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Intricate Cutting/Ply?

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  • Intricate Cutting/Ply?

    Intricate cutting on thin plywood? 1/4 or 1/8? How do you do it? I had tried several times on a "Betty Boop." I had used 1/4 Maple Ply from Sloans and the cutting became very small and close to each other... then 'pop' or 'break.' The ply doesn't seem strong enough... yet I've seen many beautiful intricate fret works done on Ply...

    What's the trick... I had given up. Thought I'd just order a 1/4 Solid Maple piece later.

  • #2
    Baltic Birch

    Baltic birch ply is the choice for me when it comes to intricate cutting. There are more plys than regular plywood.
    Plywood was originally invented fro scrolling work, the opposing grain gives much more strength.
    When I cut this rose out if birch ply, I ended up taping the wood as I cut, this way everything was secure and the vibration of the saw and the wood would not cause the ply to split.
    The entire piece is outside cut, there are no holes drilled at all.
    Try Baltic Birch first, you will not be dissapointed
    "proud member of the best scroll sawing forum on the net."
    Ryobi SC180VS scroll saw EX21


    • #3
      Thanks for the reply. I do have a question... "What do you mean by 'taping as you cut'"


      • #4
        Once the blade has cleared the area you have just cut, tape the wood back together. The wood is then like a solid piece, tape on the top and the bottom holding the works together. When I finished the rose the whole thing was covered in tape. I then peeled the tape off gently while heating it with a hair dryer.
        "proud member of the best scroll sawing forum on the net."
        Ryobi SC180VS scroll saw EX21


        • #5
          Grizz, I use Finnish birch plywood for inticate designs and a 2/0 28tpi blade. Very seldom will I break it. I cut all the small pieces first starting in the center and work my way to the outside. The large pieces I tape back in place to keep the piece more solid. I use the blue painters tape. You have to vacuum the wood before applying the tape. I get the Finnish plywood from Happy scrolling. Mick.
          Mick, - Delta P-20

          A smile is a small curve that straightens everything out.


          • #6
            Everything I have been doing recently has consisted of Baltic Birch or just plain Birch plywood as well. I too am using the taping method to ensure the safety of the work (I saw that tip on the forum a few months ago). Since doing this I have had very few problems. I have found that I tend to just tape the underside of the work though as the packing tape holds the peices in there. Further, I have had the tape actually pull or fragment the smaller frets. When that does occur I'd rather have it happen on the backside rather then the front of the work so it does not impact the appearance.

            Generally the only tape that hits the front of my work is the occasional piece of Scotch tape to assist in holding down the pattern when the adhesive spray fails.

            Hawk G4, Dremel 1800

            Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati


            • #7

              I don't know if anyone mentioned it, or if it will help in your specific case, but you could use a temp table to cut down on the blade insert gap of your saw.

              Where the blade passes through the saw table, there is usually a metal insert with a gap for the blade. For many reasons this gap is quite large, and when doing intricate work this large gap causes small sections of the project to be unsupported by the table. Thus delicate parts of the fret work will break off.

              Solution 1: add a 1/4 inch plywood top to saw table and cut a much smaller hole. Down side: less clearance for installing blade, changing blade, no tilting of table. Aside, some like to use 1/4 inch clear Plexiglas instead of plywood so they can see the bottom blade clamp.

              Solution 2: some one at this forum suggested fixing a piece of cereal box to bottom of project wood. This will help to add support to the wood. Down side: Cardboard does not offer a lot of support. Also, you need to eat a lot of cereal to keep up with your sawing.

              Solution 3: Similar to #2 but use scrap plywood like a stack cut to give additional support. Downside is $$$. Also when separating the stack layers, the adhesive will not seperate and cause the project to break.

              Solution 4: some makers, like delta, have blank inserts for sale. These are plastic table inserts with no hole; you drill your own clearance. Downside, these plastic pieces may not be level with your table top, and you have to mess around with tape to level the insert.

              hope this helps.



              • #8
                There is an even better grade of baltic birch available in your local aircraft model store it you have one. The stuff used in the model aircraft is even better than the baltic birch usually available at scroller supply houses. It's more expensive and not really necessary except in very rare cases.


                • #9
                  Alternative Wood

                  For almost all my jigsaw puzzles, which require quite intricate cuts, I use 5-ply poplar plywood available from Wildwood Designs. I use baltic birch too, but a 2/0 puzzle blade lasts only 50 pieces with the birch and over 200 pieces with the poplar. In addition, the poplar is easier to cut and seems to produce a tighter fit between the pieces. I've also used 3-ply wood, including aromatic cedar, again from Wildwood. I've seldom had a problem with separating layers of plywood while cutting.



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