Our club members periodically contribute hints and tips that they have found useful. We are sharing this information as well as other “how to” articles and links found by our members. We hope you find the woodworking information helpful in completing your project. Just click on the title to view, download the information, or visit the web site. Club members will continue to contribute articles and information for this web site page, so visit often.











Woodworking Projects

Shop and Safety Tips



Wood Puzzles for Kids and Grand Kids

Safety Hints



Making Name Badge with Stack Angle Cutting

Toxicity of Various Wood Species



Steps in An Intarsia Project

Frequently Asked Questions







About Woods




Finishing Techniques and Hints

Rick Shaw’s Scrollsaw Information Agent







Drill Bit to Blade Ratios




Blade Types and Uses








Wood Puzzles for Kids and Grand Kids



Plywood of varying thickness to 3/4 inch solid poplar are the woods of choice with the pieces cut as interior cuts with a back board glued to the puzzle frame. If pegs are added to the pieces, shaker pegs work well. Layered puzzles must be laid out so the upper puzzle does not interfere with removal of lower pieces. Cutting name puzzles with freehand drawn letters teaches the youngster dexterity if the same letter appears more than once and individual cuts are slightly different (i.e., they do not fit in each others spot). Paint color variation allows for learning colors.










Wood Toxicity



Woodworkers need to be aware of potential tropical woods’ toxicity, their qualities and toxicity of the sap. Black Walnut is an example of a wood that might cause problems for some people. Masks with carbon filter, air cleaners, respirators that filter all help. Other suggestions include a fan to blow the wood dust away from you. Other woods that have been known to cause problems when used over an extended period of time include Western Red Cedar and Oak. Oak and Black Walnut are both high in tannic acid.










Wood Finishing Techniques and Hints



  1. Suggested finishing books: “Understanding Wood Finishing” by Bob Flexner and “Finishes and Finishing Techniques” by Jeff Jewitt.
  2. Gloss lacquer is recommend as the base coat and then finish with a satin finish. When you finish using a spray can of lacquer, save the nozzle in case you get a bad one later that spatters. It’s nice to also have a fresh one on hand for your projects.
  3. Shellac is good to seal oily woods. Oil stains must dry before spraying lacquer or it will remain sticky.
  4. When spraying lacquer do so in multiple directions.
  5. Drying time for sprayed finishes require an air supply and a temperature of 60 - 70 degrees.
  6. Over spray will accumulate if you use a porcupine board or nail board to support the piece. This can be a fire hazard.
  7. Sealing wood will help the finish appear more even. You can also seal before staining. The more sealer the less stain will be absorbed by the wood. Spray or wipe-on or brush-on sealers are available. Shellac can be used too.







[Top of Page]



Blade Types, Uses and Hints



  1. Olson blades are a general purpose, inexpensive blade and are comparable to others.
  2. Flying Dutchmen blades represent a good premium quality blade, but for most work the less expensive Olson blades work fine.
  3. Precision Ground Blades (PGBs) have the tooth cut into the blade shaft and thus you do not have to turn the wood as much to cut a straight line.
  4. Most blades are stamped from wire and as a result the teeth point in one direction. This being the case, the wood must be at a slight angle to cut a straight line.
  5. Use the largest blade that will allow you do do what needs to be done. Remember the higher the number the larger the blade.
  6. The blade must be perpendicular to the scroll saw table. Teeth must point down since cutting occurs on the down stroke.
  7. Heat is the killer of a blade and sawdust must be cleared to avoid heating and burning.
  8. Reverse tooth blades. The real key to using these blades is positioning them in the blade clamp so that the reversed teeth do not come through the top of the piece or there will be a breakout on the top. This is particularly tricky with 1/8 inch wood. With hardwoods, reverse tooth blades can be a problem because the do not clear the saw duct well and your wood scares or “burns”.
  9. Before mounting a blade to the saw it should be cleaned to remove oil present from the original milling. You can sand each end so that the blade does not slip in the blade clamp.
  10. If a blade is slipping out of its upper or lower blade clamp, one or both clamps may need replacement.
  11. Jewelry blades are rated as small as ten-0.







