Friday, September 30, 2005

The Scroll Saw

One Hundred Twenty Third Post: The Scroll Saw

I have recently been interested in what a scroll saw can do. Basically what machine stamping machines do for steel a scroll saw does by cutting patterns into the wood. You really can’t stamp wood the way you could metal. Of course there is some airplane models that have their pieces stamped out in balsa wood. But for wood you need a saw... a scroll saw.

A scroll saw can be thought as carving a pumpkin design into a pumpkin. It is sort of like subtracting shapes to form a silhouette. The scroll saw carves away to make its design. This seems that is would limit what can be built from a scroll saw, but the truth is that is what defines it as an artwork. It is all based on shapes. The saw will cut any shape, but they don’t have to be separate shapes. The complex designs come when the shapes are combined. Don’t forget all the simple shapes can be glued and fitted together.

The magazine “Scroll Saw Work,” issue # 16, has everything from wooden T-Rex to Boston Terriers. Woodwork has been done millions of time and machine shops shape and cut metal, but for the home workshop wood is just easier to work with. Also, the fact that a lot of woodworking ideas have been explored just adds to the number of projects to learn from and influence the beginning wood workers own designs.

For me I am still new to the trade. In fact, I really haven’t done woodwork since shop class in high school. I know that a lot of wood work has been explored already, but I find it a place to be artistic. Bob Ross, the famous art teacher, once lived in Alaska. From there he would take an old piece of a tree stump, cut and sanded it, and then he painted a beautiful Alaskan scene and sold the painting to make a little money. I know the same can be done with a scroll saw and paint. Someone with a little skill could cut a design in wood and paint it then make a lot of money at a weekend flea market. The ideas are endless.


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