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Fred Wilson

Scrolling Tips and Tricks - #2 - 1/18/2014 - Blade Choices

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I know, I know - It's not Tuesday as normal.  I have an excuse - I'm on pain killers   Laie_28.gif 


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.  Please chime in with your suggestions of your ways of doing things.  It will always be appreciated by all.


 


In scrolling, we must make choices every day with our projects.  Choice of wood, choice of thickness of wood, choice of pattern and – once these choices have been made – choice of BLADE. 


 


We all, I believe, have our favorite blades for our projects so the purpose of this article is NOT selling you on any particular brand or style of blade.  Let’s discuss, instead, what type of blade we would choose for a particular job and why.


 


To start with, a very little Blade 101 theory. 



  • All blades have a top and bottom.
  • Most blades have two sides.
  • Most blades have a front and back.
  • Most blades are designed to work with wood.

 


Blades are broken up into several categories:



  • Regular
  • Skip Tooth
  • Reverse
  • Spiral
  • Precision Ground

 


Blade sizes run from 3/0 to 15 (exceptions run in just about every manufacturer).  Examples:



  • Size        Width    Depth    Teeth per Inch
  • 3/0         .022â€Â Â Â Â  .008â€Â Â Â Â  33
  • 1             .026â€Â Â Â Â  .011â€Â Â Â Â  24
  • 3             .032â€Â Â Â Â  .014â€Â Â Â Â  21
  • 5             .038â€Â Â Â Â  .016â€Â Â Â Â  12.5
  • 9             .053â€Â Â Â Â  .018â€Â Â Â Â  13
  • Just to name a few

 


OK, a few more basics –


ning-blade-5772-71.gif?width=250With the picture, we know the top, bottom, front, back, and both sides.  Right?


It is a standard skip tooth blade thus allowing a little more sawdust to escape the kerf and therefore keeping the blade a little less hot.


As an aside here, there is one manufacturer of a superior blade that actually puts an indentation in the top of the blade


I also know a little more about this blade in that it is NOT precision ground and that the blade is manufactured in Germany.  (“Precision ground†is another way to say the manufacturer has gone to an extra step to remove burs from one or both sides of the blade.)


All blades, with very few exceptions will put slightly toward the “burred†side of the blade.  The ones I use pull slightly to the right so I make up for this slight pulling by moving my chair to the right of the scroll arm.  Depending on what thickness of wood, size of the blade, how hard I’m pushing on the object, I may move my chair back and forth to make up for the pulling.  (One of the few exceptions will be the precision ground blades.  No burs, no pulling, right????


Another little trick I’ve found is that I will use a “deburring tool†to remove any burs and/or super sharp corners on the back of the blade.


Blade breakage


We have broken blades from time to time.  Sometimes it doesn’t seem to make sense to us as to why the blade broke.  Well, folks, there is only one reason a blade will break. – FATIGUE.  The trick is knowing what caused the fatigue.  I have done some research on the subject , bought many a blade, experimented with different techniques, and came up with the following:



  • GUIDE through the blade, don’t push it (too much)
  • Make sure that the blades are properly tensioned. Too tight is better than too loose.
  • Make sure you are using quality blades and feed not force the wood.
  • When you put a blade in and tension it then pluck it. It should make a nice musical ping and not a thud
  • Make sure you are pushing straight at the blade rather than forcing it to one side.
  • Change the blade when it becomes dull. A dull blade will break as it requires much more pressure to get it to cut.
  • If they are breaking close to the ends, it could indicate a problem with how they are clamped.
  • If they are breaking in the middle, then it's likely one of the reasons already given.
  • When all else fails, blame it on the blade.

When blades break it does create quite a racket on many saws. And, according to Murphy’s Laws, the blade will break when you least expect it.  Blade breakage will definitely wake you up, grab your attention, and generally increase the pucker factor for a while.  You will learn real quick not to scroll with your tongue between your teeth. I have heard that that smarts. Of course, I have never done that, but since I started scrolling I have developed a lisp. Don't know why......;;))


Also remember that a scroll saw does not cut as fast as other woodworking tools such as a bandsaw or a table saw. Just let the blade do the cutting. Do not, repeat, do NOT try to force the cut. You will end up frustrated, with sloppy cuts, broken blades, burned cuts, pretty much everything you don't want.


