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Behind the Scenes

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image The filigree heart frame by John A. Nelson, cut and finished by David Penman.

I recently returned from the Dallas Scroll Saw Picnic. It was fascinating for me to meet potential authors in person.

I recently returned from Texas, where I gave a seminar on how to get published in Scroll Saw Woodworking & Crafts at the Dallas Scroll Saw Picnic. It was fascinating for me to meet potential authors in person. In today's digital age, I may work with an author for years and never meet them in person. While preparing for the seminar, I realized that finding good contributors is only half the battle.

Each article published in SSW&C requires behind-the-scenes work. Articles are edited and revised. Patterns are redrawn and tweaked. And projects are often cut, assembled, and finished by test cutters.

Sometimes great designs come from people who have never touched a scroll saw – a test cutter can take the artist's vision and bring it to life in wood. Test cutters also play a key part in trouble shooting complex projects and making sure the instructions are easy to follow. Often we come across an ingenious project that needs to be dressed up a bit to reach its full potential. Long-time test cutter Ben Fink was enlisted to create the executive versions of the Spypod and the Wooden Puzzle Vault. Both of these projects were amazing in their initial versions, but it was Ben's top-notch execution that gave them the cover-worthy status they deserved.

The first qualification of a test cutter is dependability. If a test cutter commits to having a project completed by a specific date, we expect them to follow through. Superior cutting skills are a must. The finished artwork must match the patterns exactly. Test cutters also need to be problem solvers. These woodworkers often adapt the pattern or change the technique to make it easier to cut and assemble. They also flag unclear instructions or errors in the article. Test cutters need the experience and skill to apply a variety of finishes to showcase the project in the best light.

As the magazine continues to grow, we need more test cutters. Luckily, we have the best resource around–our readers! Test cutters get a sneak preview of upcoming projects, and best of all, they get paid for what they love to do. If you are interested in becoming a test cutter for SSW&C, log on to www.scrollsawer.com and click the article attachment. Internet access is preferred, but not strictly required. The test project is the heart frame by John A. Nelson, which appeared in SSW&C Spring 2008 (Issue 30). Forward a good, clear photo of the completed project along with how much you would charge for your services to: Test Cutter Audition, c/o Scroll Saw Woodworking & Crafts, 1970 Broad St., East Petersburg, PA 17520, or email Duncan@foxchapelpublishing.com. Finalists will be asked to mail their completed project for closer examination. We're looking forward to adding several new test cutters to the magazine.


Bob Duncan
Technical Editor

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Author info
Bob Duncan Bob Duncan is the Technical Editor of Scroll Saw Woodworking & Crafts and Woodcarving Illustrated. more