[Top of Page]



Safety Hints



  1. Masks. From simple disposable paper dusk masks to respirators, MASKS MUST BE USED when spraying organic solvents. Many woods have oils and resins that can sensitize you and contribute to allergic, asthma-like reactions. YOU DO NOT WANT THIS TO HAPPEN! The “Dust Be Gone” mask available at specialty wood stores such as Woodcraft, come in three sizes. Even though it is expensive, they are good because they can be washed and it fits nicely over the nose, mouth and head, and does not contribute to glasses fogging if you wear glasses. With organic solvents you need a canister mask and the canisters must be changed when it is hard to breath or you can smell the solvent. If you can smell it you are breathing it.
  2. If you use porcupine board or nail board to support a piece dried over spray will accumulate. This can cause a fire hazard.










Frequently Asked Questions



  1. What can be done to prevent table top rust on my scroll saw? A good floor wax such as Johnsons applied to the table top will reduce rust. Rust can be removed with steel wood or light sand paper. Do not use wax containing silicon.
  2. What is the difference between wood called “Black Walnut” and just “Walnut”? Walnut typically refers to English Walnut which is more expensive and browner in color.
  3. What is the difference between fretwork and scrolling? Fretwork involves interior cuts.
  4. How difficult is it to cut Iron wood? Iron wood has a high degree of toxicity and it is a very hard wood which can cause blade wear during cutting.
  5. How do you resolve problems with light glare over taped patterns? Adjust the back leg(s) of the scroll saw to tip it forward slightly and that should eliminate the glare. Position a light to the side rather than relying on an overhead fluorescent light.
  6. How do you attach patterns to the wood? A glue stick (removable or permanent) purchased at any craft store works fine. A second option is to apply your pattern using 3Ms Adhesive Spray. Any residual pattern or glue will sand off easily.
  7. How can I stretch out the life of my blades? Before drilling, apply clear packaging tape over the pattern. This tape actually lubricates the blade as it cuts, increasing blade life and reducing burns on tight cutouts.
  8. Why does wood burn when cutting? Speed of the blade and sawdust build up will cause wood burn. On curves a dull blade and speed are the culprits. Reverse tooth blades do not clear saw dust as well as skip tooth blades and with thick wood you get burning as the sawdust builds up.
  9. What are my options for heating my work area? Radiant Heat heaters available at most hardware or home improvement stores work well. Even though they do not heat the space, they do heat you. Electric wall or space heaters can be plugged in near your work area. They are easy to move around with you should you need to move to another area of your work area. Forced air propane heaters are available but the room needs adequate venting because of carbon monoxide build up. Install a carbon monoxide monitor if you are going to use a propane heater in your work area.
  10. How can I avoid cold fingers from a cold scroll saw table and cold air from a duct blower? Use a swing arm lamp to literally warm the table and the air around the scroll saw.
  11. What is the best way to cut Plexiglas? Place duct tape on the underside of the Plexiglas. The Plexiglas dust will adhere to the duct tape making it easier to separate the cut pieces.










Drill Bit to Blade Ratios




Drill #



Fits Blades







9R-PGT, 7R, 9R, 5SP







7R-PGT, 7, 7D, 7MC







5R-PGT, 5D, 5R, 5MC







5, 2SP, 3JW







5MC, OSP, 4, 3D







2R, 2, 1D, 2/OSP, 1JW, 2JW







2/OR, O, 1D







3/0, 2/0, 1MC, (4/0,2/0,1/OJW)







[Top of Page]









Home  ~  Activity Calendar ~  Gallery  ~  Hints &Tips  ~  Resource Links


All Rights Reserved by Treasure Valley Scrollers or Individual Owner