Using a Scroll-saw by Paul Metcalfe

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


Examples of Scroll workExamples 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 workScroll 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 scroll-saw from Aldi costing £25 to give it a go! Watch this space.
Report by Gillian Smith

P.S. by  John Adamson

I watched this space and saw nothing.    One nugget of information I got from the talk was,  that the saw blades are stamped out of the metal, and that is the reason that they do not cut in line with the blade, but off to one side.


Covid Carving Suggestions

Now that Boris has dropped his Rule of Six bombshell, it is obvious that we will not be able to meet to carve for some time, so I thought that I would share with you some of my “On Holiday” carvings.    We go on walking holidays and often are carrying all our belongings in a rucksack from one night stop to the next.    This restricts  the weight of our stuff, so wear one and carry one of all items of clothing is a general rule, a half used tube of toothpaste, and no room for any carving tools except my trusted Opinel pocket knife.      I pick up small interesting bits of wood as I walk along.   They have to be pocket size, and suggest what might be carved.    I am not expecting you to go on a walking holiday during the Covid experience, but you might find interesting bits of wood when pruning trees or bushes.   You don’t need any special space for doing this, although a very accommodating partner is required if carving on a carpeted surface.   I have confused chamber maids in Abu Dhabi by carving in my hotel bed!!

Abstract Mother and Child in Vine wood

Bowing Man in Vine Wood


Woman in Vine Wood

Horse’s Head in Rotten Wood


Knobbly Head Wood Unknown

Warrior in Root of Unknown Wood


Dish – Wood Unknown

Woman doing Press up – Wood Unknown


Animal and Shell – Woods not known.

Sitting Fat Man – Wood Unknown






































































Abstract Mother and Child in Vine wood

17th Century New England carving

17 century carving

In March 2016 we watched a DVD on New England 17 Century carving by Peter Follansbee. This was a bit controversial, as at previous meetings, when this had been suggested members had stayed away.  The DVD was very clear and introduced a subject that we are unlikely to get a speaker for in this country.  The laying out and carving were simple and much done by eye.  It seems from later experiments that the eye and the hand had to have considerable experience of the processes involved for them to be done with such ease.

17 century carving 2

The work was carved on green oak that Peter split direct from the log rather than sawn.  The outside was allowed to dry but the inside was green.   This apparently gave a crisp edge to the cuts, but an easy ride for the gouge / chisel through the wood.  The curves were scribed with  a compass with a sharpened metal metal points on each leg.  Only 6 tools were used. Most work was done with a V tool.  This looked easy, but a skill that must a have taken lots of practice. The straight lines were scribed using a try square.  Any other elements relied on that eye again.

17 century carving 3

The little ) ( marks were made with two cuts of a gouge, again by eye.   It seemed that it did not matter what you did as long as you repeated the action in similar places in each pattern.   So a “mistake”, in that it was not what you originally intended, does not matter as long as you made the same “mistake” on each repetition of the pattern.  This felt wrong, but as long as you have not told anyone what it was going to look like, it does not matter.  In all it was a refreshing change to our current practice


Carving on Picnic Tables at the Memorial Park, Padiham 2012

The friends of the Memorial Park, Padiham asked us to carve something from nature on the ends of some new picnic tables












I saw this carving at the local rubbish tip and quickly grabbed it before it was thrown away. The thought of all that hard work that someone has put into this carving just for another to discard it because it needed a simple repair!
1 The following photos show how I went about the repair and returned it to its former glory. I hope you enjoy the transformation.










2. A simple levelling of the broken area for a good seamless join and use of a small biscuit joint was all I needed to glue on the piece of lime wood into the position, which I presumed was the original shape.











3. Having allowed the glue to set I went about carving the shape and correct thickness to make it appear as the other tail fin. My only other problem was, `how to disguise the grain` as it was running at 90 degrees to the dolphin carving to allow for strength.











4. After a good few hours of rubbing down with several grades of sand paper and with a little experimenting of colours and fine line painting to replicate the wood grain of the opposing tail fin, I managed to restore what was a dry, broken and tired carving of a pair of dolphins to its former glory. It now resides in my lounge on display for all to enjoy!





Some carvings by Phil Palmer

Here are a selection of work carved by Phil Palmer, our long suffering treasurer and my goto for answers about the club website.    I hope that they will inspire some one to have a go at something new.   If you want your work to displayed on the website, please send me pictures, title and wood used to

The Wizard, carved in basswood, acrylic paints

tulip lovespoon, carved in basswood

The happy wood spirit, carved in cherry











The Dragon, carved in Lime by Phil Palmer

Lovespoon carved in Lime











Riding the wave by Phil Palmer

Sunflower carved in Lime























Daily Journeys by John Adamson

This is my 4th attempt at this project over the last 20 years or so.    I started it when I was studying for a BA in Sculpture in Preston about 1997.     It was my answer to a one day’s brief of “Do something in plaster”.   Any one who has seen me at Saturday club meetings, and shows will have seen my 3rd attempt.    The idea is that a group of people, take the same bus morning and afternoon.    The day has changed how they feel and how they sit on their seat.     The  seats face one way in the morning, and the other way in the afternoon.   For easy comparison of their states of mind each person sits by the side of their morning / afternoon self.    I hope that make sense.    If not you will have to come and see it next time we have a meeting, whenever that is.

