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Scrollsawing Tips

Even more shop-tested scrollsaw tips from scrollers around the country.

  • For quick-draw blade retrieval, try this scrollsaw bandolier

    Most hot-shot scrollsawyers don't waste time changing blades. And this storage strip puts the blades close at hand, yet secure and out of the way.

    To make one, head for a sewing-supply store and pick up a strip of 1" hook-and-loop tape. Adhere about 18" of this to the side of your scrollsaw or scrollsaw table with epoxy. Then, epoxy strips of the mating material to the sides of your blade containers as shown at left. Now, press the containers up against the hook-and-loop strip on the scrollsaw for storage and fast retrieval. If you don't have any tubes to store your blades in, you can make some from PVC pipe that you buy at the hardware store.
    —Vyron D. Kuver, Des Moines, Wash.

  • Pop-out pins end blade-change hassles

    To end the frustration of trying to thread pin-end scrollsaw blades through small starter holes, I knock out the factory-set pin and insert my own removable pin. To pop out the factory-set pin without damaging the blade, I first drill a 116 " hole in a piece of heavy-gauge steel. Then, I place the blade flat on the steel with the pin centered over the hole and tap the pin through the blade with a hammer and punch. A safety pin, as shown, secures the blade in the upper blade holder and makes rethreading the blade a snap. I keep a few spares handy in case I happen to drop the pin.
    —Wendell Fox, Debary, Fla.

  • Keep stacked scrollsawn parts together with a dab of glue

    The next time you want to scrollsaw a number of identical parts, stack them together and join them with few dabs of cyanoacrylate (instant) glue in the waste areas. The glue holds the stack firmly, and the project pieces fall out easily after you finish sawing. Use the glue sparingly so it does not spread to the parts you want to separate after cutting.
    —from the WOOD® magazine shop

  • Code blades for easy insertion

    The older I get, the harder it is to see the teeth of my scrollsaw blades to make sure they go into the saw right-side up. So when I buy a new bundle of blades, I figure out which end is up, and dip that end of the blades into a bottle of brightly colored model paint. The blade always goes into the scrollsaw with the painted end up. For quick identification, I dip blades of different types or tooth-counts into different colors.
    Henry Worrells, North Fort Myers, Fla.

  • Cut fatigue with a swivel chair and tilted scrollsaw

    Many people love to scrollsaw for hours at a time, but hunching over a saw for that long can give you a stiff neck and shoulders. Set up your scrollsaw work station for comfort. First, get a swivel chair and raise it higher than you normally sit. Then, tip the back of your scrollsaw up with a block of wood so the saw sits at about a 10° angle. (Be sure to bolt the saw to the block and the block to your table or bench.) In this position, you won't need to lean over the saw to work, and your muscles and joints will thank you for it. You also can attach a dust-collection box below the table to make cleanup easier.
    —Allen Salfer, Atlantic Beach, Fla.

  • Stop collar remembers hold-down's position

    I do a lot of fretwork, and every time I threaded the scrollsaw blade into a new hole, I had to reset the hold-down. The problem was adjusting the hold-down tension so the work did not jump but still slid smoothly. My solution was to place a drill-bit stop collar over the shaft of the hold-down assembly. When I have the hold-down tension set just right, I slide the stop collar down so it rests on the arm. Then I tighten it. The stop collar allows me to reset the hold-down in just the right position after each blade threading.
    —Wolfram Sommer, Denver, Colo.

  • Throat plate prevents small- part losses

    Scrollsaws excel at cutting small pieces. But the smallest of these wooden parts have an annoying tendency of falling through the opening in the throat plate of the saw. To prevent this problem, build your own zero-clearance throat insert plates for your scrollsaw.

    Cut your auxiliary throat plate from a piece of 18 " acrylic to the exact outline of your saw's standard throat plate. If the 18 " acrylic plate does not sit flush with your table, try a different thickness of acrylic or shim the plate from below. Now, drill a 332 " hole centered in the acrylic plate for the blade to go through. Then, scrollsaw a line from the edge of the acrylic plate up to the hole, and you're ready to go.
    —Tony Lammers, Grand Rapids, Mich.

  • Light up your pattern line

    Scrollsawing a pattern line sometimes causes a perception problem. The black line and black blade visually merge, and you can't tell exactly where your blade is positioned along the line.

    Place a lamp so that your blade casts a right-angle shadow on the workpiece as shown. Now, you can use the point of the 90° angle formed by the blade and its shadow as a visual reference rather than trying to distinguish between the blade and the line.

    We invite you to hop on over to WOOD's Top Shop Tip forum. The shop tips forum is for you to share your shop tips that might be of benefit to other woodworkers. Our tips editor, periodically reviews all of the tips posted here for publication, and all tips are eligible to win our Top Shop Tip $250 tool prize, as-well-as $100 per published tip awarded in each issue of WOOD magazine
    —John Harris, Sun City, Calif.

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