 


Before I sign off on this one and leave it up to y’all to come up with other tips regarding “Blade Choicesâ€, keep them sharp, keep them cool, don’t over stress the blade and they will last a lot longer and will be less susceptible to breakage.


 


 


 




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,


Very nithe eththay on bladeth. :- ) 


Is there a particular brand you favor. Or, does it vary with what you are cutting? 






Gene
'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

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Fred


First of all, glad to see you up a bit. If I find a blade that pulls too much, or really need to make a lot of tight turns, I take one of my diamond files and with the saw running, rub it along the back side of the blade in an arcing motion. This take the burr off and also makes tight turns easier. ONly takes a second or two and well worth the effort, Just be care to keep it on the back side of the blade and not around the tooth pattern.




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

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My scroll saw appears to have been designed to use pin type blades. But as an after thought, the manufacturer included a pair of blade clamps. Of course, to use them, I need to insert one end of a non pinned blade into the clamp, tighten the allen screw securely, measure to a point on the other end of the blade, repeat the process with the other clamp and then install the clamp/blade assembly into the arm notches that normally hold the blade pins, Whew! 


Needless to say, I use pinned blades almost exclusively which really limits the choices of the blades. 


This leads to my question, are there easier to use adapters to connect non-pinned blades to this type of saw or is it just better to replace the saw with something more modern?




Lew Kauffman-
Wood Turners Forum Host
Rolling Pin photo crop3_zps88fb0af9.jpg?width=100
Time Traveler and Purveyor of the Universe's Finest Custom Rolling Pins!

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Thats a lot of work to go through Lew. What make and model sw do you have. I believe some manufactures made a retro fit kit or an after market may be availibe some some. I did this for a neighbor of mine with a saw and was able to adapt it to pinless blades. Although some of the newer saws on the arket have some very nice features and benifits, it would depend on how much you use it.




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

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That's the big thing for me, Wayne- how much do I use the saw. It's one of those tools in my shop that gets very little use except when I am making parts too small/delicate to cut on the bandsaw. 


Mine is an early Bridgewood (sold by Wilke Machinery- Taiwanese origin) single speed.

Wayne Mahler said:


Thats a lot of work to go through Lew. What make and model sw do you have. I believe some manufactures made a retro fit kit or an after market may be availibe some some. I did this for a neighbor of mine with a saw and was able to adapt it to pinless blades. Although some of the newer saws on the arket have some very nice features and benifits, it would depend on how much you use it.




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



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Me too.. I have a scroll saw designed only for pin type blades and have a blade clamp for the pin less blades. And if it snaps out I have to tighten it with allen keys. Was wondering how to hold two pieces of wood together and scorll it so that the woods don't move even a little for intricate patterns...

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Wonderful information Fred has compiled here! If I could collaborate here in a expanded way & meaning no disrespect to my taking liberties. In my years of training personnel, I have given a tip to operators of scroll saws and band saws that operate in a production scenario. These operators did this process all day long, so they were well experienced. They all pretty much went with it. Here it is: To create a smooth work flow and following a line don't look directly at the blade cutting but ahead of it keeping the blade cutting the material in your peripheral vision. I got the idea from an old pattern maker, cutting fabric with scissors and adapted it to wood working. It also has been used by folks tracing with a pencil. I have applied it to hand sawing with a worm drive circular saw as well. It might get some getting use to because it defies some peoples common sense. But after trying it and mastering it you can do well with it. One other point is keep moving, don't stop and with most tools (AKA band saws) do not back up, or at least if your a highly skilled rule breaker, USE CAUTION when changing the blade direction. A experienced operator will learn how to not get into corners that require backtracking, and will have smooth, swift like cuts. But getting into a corner is inevitable. So here some tips on that: The safest way is turn off the machine, and back it out to a safe restart location. If that isn't practicable avoid binding the blade, watch not only the blade but the guide to see if the blade is moving off track on a band saw this is very dangerous. Also a few points I hadn't seen here in the post that apply to a broader spectrum from basic scroll saw techniques but because some scroll work is done with band saws as well. As Fred points out blade selection, direction is an important factor but remember the "rest of the story" A well lit work surface, dust collection or removal is imperative, As is: Hold down foot is "kissing the wood (Not to tight and not to loose) and in the case of a band saw the blade length distance is adjusted with in an inch of the upper blade guide and the material. The operational point Fred brings up I can't agree with more. Guide the material through the cut letting the tool do the work never force. If you feel the need to do that then it is probably time for a new blade typically. The old rule in the shop is a dull tool is a very dangerous tool. One of the may great bits of advise Fred gave, I particular favor to is If all else fails blame the blade... or the dog...the blade is probably a better idea since the dog has its ways of retribution.