Daily Journeys 3rd Attempt








It had started to go wrong some time last year and I patched up what I could, but now have come to the conclusion that some problems were just not  fixable.  The problems stemmed from mistakes at the design / planning stage.    Because the sculpture was long and thin, and I had some lime of the right shape, I went right ahead and used it.      The grain runs  from left to right and the necks became a weak point.   When leaning on a figure to carve the next, the inevitable occurred, and heads fell off.     Then there was a problem with the seats.   I tried to take short cuts, as they seemed to be so easy to do: a saw cut down the back. and a drill under the seats to allow me to get the waste out easily.   Did not work out and I had to patch, and some were impossible.   For my 4th attempt,  I have the grain running vertically, and am carving 6 pairs of separate figures rather than 2 rows of 6.     Seems to have worked out so far.   Nothing has broken and the seats have been easier as the back can be done on a bandsaw.   The 3rd attempt may seem like a waste of time and wood, but I learnt a lot, and thinking positively I don’t have to think up a new project for the foreseeable future.

As they will be in the finished sculpture

Before the Yoga / Pilates class

After the yoga / Pilates class

















This a woman who attends a Yoga / Pilates class and has suffered.   The last pilates class I attended, I left in an ambulance with a dislocated shoulder.   I am told by Richard Colbran, that this is not the universal experience and that he felt better after the class.   The work has to have a final finishing cuts and a coat of polish, but that will have to wait till I have all 12 figures finished so that they can all be brought to the same standard.

Details of the individual figures follow

Before class





















Before Class

















Before class

















After class















After class

















After class














If Boris can have his bus art, there is no reason why I cannot have mine

Boris Bus Art


Carving a small plywood rocking horse made from a design by Judy F. Fergusson.

The horse is made from one 4ft by 4ft sheet of 9mm First Grade Finnish/Russian Birch Ply.

Pieces were cut out using a powered fretsaw/scrollsaw and then glued together to form the two halves of the horse and then both halves glued together to form the whole.

The glue used was Cascamite, also sold as Extramite and Polymite.

Once the glue had cured, shaping and carving was done using a Proxon longnecked angle grinder, fitted with a miniature carbatec cutting wheel, then a Black and Decker power sander and finally hand sanded, sealed and varnished.

The rockers were simply cut out of the same 9mm ply, using the power fretsaw, glued, screwed and pinned together.

Mane, tail and tack were obtained from Anthony Dew, the Rocking Horse Shop, Fangfoss, Yorkshire.

Murray Taylor visited the club on Thursday 18th July and talked about Chip Carving

Murray Taylor covered 3 topics, Chip Carving, Sharpening Knives,  and Lettering with a Knife.   There are no British books on chip carving but Murray hopes to remedy this in the near future, building on his articles in the Woodcarving magazine

Murray was aware that many of our members consider chip carving to be boring, and set out to prove that it was not just a pattern of triangles; it can do lots of interesting designs, lettering, and pictorial work.

All the equipment needed is:-a Pfeil chip  carving knife, a stabbing knife (don’t be worried – the blade is only 1?inch long), an ordinary ruler preferably with black markings on a white background, a T square, a mechanical pencil with 2B leads, a bow compass, a sharpening stone, a  strop, and wood.   Murray mainly uses Lime wood from the original Hobbies  shop .   Murray showed us his way of chip carving.   Accurate marking out is most important and he has designed a tool that  marks 4mm dots from which a grid can easily be produced.   A pyramid of 4mm is easier on the wrist than 5mm!!  He showed us taking out the standard triangular pyramids.  He has very strong arms and wrists from a life time as a manufacturing jeweller, but he showed us a way to apply extra pressure should we need it.

This is Murray’s travelling work bench. The holes can be used to trap the work
















Some examples of various patterns that Murray uses.

Some examples of various patterns that Murray uses.
















For more adventurous work Murray uses a knife like a pen
















The chip carving knife lends itself to various alphabets











All this work needs a sharp knife, and Murray showed us his way of doing it.  Although some knives are sold as ready sharpened, that do not come to his standards.  He recommends ceramic stones that do not wear so are always flat!!
















Carvings by Nick Pantelides

Nick has been a stalwart of the club for as long as I can remember.   He is generous with his knowledge, giving talks on a wide range of subjects from bone carving to Scandinavian flat knife carvings.   He is also willing to give members help and advice.   To see more of Nick’s carvings go to Galleries, click on Members carvings, then click on Nick’s name.   There are lots of carving by other members to be seen on the same Members Carving Gallery



Holly carved in Lime, height 8 inches by Nick Pantelides

Horse by Nick Pantelides










Churchill by Nick Pantelides

Man of the wood, carved in Lime, Height 14 inches by Nick Pantelides
















Fruit bowl carved in cherry, 15 inches wide by Nick Pantelides









Dimitria carved in Lime, height 15 inches by Nick Pantelides
















Dante carved in lime, height 14 inches by Nick Pantelides



















Black Forest Animal Carving by Nick Pantelides













Bison carved in Lime, 8 inches long by Nick Pantelides