I Learned How To Scroll Saw Today, What Did You Do?

To say I live in a remote part of Canada may be an understatement. The town I live in is approximately 500 people strong and a hair south of the arctic circle in the Northwest Territories. There are no permanent roads in or out, no coffee shops, no retail stores, no theatres, nada, nuthin’, zip, zilch. What’s a girl to do in a town like this?

I took up scroll sawing, natch.

A scroll saw is a craft tool used to create intricate and fine detail into thin pieces of wood. Those who are well practiced in this craft can literally turn blocks of wood into lace. I thought if I could learn to scroll saw, then I could stay busy AND force all my friends and family to display my ‘art.’

This is Gord. Gord has been scroll sawing for about 15 years and has graciously offered to teach me EVERYTHING he knows.  Gord is also from Newfoundland, which means that half of the time I don’t even know what he is saying, but he does tell me “good job b’y” which I think means I’m doing ok.

These lace beauties are the result of Gord’s handiwork. I’d say I feel pretty good about him as a teacher.

Because my roommates and I had just cut down our Christmas tree from the woods, I had ornaments on the brain. I found some free vector images of feathers on the internet and thought they’d be a good and easy first project. Some other tools that were needed, in addition to a scroll saw, were thin craft plywood, spray glue, stencil, scissors, and sandpaper.

The first thing I learned is, that because the wood is thin, it is much easier to saw through three pieces, plus you get three times the finished product with each cut (efficiency!). The three pieces of wood are taped around the entire perimeter to hold them together. The stencil of feathers is then roughly cut out and adhered to the board with spray glue.

I also learned the basics of using a scroll saw. It’s beautifully simple. A blade is held in between two pairs of clamps, as well, there is an on and off dial that rotates to adjust speed.

Before I was allowed to get at my feathers, I had to practice on nonsense shapes (wax on, wax off). Shown above are my feathers after they had been cut out and glued to the three pieces of craft plywood and placed on the scroll saw.

My feathers! Once they were cut, they were sanded down with 150 gauge sandpaper and an even finer 240 gauge sandpaper. Aren’t they bee-u-tee-ful? I still need to varnish them and figure out a way to hang them from the tree, but I’m very satisfied with the result to this point.

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12 Responses to I Learned How To Scroll Saw Today, What Did You Do?

  1. Midori Tanaka says:

    Amazing Deirdre!

  2. Rhonda Liss says:

    Hey Dee
    I am soooo proud of you.

  3. Henry Miyamoto says:

    Have I got some patterns for you!

  4. Karissa says:

    I’m so excited for you! Gord is my dad… He’s amazing at scroll sawing and I have to say I’m jealous because I would love for him to teach me! We live too far away from each other right now but maybe one day I will have a chance to learn as well! Glad you are enjoying scroll sawing!!!

  5. Amanda Gorton says:

    This is the COOLEST thing. I may not be in a town of 500, but I am totally going to see if anyone is doing this stuff in Davis. Impressive and awesome Dee

  6. Lisa says:

    Awesome work Deirdre! I’m impressed :)

  7. Karen Anthony says:

    Fabulous! You are one impressive chick!

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  9. Steven Liss says:

    You may not realize this but this is in your genes – not the first in the line of Liss’ that have been good with a saw or have saw-dust flowing through our veins. I do believe, however, you are the Jedi Master of the scroll saw! Zaida would be proud – as we all are.

  10. Leigha says:

    i’ve seen you have come a long way from feathers to bears!!! thanks dee, great article!!!!

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