I learned a great deal of respect for scroll saw artists last night - Update on 8/17/16

I’m looking into making a scroll saw bowl as a present to my wife for our anniversary. Tried an initial test run last night on soft pine wood, using a hand held Skil Saw.

Holy cow, the results were FAR from ideal, and I quickly learned that it truly requires skill and experience to make something beautiful…or even a straight cut!.

Granted, a hand held saw of course is a far cry from a true, stationary scroll saw, but it still is clear that it’s a skill, and not just a “trace the line” grammar school level affair.

I didn’t take pics yet of the awful result; maybe I’ll do that tonight, and we can all have a good chuckle…

I’ll be switching to my mill for this project; that should make things go much more smoothly.

Can’t wait for the GF to arrive, and make things like this a snap :slight_smile:


yeah, that’s right, a snap :slight_smile:

The tools change but the artistry is still required - the tools just raise the bar for what you want to do because now you can.


Oh absolutely agree…tools like the GF make it much easier to make our artistic imaginations now the only limiting factors…


And then there is the whole quality of tool issue as well. With a lot of concentration you can make stuff with a Craftsman* or Grizzly* scroll saw, you’ll do better with a $500 DeWalt`, but you won’t believe what you can do with a $1500 Hegner.

*Been there, done that
` Still doing that


LOL, check out how badly this came out. Free handing a skil saw with the piece clamped vertically in a vise is definitely not the best option…

I will update this thread once I make the final version on my mill; should be a night and day difference…


I’m sorry, but I have to really laugh. :grinning: It looks like something I would have made. :slight_smile: At least you have another option and I’ll look forward to seeing how nicely it comes out.


LOL, it’s ok; please DO laugh…I was chuckling at myself from about 5 seconds after starting, already knowing how it was going to go. But I figured let me just keep going, so at least I’d see how the piece would look overall in the end; height and width, if nothing else…

I’m figuring that I definitely need to make the pieces thinner in every regard…as in a slimmer piece of wood, say maybe 1/2 inch instead of 3/4, as well as more cuts per inch. Also going to change the shape, and add some design features (more on that once I complete the project; have lots of ideas floating around in my head).


I’m glad you have a good sense of humor…it will do well by you. Don’t get me wrong though…I’m glad to see ‘mishaps’ as well as masterpieces. It documents the process.


Freehand with a skil saw? That’s pretty good for control of that powerful of a tool that just wants to climb away from the cut!
You know, failure is an inherent component of success :wink:
That’s where we get the accumulated understanding that allows us to triumph :sunglasses:

One of those bowls is going to be an early project… In black walnut perhaps.


Not going to lie. I laughed. But in the most supportive way possible. :smile:


LOL, it’s all good…I’m still laughing at myself. Add making (hopefully) much improvement…

Got lots of ideas in my head…I will keep you all updated on my progress.

Speaking of… So far: I have a new design on paper; I’ve changed the shape, the number of layers, the thickness, and am considering an inlay (as opposed to a full covering).


Update, 8/17/16: Sooooo, I’m sure many of you have had projects go through similar growing pains…I’ll share mine.

I got the idea all printed out, got the materials all together, got the equipment all together…

Went through the steps of gluing wood pieces together, getting the design guide onto it, getting a way to hold it perfectly & also rotate it perfectly in the mill vice, got through all of the exhausting manual cuts…

Seemed to come out perfectly…

Pretty much all I had left to do was re-saw it on the band saw, to “release it” from the full plank, and then some “make it pretty” work.

Got it on the band saw, and carefully eased it forward…in 1.5 seconds, I quickly (and somewhat terrifyingly) learned that an octagonal piece is not the best shape to freehand re-saw. Blade caught it, rotated it down with what seemed like the speed of light, sounded off what seemed like a sonic boon, and sparks went flying in a starburst pattern.

Worst part of all: It ripped a big chunk out of the piece, and destroyed all of my hard work.

LOL. Live and learn.

I have not given up, though; I never really ever do! I will just start either with the final thickness that I actually want, or I will use a planer (instead of re-sawing). Just gotta be sure to glue a small piece at the front so that the usual planer gouge will not affect the final piece. Or maybe I just plane it from below and say “whatever” about the gouge.

Will keep y’all posted…


Really glad you weren’t injured! That could have gone so badly…


Yeah! I try to keep my fingers as far away as possible, and 8 inches should normally be enough, but with it rotating it could possibly have caught a finger & pulled it in / slapped it in…eeeeshk!

Meh, it would still hold an apple or two. I say not bad.

Not something to put on the mantle, but not incapable of being used as a bowl.

I’m a big fan of doing projects using tools in order of decreasing levels of potential destructiveness. That way if it goes wild it’s with rougher (and therefore less time consuming/finishing) work done on it. Power saws are on the upper end of the destructiveness scale and lasers are on the lower end (even if they can catch things on fire :slight_smile:).

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Could use one of these bad boys.

I’m very glad that you didn’t get injured! It is almost impossible to make a cut on an unsupported piece on a bandsaw, DAMHIKT. The good news is it is easy to overcome this. Just make a sled for the piece to ride on with a couple of support blocks glued and/or screwed, ( taking care that the screws aren’t in the path of the blade), to a thin piece of scrap or plywood to fill the empty spots ahead of and behind the piece to support it. Then you won’t have a death grip trying to saw it. (Make sure your blade guard isn’t set too high either, blades can sometimes whip out of the guides if they break.) For added safety and accuracy you can attach your piece to the sled with hot melt glue and remove it afterwards with a heat gun. :smiley: Safe sawing!


Nah, trust me, it was horrible looking, lol. I can’t wait to finish a good one…

So true, and I had thought about a sled, or some other way of securing it, but it’s normally such a smooth cutting saw that I never thought of it getting flipped down 'cause of the unsupported angle…expected it to be pretty easy going…man was I wrong!