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Spirals and tear-out

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  • Spirals and tear-out

    I've been a flat-blader for years and when discussions turned to spirals and cleaning up the "fuzzies" I just couldn't relate. My current project is the Leaping Buck from Charles Dearing and I thought I'd try using a spiral someone had given me since the pattern almost 'looked' like it was drawn for spirals. After a few cuts I noticed how terrible the underside looked. Now I understand what everyone was talking about with having to clean it up. I have two questions:

    1. Is there a way to avoid all that tearout short of wasting a piece of wood by layering a throw-away piece? Would a piece of cardboard eliminate them?
    2. Why in the world would you subject yourself to the torture of having to sand all that away? What am I missing?

    Not knocking anyone's blade preference. It just seems like an awful lot of work after the work (cutting) is done.

    . . . because each piece will be someone's heirloom someday.
    visit sometime
    Hawk 220VS, Delta 40-570

  • #2
    Bruce, they make reverse spirals that may help. Place a piece of 1/8" luan or plywood on the bottom. I use Jeff Zaffino's propane torch method to remove the fuzzies, works great. I have been scrolling for almost 15 years with straight blades, have tried the spirals but don't care for them. They make a much wider kerf than the straight blades.
    Mick, - Delta P-20

    A smile is a small curve that straightens everything out.


    • #3
      Check your Private Message.
      SD Mike


      • #4
        I would think that if you used a 3M adhesive and attached cardboard or even paper to the back that it would eliminate most of the tearout. I don't know this to be a fact, but you could try it on a scrap. Sure seems like it should, but then you have to sand off the gluey mess.
        Jeff Powell


        • #5
          Bruce, with spirals, fuzzies just come with the territory, even with stack cutting the middle pieces have fuzzies but to a lesser degree. However I don't sand the fuzzies I burn them off with quick and great results.

          I've tried the reverse spirals but didn't care for how they handled, and still had some fuzzies to deal with.

          But burning them at least for me is the way to go.

          DeWalt 788

          aut viam inveniam aut faciam

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


          • #6
            I concur on the burning. I tried the sanding thing once and that was it. I got a little butane torch from Lowe's and I lightly burn them down. I then gently blow them with air. Then I take a piece of 150 sandpaper and brush across the remaining fuzzies then lightly burn again. I look at it as more of a "melting them down" thing than buring because you do it gently.
            Another tip is to lay piece flat on something so the flame/heat doesn't curl around and sear front. Its not that hard and I feel that some pieces are best cut with spirals and that would be alot quicker on them than a regular flat blade. You can get more detail faster. I think even with taking a little time getting fuzzies you could still do a piece quicker than flats with no fuzzies. Just an opinion.
            Confuscious says, "The cautious seldom err".
            Confuscious didn't own a scrollsaw either.


            • #7
              If you are used to flat blades you are probably wise to stay with them. I have never seen a spiral that didn't leave fuzzys on the bottom. I have tried all the so called new and improved ones and even the ones with reverse teeth on the bottom that don't work at all as good as the bottom teeth work on flat blades with reverse teeth. So if sanding the fuzzys or burning them or using a backer board doesn't seem practical for you after your time of never using those methods with flat blades then it would apear that you can save yourself a lot ov agravation by just using flat blades unless the pattern is too big for your saw and you have to use spirals. And if you don't know already , you will soon find out that the flat blades track on the line much easier than spirals and I have never seen a spiral give as detailed a finished piece as can be achieved with flat blades.

              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 .


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