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Great tip,Wayne - I use that as well.  Did find out that there are various grades of diamond files and for a while I was using a file that was too course.

Wayne Mahler said:


Fred


First of all, glad to see you up a bit. If I find a blade that pulls too much, or really need to make a lot of tight turns, I take one of my diamond files and with the saw running, rub it along the back side of the blade in an arcing motion. This take the burr off and also makes tight turns easier. ONly takes a second or two and well worth the effort, Just be care to keep it on the back side of the blade and not around the tooth pattern.




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



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Lewis - it's always difficult for me to advise someone to buy a new saw.  I understand your pain on blade changing.  been there done that.  I replaced my pin end blade machine simply because I found a saw for less than $100.00 that uses pin-less blades, and I wasn't going to quit, and I was getting into better patterns.



I ran across an article that might be of value to you.  It discusses ways to "cheat" the large blade entry holes of pin end type blades.  The author has also come up with a way to convert just about any pin-end saw.  See it HERE...



Hope this helps

Lewis Kauffman said:


My scroll saw appears to have been designed to use pin type blades. But as an after thought, the manufacturer included a pair of blade clamps. Of course, to use them, I need to insert one end of a non pinned blade into the clamp, tighten the allen screw securely, measure to a point on the other end of the blade, repeat the process with the other clamp and then install the clamp/blade assembly into the arm notches that normally hold the blade pins, Whew! 


Needless to say, I use pinned blades almost exclusively which really limits the choices of the blades. 


This leads to my question, are there easier to use adapters to connect non-pinned blades to this type of saw or is it just better to replace the saw with something more modern?




Lew Kauffman-
Wood Turners Forum Host
Rolling Pin photo crop3_zps88fb0af9.jpg?width=100
Time Traveler and Purveyor of the Universe's Finest Custom Rolling Pins!



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Ohh, LEW - hang on to that amazing machine.



Regarding use - I spent a lot more time on my scroll saw after I got rid of the blade changing hastle - OK, sometimes it is still a hastle when I'm doing an 11 x 17 project with over 300 inside cuts.

Lewis Kauffman said:


That's the big thing for me, Wayne- how much do I use the saw. It's one of those tools in my shop that gets very little use except when I am making parts too small/delicate to cut on the bandsaw. 


Mine is an early Bridgewood (sold by Wilke Machinery- Taiwanese origin) single speed.

Wayne Mahler said:





Lew Kauffman-
Wood Turners Forum Host
Rolling Pin photo crop3_zps88fb0af9.jpg?width=100
Time Traveler and Purveyor of the Universe's Finest Custom Rolling Pins!


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Zubin - excellent question and a topic that will be covered very soon.  In short, answers are glue, temp glue, double backed tape, nails screws, duct tape, hot glue just to name a few.  In the tips and tricks topic, we will discuss pros and cons of each.  OK?

Zubin Advani said:


Was wondering how to hold two pieces of wood together and scroll it so that the woods don't move even a little for intricate patterns...



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Brad - thanks for the great insights.  Like we have said in the heading of each of the Tips and Tricks series, there is NO absolute wrong way or right way and we want to hear how other folks are doing it.  We LEARN from each other.


