Ruining the skirts (NOT!)

Yesterday wasn’t terribly productive in terms of how much I got done, perhaps just slightly ahead of “watching paint dry”, but I’m happy with how things are coming out.  It was about 85 degrees outside, and my wood shop feels like it’s ten degrees hotter than outside.  It’s weird, because the other building where I have my metalworking junk is probably 10 degrees cooler than outside.  Maybe I should only do metalwork in the summer…

I decided to do a little more scroll saw practice, but after a couple of cuts I decided that I was good enough on the shallow curves, and that the tight curves were too unpredictable.  The really tight turns also seemed to show up mistakes more, and if I got off the mark it was harder to correct.  So I did the only reasonable thing — I changed my design to avoid the tight turns.

Not by much, mind you.  I just changed the radius on the really tight turns to be a standard fractional drill size so I could drill out the ends and concentrate on connecting the lines in between.  I had to scale up the piercing a bit to make it look right, but I think it’s good.  I printed out my templates, and headed out to the shop.  Here’s how it went down:

First, I laid down blue tape on the wood.  I discovered that the “Super 77” spray adhesive I’m using is just too sticky and it makes a mess getting it off of the wood.  This way the pattern sticks to the tape instead and the whole mess just peels right off when I’m done.

Lay down blue tape to prevent the spray adhesive from gumming up the wood.  Strike a center line on the part.

Lay down blue tape to prevent the spray adhesive from gumming up the wood. Strike a center line on the part.

You can just see the centerline I laid out on the tape, I carried this over the top edge of the wood so I could use it to align the pattern with a “tape hinge”.

Pattern lined up on the center mark and hinged with more blue tape

Pattern lined up on the center mark and hinged with more blue tape

I included center marks on the new pattern so I could accurately drop in the drill locations.  This is going to be like shooting fish in a barrel.

Pattern glued down, hole locations centers marked with an awl

Pattern glued down, hole locations centers marked with an awl

Then I drilled the holes for the ends of the design elements.  For the “Star Trek Communicator” shapes I just drilled a 1/8″ pilot hole, far enough away from the line so I could nibble away the waste and start exactly on the line.  I thought about dropping in a tangent circle at the tightest point in the arc for another drill but decided I could cut that without panicking.  I think I will do that for the other skirt though.

Holes drilled to create the end arcs in the design.  I used fresh brad point bits with a backer board to prevent splintering on the reverse side.

Holes drilled to create the end arcs in the design. I used fresh brad point bits with a backer board to prevent splintering on the reverse side.

I’m using a “#5 Flying Dutchman Ultra Reverse” blade, high enough blade tension that the blade makes a nice high pitched “twang” when plucked and a relatively low blade speed — maybe 1/3 of the maximum speed.  I’m also wearing a #5 Optivisor so I can see the line and going relatively slowly, maybe half the speed I could theoretically push the board through the saw.  Seems to work.

Initial shapes cut out

Initial shapes cut out

End shapes cut

End shapes cut

The cuts aren’t perfect but they aren’t far off either.  There are a couple of little burs where I transitioned between the drilled holes and the sawn areas, but they are all undercuts (e.g. I left a little extra material instead of cutting outside of the line, or over cutting).  There are a couple of little undulations as I sawed slightly to one side of the line — I tried to split the line, or cut to the inside of it, but this difference is just barely visible.  I can clean all of this up with just a little sanding.

One skirt done, three more to do

One skirt done, three more to do

I’ll see if I can get an hour in the shop tonight and saw the matching skirt like this one.  I already updated the pattern for the other skirt to add the tangent holes for the ends of the design.  That design is significantly simpler too, it should be less challenging to cut.  A little file and sandpaper should smooth out the piercings nicely, then I need to figure out how to round over the edges.  I can do it with sandpaper I know — and probably will, as I want sort of an organic rounded shape anyway.

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2 thoughts on “Ruining the skirts (NOT!)

  1. This set looks good. I really can’t see much of a difference between this one and the first one. You also did a much better job on the two outside designs. The points are sharp and well defined on this these.

  2. Thanks Ralph. This one is much cleaner then the practice pieces I did, and I can see myself getting the other parts knocked out in an hour or so of focussed work. Hopefully it will cool off, my wife just told me it was 94 outside yesterday, which explains why I was inside in the air conditioning most of the afternoon. She said it’s going to cool off later in the week, so fingers crossed.

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