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Old 11-26-2013, 09:40 AM   #1
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Default Making delicate cuts on small, thin pieces

Hi all,
New to the forum and the world of scroll sawing. I have done a couple of projects now
and was attempting to do a design that was a little more delicate in a couple of places but they snapped off.
I think it got snapped off due to me not being able to hold the piece down correctly as it was to small
(i was trying to cut a maple leaf on 6mm pine(1/4") and the stem of the leaf is what i failed to cut).
I was just wondering if anyone has any advice on how to cut smaller delicate pieces so the bits do not snap off.
is it better to stack cut these (I would assume so as it would give more support to the piece correct?)

any help appreciated
Cheers
Mark
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Old 11-26-2013, 09:51 AM   #2
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It would be great to have a pic of the piece you are working on. Lots of times small pieces on thin wood break because there is no support below. You sometimes can solve that by putting a second piece of wood under it so you in fact are cutting two pieces. Another reason pieces break is the saw insert hole is to big. If that is the case you need to make a zero tolerance insert. Basically I take a piece of 1/8th hardboard and drill a small 1/16th inch hole in it. Using 2 sided tape attach to the table so the small hole is in the center saw table of the insert opening.
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Last edited by NC Scroller; 11-26-2013 at 09:51 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 11-26-2013, 09:56 AM   #3
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Hi,
I will aim to get a picture up so you can see and I will get a picture of the base as well. I think I will have to make a zero tolerance base as i do have a fair gap around the blade.

Cheers
Mark
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Old 11-26-2013, 10:11 AM   #4
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1/4 material should have been fine as a standalone but you could still back it up with some crap 1/8 plywood. When I am doing fine detail I always have a fresh blade of a size appropriate for the detail. I use a lot of Olson 2/0 r blades.
I also plan my cutting so that the really delicate area has the most support. as an example the stem of the maple leaf, if that was at the end of the cut it was supporting the rest of the project. Another thing to consider is grain direction, if it ran along the stem it would be much stronger then cross grain, especially in pine. And last of all have super glue and an accelerator handy at all times.
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Old 11-26-2013, 10:14 AM   #5
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Hi Rolf,
Yeah that is something I will definitely keep in mind for next time about where the final cuts will happen as i think that played a part in what went wrong.
Mark
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Old 11-26-2013, 10:20 AM   #6
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Just had another thought. On some larger pieces I have put some of the cut outs back in place with some blue tape just to give a bit more support and keep things from moving around.
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Old 11-26-2013, 11:11 AM   #7
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ah ok Rolf maybe i will give that ago as well. Thanks for the feedback. I will be returning home shortly so i will be able to get a picture up to show you the size of the piece I was cutting and also the base I have.

Cheers
Mark
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Old 11-26-2013, 02:23 PM   #8
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Stack cutting helps, but it isn't a sure thing. I ruined all 4 pieces of a stack cut project once. Since I was cutting 4 layers of 1/8" BB ply, I was using a slightly larger blade than I would have normally. Being more aggressive and a little too big to easily make the tight turns in the pattern, it ended up catching during a spin, grabbing the wood and lifting the stack up off the table. It all happened in a split second and the result was a key piece of the pattern was broken and not readily repairable. I learned the lesson that it was better to go with shorter stacks and use the appropriate blade, rather than try to save time by stacking more and using too large of a blade, in order to cut faster. Also, it's key to make sure you have a good hold on the wood as you are spinning, so that if the blade does catch, it doesn't jerk it abruptly and damage the piece.

When doing detailed patterns with delicate/fragile areas, always scan the pattern thoroughly and plan your cutting sequence. Try to cut the fragile areas when there is the most supporting material around them. Sometimes just the pressure of the blade while cutting is enough to snap a delicate piece, if there isn't anything supporting it. In your example, I would probably make sure to finish the cut of the stem, where it attaches to the leaf, rather than out on the very end, where it isn't supported by anything. That's just one example. Not a hard & fast rule, because every pattern is different and offers it's own unique challenges, but it will give you a guideline to follow and hopefully help you avoid disaster.

Good luck and have fun making sawdust!
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Old 11-26-2013, 02:38 PM   #9
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Another thing to look at with your pattern placement is the grain of the wood. I do a lot of fine fretwork (jewelry, mostly) on 1/8in hardwoods, and the success of the fiddly bits can depend a lot on the grain direction. I've found that having the most delicate parts sort of diagonal to the grain works well most of the time.
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Old 11-26-2013, 02:41 PM   #10
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Hi bill thanks for the tips.

I have also attached an image of the piece i was trying to cut and the saw base


and also some of my other first attempts (still need painting but almost there)

Cheers
Mark
Attached Images
File Type: jpg WIN_20131126_192331.jpg (29.2 KB, 46 views)
File Type: jpg WIN_20131126_193724.jpg (26.2 KB, 47 views)
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