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Making Cuts

MAKING CUTS
Making some preliminary practice cuts is recommended until confidence is gained and various lines can be followed consistently. Patience and practice are the keys to developing sawing skills. For most projects the pattern provides thin cutting lines to follow. Try to cut directly on the line. Cutting too far to one side of the line may spoil the integrity of the design.


Use a suitable blade as dictated by the wood thickness, amount of cutting detail and sharp radius turns required. Do not attempt to get extra use from a dull blade. Immediately change to a new blade at the first signs of charring in the cut. Dull blades tend to wander from the line of cut and make inclined cuts that are not vertical. Avoid backing up and re cutting an inside line if you happen to wander away from the line of cut, as this causes untidy cutting results. Slow down the speed of your saw when cutting thin material or fragile parts in the pattern. Use a zero clearance insert to reduce the risk of breaking fragile parts. Use a piece of carton or a business card to make a zero clearance insert – drill a small blade entry hole in it and tape to your saw table with some masking tape. Allow the blade to do the cutting; do not apply too much feeding pressure by forcing the wood into the blade.


If you are right-handed, you will be more comfortable cutting with the largest portion of the work pieces to the right of your blade. Left-handers should work with the largest part of the work piece on the left side of the blade. Hand position is the most critical aspect of controlling your work piece. Do not put your hands at the edge of your work piece. Position them about an inch / 25 mm away from either side of the blade to control the wood movement. Keep your fingers away from the front of the scroll saw blade. All you need is a light touch to hold the wood; a white-knuckled hold only tires you out and makes the wood more difficult to turn. Note: thick wood needs to be held down much more firmly than thin wood.


Imagine that you are driving a car. You know you are headed into a sharp turn, and you reposition your hands in preparation. The same thing applies to the scroll saw. Think ahead. Unless you are sawing in a straight line, your hands should be constantly moving around the wood to better position yourself for the turns. Watch your hand movements. If you find yourself turning your body to control the movements of the work piece, stop and reposition yourself. If you notice when you turn that your entire arm is in front of the blade, stop! Always stand or sit directly in front of the machine for best control.


It is imperative to keep the blade moving when attempting to turn your work piece. At first you will have a tendency to stop the motor when going into a tight turn. This causes the wood to pick up and smash back down on the table. Keep the motor going, and listen to your machine. You should not hear any sawing noise when you make a 90-degree turn. Make the turn by putting your finger fairly close to the blade to allow the wood piece to “pivot” around the blade. When you cut out a circle, keep the feeding speed constant. If you continually stop and start as you make the turn, the finished edge will be choppy. 

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