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Fred Wilson

Scrolling Tips and Tricks - #3 - 1/22/2014 – Patterns and Stack Cutting

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Remember, guys and gals, there is NO right or wrong answer to any of our topics.  What best works for you is the way it should be.  That being said, I think we can always learn a little from our fellow scrollers.  Maybe some else’s way can help us cut cleaner, straighter, and easier.  Please chime in with your suggestions of your ways of doing things.  It will always be appreciated by all.


 


Since we have discussed blades, wood, etc – I thought it might be right in line to do a little discussion on patterns and stack cutting.  I know – these two topics don’t exactly fit together, but I think they are too small to have a week by themselves.  Therefore – let’s dive right on in.


 


Pattern Affixing


Over the years, we have progressed nicely from drawing on the wood, to blackening the back of a pattern and then tracing on the wood, to carbon paper, to printing on paper and attaching said paper to the wood with some device, to printing the pattern directly onto the wood (laser).  I think we can skip most of these solutions other to say, “Been there, done thatâ€.


I think most of us duplicate an original pattern (therefore saving the original), and affixing the pattern to the wood in some way. 


Personally, I sand down the object wood to 220 and do NOT wipe the sawdust off the wood and then using a light coat of 3M 77 Temp Spray Glue, spray the back of the pattern, let it dry just a touch, and then affix it to the wood.  My reasoning for my methods are below.   (And again, let me emphasize that this is only MY way of doing it and we want to hear about YOUR way of doing it).



  1. Sanding gets all those nasty little hanger’s on that seem to get left on wood after sitting overnight in my shop
  2. Leaving the fine sawdust on the wood lets me peel off the pattern a little easier if I apply just a little too much glue.
  3. I have tried other temp spray glue and like the 3M #77 project the best – just me, of course
  4. After really learning to work with the woods, blades, blade speed, and pushing speed, I do not put any other material either over or under the pattern.

Getting pattern off the wood


Most of the time, I can raise a corner with just a little pressure from my finger and then just peel the pattern off.  A little pesky piece I will lift off with my dental scraper tool.  @$%%@ patterns will be taken off using mineral spirits.  And then a light sanding.



How about the rest of y’all.  Share your methods with us.  Let’s learn from one another.


 


Stack Cutting


Questions that always seem to come up in a topic of stack cutting are:



  • How many layers
  • How thick each layer
  • How affix the layers to each other
  • How to get the stacks apart after cutting
  • And probably others that I can’t think of now

 


Most of the time, I will cut a MAXIMUM of ¾†of layers – and even then, I sometimes run into trouble.  I have a devil of a time getting the blade angle set up to exactly ZERO Degrees (Or 90 degrees from the table.)


I have tried a bunch of ways to keep the layers together tightly – brads, nails, screws, and tape.  I have settled mainly on the hot glue gun around the edges of oversized pieces.  Getting the pieces out of the stacks will give you a huge tip on whether your blade is perpendicular to the table.


How about the rest of y’all chiming in here.  Want to hear how and why YOU complete these tasks.


 


Fred




Fred
aka Pop's Shop
www.pops-shop.com
'Soooooo many patterns - sooooo little time'
Scroll Saw Forum Host
'Stop complaining about the storm and learn to dance in the rain.'

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Nice write up Fred. We do things a little different, but I am sure every scroller hsa found a way that suits them and their needs.



Attaching Patterns


I normally cut my blank to rough size. Then sand both the top to 220. Wipe off the saw dust and apply Blue Painters tape. Spray the back of the pattern, I sue 3M Easy Tack. Let the spray setup a short time and smoothit over the blank. Next step goes to the drill press, chose a bit size appropriate and make my entry holes. Thn back to the sanding area where I clean up the back of the blank with 220 again. If I am cutting something thicker 3/4" I will apply a smooth layer of packing tape accross the pattern. Take a pin or small awl and punch the holes throught the packing tape. The reason I don't drill with the tape in place, for me atleast. It seems to lift the tape off the pattern leaving small areas for dust to get under and collect. Making details hard to see or totally covered. Then off to the scroll saw.



Stack Cutting



I have tried all the above mentioned ways. Small brads, hot glue, double sided tape. I find for me that I like wrapping the stacks in masking tape. Then use the above listed procedure to finish off the pack. As for thickness. If I am using 1/8 birch ply, I go 5 to a stack. 1/4" birch ply, 2 to a stack. Same applies to 3/8 thick blanks. I try not to go over the 3/4" thickness since it seems on my saw the I have the same issue as you and probably most others. Keeping things 90* to the blade and table. One thing I have learned and many times over gotten reminded of many times when stack cutting is to be very patient and take my time. Speed and feed a very critical to me if I want the project to come out correctly. And to keep a fresh, very sharp blade in the saw. Dull or burned blades tend to wander around and are hard to control. Changing blades when stack cutting is just a matter of cutting into the waste area, create a small hole and feed and set the replacement blade then continue with my cuts.



Like you said many times. There is no right or wrong asnwers, just what works for us the best. Many scrollers have developed their own systems that work for them. Once I have everything cut, I remove the tape and pattern, give it a light sanding on the top and bottom and off to the finishing area of my shop. Something else Ihave learned in my journey. I visit freinds shops and watch them work, ask questions about why they do things the way they do. Seems we both end up learning something and grow together in our crafts. Not to mention, enjoying a great cup of coffee and having a few laughs along the way.





Wayne Mahler
God bless and protect our troops that serve so we can be free.

