I was in the frame of mind for a computer design session, and Tom was in the mood for a scroll saw project . . . it led to a great addition to our Airstream trappings.
This sort of sign is different than the usual scroll saw cutouts where the letters are cut OUT – instead, all of the space around the letters is cut out. As I quickly discovered, this meant that the letters themselves and any sort of design would need to be firmly anchored when planning the drawing. The choice and shape of this font, along with the addition of the line above and below just fit the bill. The scrolls also had several touch-points that fit into the design to offer stability. Tom thought the drawing would be feasible, so he . . . set to work.
My final step was to print the sign in the size that I needed. Because the design was longer than a single sheet of paper, I had to print it on two pieces of paper and paste it together. Giving it to Tom, I was done . . . except for encouragement . . . and blog documentation!
Tom’s first step was to the cut the board the size needed for the project. He choose a ¼” board of Maple and used spray glue to adhere the paper design to the face. Then he used clear packaging tape to cover the whole front of the board. Believe it or not, the packaging tape helps to lubricate the saw blade!
The whole covered board disappeared to the basement where Tom drilled access holes for the saw blade in every piece of the design that was to be removed.
After that, it is just a lot of tedious, close-up, bending-over, detail work of following the pattern to cut away the unwanted wood. Tom mostly uses a skip-tooth blade for straight and circular cuts, but sometimes has to use a 360 degree blade that cuts in all directions for very small spaces. His scroll saw is set up in the garage where the light is good on a sunny day and the dust is easily swept away. However, during this project he learned that cold hands (temps in the 30’s and 40’s) could really slow him down . . . he had to keep coming in to warm them up! This meant that his progress was in lots of short attacks – not a continuous long siege. Here are some pictures of his progress.
At this point, SILVERMINE stands out in full relief, and Tom has only the areas around the scrolls to cut away. His worry was that it would be so thin and fragile, a piece might break off. He removed it from the saw, posed for a picture, and changed the blade, ready to start on the background cuts.
The final task was to cut away the wood around the details of the scrolls that anchored the letters to the frame. This was some of the most tedious cutting of the whole project. When done, Tom removed the project from the saw and gently pulled away his paper/tape guide. After a bit of gentle sanding, he posed for another picture.
At this point the sign is ready for several layers of clear-coat finish. Then, we will decide where to hang it inside the Silvermine. My biggest fear is that, now that I know what Tom can do. . . I will keep him busy with future scroll cut-out designs!
We don’t go camping any more . . . we go ‘streamin’ ! The “SIlvermine and His” is our 2016 23' Airstream, and ‘streamin’ is the name we use to describe our adventures. Stream along as we document everything from weekend trips to longer summer excursions and full-blown vacations. You know what they say: if you’re not in an Airstream – you’re just camping!
Tom & Ella Brown