How to Cut Out Wood

How to Cut Out Wood

Below are the general directions on how to cut out wood and prepare it for finishing. You will need to use a scroll saw, a dremel, and sandpaper. I consider myself to be a novice woodworker, and do not offer advice on how to actually use the equipment necessary to complete these projects. I highly recommend you read the machines’ owner manuals to familiarize yourself with the equipment and safety. I’m learning as I go, trying to be as careful as possible, but would not even begin to try to teach someone how to do this stuff. I’m having this total tension issue with the saw blades on my jigsaw and keep breaking them. But I will get the hang of it, and I will get better 🙂

So, here’s the deal on the instructions. (Hmmm… think I’m giving a disclaimer!!!) Basically, I’m giving you the patterns that I have designed. I’ll tell you what I did, even share some lovely photos, BUT, this is not instructions on how to use the tools. I’m thoroughly enjoying woodworking, and finding it much easier than I thought it would be, and have been quite delightful results. But I am NOT an expert. You are working with power tools so PLEASE BE CAREFUL!

Most of our wood projects are cut from 1″ woods. I have used pine, popular, oak and maple. The harder the wood, the more durable the project, but harder it is to cut.

Tools and equipment:
scroll saw
fine sandpaper – I used a sponge sandpaper block
safety glasses
face mask
wide masking tape

1] Make copy of pattern. I then cover the pattern edges with wide packing tape. Cut out pattern pieces. The tape helps make the pattern pieces firm, reusable and easier to trace around.

2] Trace pattern pieces on wood. (You can either trace with or against grain. HINT: If you’re making multiple pieces, do them all the same to give a unified look to your project.)

3] Cut out the pieces using a scroll saw. NOTE: Check out the pics below. THEY ARE NOT PERFECT! See how I didn’t stay on line all the time! Unless doing a project that needs to fit together perfectly, like a puzzle, free standing wood work is an “ish” thing. They do not need to be exact to look great when you’re done!

4] Using the dremel, soften the edges by using the dremel at a 30 – 45 degree angle. Take the edges down enough so you can see the angle but be careful not to overdo it! (Which is easy with a dremel!) This does not need to be perfectly smooth. Imperfections give a lovely hand hewed look to the project! Make sure you are wearing safety glasses and a face mask. I didn’t use a face mask on my first project, and I was coughing up sawdust the rest of the day!

5] Use the dremel to lightly sand the flat edges, just enough to remove scroll saw marks.

6] Go over the whole piece with fine sandpaper by hand or with an electric sander.

7] The piece is now ready to finish.

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  1. Your blades are breaking because you have been using too much tension on them.
    Try plucking the blade so that it sounds like a .musical note. that sounds better..
    call me at 1-502-368-8879 and I will let you Joe Recktenwaldin on something that I saw on the internet today.

    1. Kimara

      Thanks for the suggestion, Joe. I’m sure it is one of those things that you get the feel of the more you do it. I’ve read about it but no one has explained the “pluck” tension. I will certainly give that a try on my next project. Thanks! ~Kimara~

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