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Old 01-03-2014, 02:50 PM   #1
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Default Basic question - scrollsaw or jigsaw?

I am working on a project in which I will be cutting out a phrase from a wooden board about 3.5 feet long by 8 inches high. (There are multiple boards, this is a poem, and will be backlit.) The letters will be about 2.5" high. This is not fine work, but I still would like it to look good.

I would appreciate some advice as to whether a scroll saw or jigsaw is more appropriate. I have some experience with a jigsaw, none with a scroll saw. One concern is that the board is far too long to fit into the throat of any saw I could reasonably buy, so I wonder about turning the board and/or blade.

Many thanks...

Andy
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Old 01-03-2014, 03:17 PM   #2
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You say multiple boards so the dimension is key. You can of course use a spiral blade and any length will work. I'd never try to do nice/fine work with a jig saw.
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Old 01-03-2014, 04:39 PM   #3
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I agree with Mike.....if you're really handy with a jigsaw (I'm not), you might do a decent job, but for a nicer result, you would be better off with a scrollsaw. The spiral blades will eliminate the need to worry about throat depth.

Another option would be to use your router. Here's an old thread of mine which might interest you, as the lettering I made for these signs was probably near the size of the ones you are making.

Duck Crossing Signs: Making Custom Router Templates With The Scrollsaw

If your intent is to go all the way through the board, however, I would just use the spirals.
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Old 01-03-2014, 05:01 PM   #4
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But if you do use spirals, practice a lot before you start the actual project. Any pressure will send the blade in that direction, and it takes a little while to learn how to steer it.

If the board is used in its full length, be sure you have adequate support on either side so you can move the wood easily.
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Old 01-03-2014, 06:10 PM   #5
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Hi Andy and welcome to the site. One thing you didn't mention was how thick each board is. Like everyone else said, spiral blades will do the trick.
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Old 01-03-2014, 06:25 PM   #6
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Not sure exactly what quality you are looking for but one option would be to cut the board into smaller peices that you could manipulate on scroll saw then glue back together on backer. his would allow you to also highlight letters by staining or painting backer to show through cutouts
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Old 01-04-2014, 03:12 AM   #7
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Also not sure the question is fair to the jigsaw...this being a scroll saw forum and all lol
I'm sure they'd say jigsaw over at the "jigsaw forum"

Anyway here is a pic of a project I cut completely with a jigsaw so it is possible to do finished work with it. Slow and steady and hold the line...just like scrollin :-)
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Last edited by jdooley; 01-04-2014 at 03:19 AM.
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Old 01-04-2014, 07:22 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdooley View Post
Also not sure the question is fair to the jigsaw...this being a scroll saw forum and all lol
I'm sure they'd say jigsaw over at the "jigsaw forum"

Anyway here is a pic of a project I cut completely with a jigsaw so it is possible to do finished work with it. Slow and steady and hold the line...just like scrollin :-)
Yep.

I have several very large Christmas Yard decorations I cut with a jigsaw. Not nearly as nice as I could've cut with a scroll saw...but for what they are, the Jigsaw worked just fine.

To Andy Daniel. I think we would need to more about your project before suggesting one over the other.
What is the purpose of this poem?
Where will it reside?
You say there are multiple boards. Not sure what you mean by that.
Are these words going to be connected or separate..are the letters going to be connected or separate?
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Old 01-04-2014, 10:14 AM   #9
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They have come a long way with Jig saw's and blades available ,I've got a high dollar one with thin fine tooth blades ,It will never achieve the detail of my scroll saw ,but it's amazing for larger work .The comparison from my original B&D is about the same as a sledge and a jewelers hammer .I wouldn't sell short a proper jig saw in experienced hands . Routing is another good option , Size ,shape ,thickness and detail required are most likely the actual determining factors in the choice of tool ,And we have not heard those yet !IMHO
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Old 01-10-2014, 01:24 AM   #10
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First of all thanks to all of you who have replied, this is clearly good advice. In answer to the most common question, I envision using 1/4" thick wood. This is for an artistic piece for an outdoor festival. I was not familiar with spiral blades so that does sound like a good idea, solving the throat depth problem. Thanks for the advice about supporting the entire piece, I guess I could build a table extension.

I do have a router, but yes I am going all the way through. The idea of cutting and then glueing the boards to a backing is also very interesting, or I guess I could nail them between two continuous strips of the same wood to produce the same effect.

To Jack: the art is just that, art. Each line of the poem is cut out from one piece of wood and they are hung one from the other. If a stanza has 5 lines, there are 5 3.5' pieces of wood hanging one from the other on steel wire. Each stanza hangs from a simple wood archway.

Is there some realistic wood thickness limit for spiral blades? In a few places I have identical panels to cut and thought of stacking them to save time.

Many thanks again,

Andy
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