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I usually affix my pattern to the wood the same way Fred does, with the exception I clean the sawdust off my wood after sanding. Sanding first also helps with the sanding after cutting the piece. When I stack cut pieces I have found the best way for me is to use the double stick tape you can purchase from woodworking supplies. After cutting I simply use a spray bottle with mineral spirits and spray a light coating on the piece, wait a few seconds and the pattern pulls off easily. Happy Scrolling

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Attaching patterns:

Whether stacking or not, I precut the wood to size and sand to 150 or higher and clean off the sawdust. The piece to receive the pattern gets self-adhesive shelf liner (from the dollar store) on its top surface. I use a brayer (roller) to get any air bubbles out and get best adhesion. Then the pattern gets spray adhesive and is applied to the shelf liner. I roll it all down again after drilling holes. Also, the back is resanded after drilling holes. The beauty of the vinyl shelf liner is that it adheres well, yet peels off well, too. It never requires mineral spirits or scraping/sanding for removal. It takes less time to apply than masking tape and is probably cheaper, too. Since the pattern goes on top, it doesn't matter what color or pattern the liner has, although if available, I buy clear. In the rare event the pattern or liner pulls up as I'm cutting, I hold it down with the eraser end of a pencil as it approaches the blade.

Stack cutting

If I'm needing only one finished cutting and stacking is just for better control while cutting, I'll add 2 layers and one can be hardboard if my plywood supply is low. If I want good multiples of the pattern, eg Xmas ornaments, I'll stack 1/8" plywood to 4-5 layers. One limiting factor is that the smaller diameter drill bits are also short. I hate it when I prepare the stack only to find the drill I prefer to use because of small areas in the pattern means the drill is too short to drill through the entire stack. I like to hammer brad nails in waste areas to connect the layers because it is more effective in inside areas. Tape or hot glue on the sides isn't as good, but that is sometimes needed to supplement the brads for most fretwork projects (where all waste areas are eventually cut out). Of course, when stack cutting, the stack is prepared before drilling and the back is re-sanded after drilling.

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Great idea with the shelf paper Spence, will have to try that




Spence Bloom said:


Attaching patterns:
Whether stacking or not, I precut the wood to size and sand to 150 or higher and clean off the sawdust. The piece to receive the pattern gets self-adhesive shelf liner (from the dollar store) on its top surface. I use a brayer (roller) to get any air bubbles out and get best adhesion. Then the pattern gets spray adhesive and is applied to the shelf liner. I roll it all down again after drilling holes. Also, the back is resanded after drilling holes. The beauty of the vinyl shelf liner is that it adheres well, yet peels off well, too. It never requires mineral spirits or scraping/sanding for removal. It takes less time to apply than masking tape and is probably cheaper, too. Since the pattern goes on top, it doesn't matter what color or pattern the liner has, although if available, I buy clear. In the rare event the pattern or liner pulls up as I'm cutting, I hold it down with the eraser end of a pencil as it approaches the blade.

Stack cutting
If I'm needing only one finished cutting and stacking is just for better control while cutting, I'll add 2 layers and one can be hardboard if my plywood supply is low. If I want good multiples of the pattern, eg Xmas ornaments, I'll stack 1/8" plywood to 4-5 layers. One limiting factor is that the smaller diameter drill bits are also short. I hate it when I prepare the stack only to find the drill I prefer to use because of small areas in the pattern means the drill is too short to drill through the entire stack. I like to hammer brad nails in waste areas to connect the layers because it is more effective in inside areas. Tape or hot glue on the sides isn't as good, but that is sometimes needed to supplement the brads for most fretwork projects (where all waste areas are eventually cut out). Of course, when stack cutting, the stack is prepared before drilling and the back is re-sanded after drilling.


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Wayne - thanks for chiming in - just shows everyone what we talk about being no 100% right or wrong answer.


Rob - join in the conversation - we are always looking for ideas.


Gene - it's easy to apply too much - re: lacquer thinner - for me it dries too quick so I have to use more.  Mineral spirits gives you more time to get pattern off.  I always use a clean rag with the spirits after the pattern comes off as well.  (Gets rest of glue off).


Tony - thanks for the input


Spence - hadn't heard that one, sir.  going to have to try it out.  Makes a lot of sense.



As of this readying, 91 views of this thread.  Keep it up, guys, I think we have a winner here.  Fred




Fred
aka Pop's Shop
www.pops-shop.com
'Soooooo many patterns - sooooo little time'
Scroll Saw Forum Host
'Stop complaining about the storm and learn to dance in the rain.'

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Fred, I use a chip brush to apply mineral spirits and let it set for a few minutes. After I remove the pattern I brush it again with mineral spirits to remove the extra glue. I reuse the chip brush over and over for months and it still upsets me when I have to throw it away



Rob

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FYI, since most of my fretwork projects are sized to fit 8 1/2" X 11" frames, with an occasional one at 11" X 14", I take the roll of shelf liner over to the band saw and cut it to be just under 11" long. That saves a step every time I fit the liner to the top of the project wood.

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So much info. I'll have to try some of these ideas next time.


When stack cutting, for now, most of them I keep around 1/2" max. I'll wrap them tightly in blue tape and spray glue the pattern to the tape. Never tried any other way but I'll have to see what happens next time.




Harry Brink
Bulldog Woodworking
Montana

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That's what is is all about, Harry.  Sharing ideas.  I most always try someone else's idea just to see how it will work for me.  Sometimes it is a little awkward simply because I have never done it that way - but - I always give the new idea a fighting chance.




Fred
aka Pop's Shop
www.pops-shop.com
'Soooooo many patterns - sooooo little time'
Scroll Saw Forum Host
'Stop complaining about the storm and learn to dance in the rain.'

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