts fuzzies on the front of the wood where you can`t burn them off. Just don`t sneeze or hickup or you wiill have designer firewood.. I have used them on some of my other patterns as well.
          Last edited by B Smith; 08-15-2006, 08:46 PM.
          Dewalt 788


          • #6
            The best advise I can give ya is to scroll the alphabet with them. By the time you get to the letter Z you'll have the hang of them. Mike, your experience with the FD spirals reminds me of mine with the Pegas blades, I've snapped every one I've tried to use. Wonder if there's a bad steel run floating about in Europe?
            I use flats for everything unless it exceeds the throat of my saw, including portraits. I just don't like the look of the cuts of spirals.
            Scrollsaw Patterns Online
            Making holes in wood with an EX-30, Craftsman 16" VS, Dremel 1680 and 1671


            • #7
              Originally posted by Sawduster
              Can anyone give me some tips and/or excercises to use before I go screwing up a bunch of newly-bought purdy wood ?
              Practice on something other then purdy wood first!!!!! Dale
              Dale w/ yella saws


              • #8
                Robert, spirals are all I use, and since your used to using flat blades they will take a little bit of getting used to.
                First like Dale said, try using something besides purdy wood, till you get the hang of them! You will find you will have better control of them when you stack cut also. There is a difference between some spirals also, I feel that the FD New Spirals aren't as aggressive as the regular spiral blades. Therefore giving you a much smoother and controlled cut.
                Jedi offered up a good suggestion and that is try doing the alphabet with them. Or throw on a easy pattern and just go for it! Just keep this in mind, don’t try to turn the wood around the blade, use the entire 360 degree cutting surface that a spiral offers, tracing the line in whichever direction it goes, you don't have to spin the wood to feed the blade into the line your following. Below is a close up of a project I am working on now, I never turned the wood once to make my cuts, I just fed my wood into the blade rather it was from the side, front or back.
                I've also found that when making long straight cuts with a spiral, I have better control by starting at the bottom of the cut so to speak and pulling the wood towards me using the back of the spiral blade, instead of pushing the piece into the blade and away from me.

                I guess it just boils down to practice, and don't give up!
                Attached Files

                DeWalt 788

                aut viam inveniam aut faciam

                God gives us only what we can handle.. Apparently God thinks I am one tough cookie.....


                • #9
                  Excellent advice everyone.........thanx This forum rocks !

                  I actually purchased the easy spirals as well as the regular ones and plan on trying the easy ones first. My goal is a portrait from a pattern I made and I want to stack cut four 1/8 pieces . Is that too many or not enough ?
                  DW788 and Hawk 226

                  " Please let me grow to be the man my dog thinks I am "


                  • #10
                    I typically stack 5 pieces of 1/8" wood. I use #3 FD-SR's though so I'm not sure how those compare to spirals.
                    Scrollsaw Patterns Online
                    Making holes in wood with an EX-30, Craftsman 16" VS, Dremel 1680 and 1671


                    • #11
                      Always pleased when I hear about someone new trying spirals.... not so much because I personally love them, but I like open minded people I agree with what was said earlier the new spirals are much less aggressive, and easier to control, I think you have a good idea to start with them first

                      Here's a couple tips to add to what others have said that may help you also...

                      If you are used to hooking your fingers around the edge of the wood... try keeping them all on top of the wood, it will make it harder to steer the wood, but will help you get a feel for tracing the lines instead of turning the wood. Once you have a feel for how the baldes react you can go back to hooking your fingers.

                      Also when cutting with flat blades we tend to push the wood aggressively into the blade, with a spiral it is more about developing a "touch" and being less aggressive when feeding the wood.

                      The only 2 reasons I can think of for a spiral shredding a pattern are the blade is upside down or it is a reverse tooth spiral and the reverse teeth are coming through the top.

                      Tensioning is a bit different with a spiral, but you will get a feel for it as well.

                      Give them a fair chance and just remember that when you put your first flat blade in you had some trouble with them too. If you have any other questions/ or any problems and you feel like you need more help feel free to send me an e-mail, I will be happy to help however I can

                      Jeff Zaffino
                      Advanced Scroll Saw Patterns


                      • #12

                        Words from the master himself

                        I am not worthy...
                        (/me doing a lousy imitation of Saturday Night Live's character)


                        On a more serious note: glad to see you in here Jeff.
                        DW788. -Have fun in the shop or it isn't a hobby anymore.

                        NOTE: No trees were killed in the sending of this message, but a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.


                        • #13
                          Well, let me add my nickel's worth. I have used spirals for a long time and find them very useful and not hard to use at all. 'Course they take some getting used to after using flats exclusively. I use 2/0 flat end spirals from Olson most of the time and have had no problem with them "snapping" or leaving "fuzzies" on my work. I'm lazy and the spirals are a lot easier for me than all that "spinning" that is necessary on complicated patterns.
                          Old Mooner


                          • #14
                            I like spirals when doing cuts in wood that is too long for the throat size.
                            I have found it a little difficult to cut a true straight line or a true arc but I think that may be due to lack of practice.

                            If we only needed one blade to scroll with then the manufacturers would only make one blade.
                            I really think blade selection can be one of the most difficult aspects of scrolling. You just cannot select the correct blade if you do not try them all out and learn the characteristics of each blade.

                            As with any tool, let the blade do the work, do not force it. Get a feel for the resistance of the wood. Enjoy what you are doing, there is no prize for being the first to complete.
                            When scrolling with a flat blade you can pull back on the wood when making a turn, the rear of the blade has no teeth to cut the wood.
                            You do not have to turn the wood when using a spiral blade you can advance and recede your cut in an Etch a Sketch manner.
                            CAЯL HIRD-RUTTEЯ
                            "proud member of the best scroll sawing forum on the net."
                            Ryobi SC180VS scroll saw EX21


                            • #15
                              Well said Carl. It's best to be proficient with all types of blades.

                              I still think the alphabet idea was the best piece of advise I was ever given when learning to scroll (can't remember where I read it). When I needed spirals for a project I was working on, I grabbed some scrap wood and went through the alphabet with them and had no problem with the portion of the cutting that I needed them on. You have curves, straight lines, tight corners etc. in the alphabet. Plus, if you screw up a letter, who cares?
                              Scrollsaw Patterns Online
                              Making holes in wood with an EX-30, Craftsman 16" VS, Dremel 1680 and 1671


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