I have a complete topic on cutting inside and outside corners in the work, Brad.  We will kick the can around several ideas.  I'm always learning new and easier ways.

Brad Vickery said:


Wonderful information Fred has compiled here! If I could collaborate here in a expanded way & meaning no disrespect to my taking liberties.


To create a smooth work flow and following a line don't look directly at the blade cutting but ahead of it keeping the blade cutting the material in your peripheral vision.


One other point is keep moving, don't stop and with most tools (AKA band saws) do not back up, or at least if your a highly skilled rule breaker, USE CAUTION when changing the blade direction. A experienced operator will learn how to not get into corners that require backtracking, and will have smooth, swift like cuts. But getting into a corner is inevitable. So here some tips on that: The safest way is turn off the machine, and back it out to a safe restart location. If that isn't practicable avoid binding the blade, watch not only the blade but the guide to see if the blade is moving off track on a band saw this is very dangerous. Also a few points I hadn't seen here in the post that applyarrow-10x10.png to a broader spectrum from basic scroll saw techniques but because some scroll work is done with band saws as well. As Fred points out blade selection, direction is an important factor but remember the "rest of the story" A well lit work surface, dust collection or removal is imperative, As is: Hold down foot is "kissing the wood (Not to tight and not to loose) and in the case of a band saw the blade length distance is adjusted with in an inch of the upper blade guide and the material. The operational point Fred brings up I can't agree with more. Guide the material through the cut letting the tool do the work never force. If you feel the need to do that then it is probably time for a new blade typically. The old rule in the shop is a dull tool is a very dangerous tool. One of the may great bits of advise Fred gave, I particular favor to is If all else fails blame the blade... or the dog...the blade is probably a better idea since the dog has its ways of retribution.



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Fred,


Thanks for the link and the insights! I'll check out the information.


Lew

Fred Wilson said:


Ohh, LEW - hang on to that amazing machine.



Regarding use - I spent a lot more time on my scroll saw after I got rid of the blade changing hastle - OK, sometimes it is still a hastle when I'm doing an 11 x 17 project with over 300 inside cuts.

Lewis Kauffman said:





Lew Kauffman-
Wood Turners Forum Host
Rolling Pin photo crop3_zps88fb0af9.jpg?width=100
Time Traveler and Purveyor of the Universe's Finest Custom Rolling Pins!



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This is going good Fred.


Right now, it's been since before Christmas that I have been able to do much sawing because of cold weather and being busy playing Santa.


I'm going to have to practice some before I do too much. What I did cut yesterday I had a lot of trouble.


Between the new saw ( D/W788 ) and switching over to Flying Dutchman blades, it was just cutting way too fast! I switched to a U/R 1 blade and slowed the saw way down to try and control my cuts. Just pushing a little and it was off and running. I'm going to have to work on it some more to get everything under control.


I'd rather have this problem than what I put up with on my old saw!


Harry




Harry Brink
Bulldog Woodworking
Montana

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Zubin,

I have used double sided duct tape to hold wood together while scroll sawing. It can be purchased at Lowes along with other places. I was cutting pen blanks taped together about an inch and a half thick, it seemed to also lubricate the blade as I didn't get any burnt cut with that thickness. Just put the tape on one piece and remove plastis backing and press the pieces together, seemed to work better if you clamp it and let it sit for a few minutes. The pieces can be pried apart with a putty knife.

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Harry - that is a big switch all at one time.  Good show, sir,e on your choices.  Hmmmmmm,  slowed the saw down and control the pushing to gain great control.  What a novel idea (BIG GRIN HERE).  Thanks for the input 

Harry Brink said:


This is going good Fred.



Between the new saw ( D/W788 ) and switching over to Flying Dutchman blades, it was just cutting way too fast! I switched to a U/R 1 blade and slowed the saw way down to try and control my cuts. Just pushing a little and it was off and running. I'm going to have to work on it some more to get everything under control.


I'd rather have this problem than what I put up with on my old saw!


Harry




Harry Brink
Bulldog Woodworking
Montana


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