Paul Metcalfe and his friend Martin from Red Rose Woodturners gave us a very interesting and informative talk on using a scrollsaw.

Paul Metcalfe at work Martin at work

They brought examples of their work for us to see – Solid models and some cut into puzzles.

Examples of Scroll work Examples of Scroll work

Patterns are easily available on the web and Paul recommended – These are free but a donation can be made to Help for Heroes.
Their “bible” for all their work is “The New Scroll Saw Handbook by Patrick Spierman published by Sterling Publishing Co. Inc. New York

Here are some of the hundred of tips that they gave us:
Hardwood is better than softwood;
Use only the best plywood (5mm) for smoother edges. They get theirs from C&W Berry Ltd Leyland Preston
The thinner the wood the smaller the blade especially if there are tight turns.
Check that the blade is at 90 degrees to the wood, and tension is tight but with a little give.
Bare wood with a drawing on can be used but they recommended using tape which apparently gives the blade lubrication.

Martin demonstrated cutting an eagle’s head out of 1/4″ maple wood – first he used spray mount glue to stick the pattern to the wood and then covered it with sellotape before cutting it with blade number 2 or 3.   On the other hand Paul liked using Frog Tape (he used the green colour.) He covered the wood with Frog Tape then spray mounted the pattern on top.     His demo was of a name plate (SHED) made in pine from an old bed. On the photo you can see the result of tilting the resting plate at 3.5  degrees and always cutting in an anticlockwise direction – this allows the cut out to be pushed upwards. If you cut clockwise the letter will be pushed down. (Spot the mistake in the photo where he made the centre of the letter D by cutting in the wrong direction.)

Scroll saw work Scroll saw work

They used a Hegna Machine costing about £350 but also favoured the dearer Excalibur. They make delicate items with these. If any of our
members only want one for roughing out before carving then a cheaper model will do.   Having heard this, I went home to get out my scrollsaw from Aldi costing £25 to give it a go! Watch this space.
Report by Gillian Smith