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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had started a project many years ago using a router and a jig I made to make clock gears. for some reason I stopped and all the equipment was stored away. I've developed some health problems and decided this was a good time to restart that old project but I've run into a problem. Trying to cut the very small gears on my jig with a router is troublesome and I just got a new book on making wood gears and it is based on using a scroll saw. It said to make exact size copies of all the gears to be made, use spray-on contact adhesive and put the copies of the gears on the wood and just follow the lines. Sounds simple enough but I have never really used the scroll saw I have so I'm not clear on a lot of things and the book does not go into great detain on the use of a scroll saw. I have an old Dremel model 1671 type 3 scroll saw that uses 5" pin blades and the attachments that allow me to use unpinned blades. I ordered pinned blades that are 15 TPI and described as for making tight radius cutting. I have no idea as to how tight I need to make the blade and for a beginner should I use the low speed or high speed? Is there a better blade I should use? The book said that if I didn't feel confident with cutting on the lines then cut just on the outer edge and clean up with a file or sand paper. Do you think I can just cut a square of wood, attack the gear drawing and be able to cut the gear teeth or do I need to cut the wood close to the correct size and then use the scroll saw.

With the router jig I had to cut the gear blanks to the correct size circle, lock the blank to the jig and use the router with a bushing guide along a guide ramp and cut each tooth then rotate the correct amount set by the jig and cut the next. This worked great for the larger gears but getting down to gears that are less than 2" in diameter was a problem. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
 

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rough out the gear really close...
attach the blank to the template..
use a burr to clean up the blank..

.
 

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Paul
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I guess you've probably seen Mathias' site: https://woodgears.ca If I recall correctly he uses a band saw but there's probably a lot of useful info, including his gear template generator.

I believe there should only be X amount of teeth in your wood blank. It's no good if the sawdust is trapped in the cut. The non-pin blades might have more types available. On thicker wood a skip-tooth blade might be better. There's also blades (crown-tooth) or (reverse skip-tooth) that have the teeth going in opposite directions on either side of your material - that helps reduce tear-out.

I think that I would cut a circle for the top of the teeth, then cut them. Drilling the booth bottoms might help... then cut into your drilled holes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I guess you've probably seen Mathias' site: https://woodgears.ca If I recall correctly he uses a band saw but there's probably a lot of useful info, including his gear template generator.

I believe there should only be X amount of teeth in your wood blank. It's no good if the sawdust is trapped in the cut. The non-pin blades might have more types available. On thicker wood a skip-tooth blade might be better. There's also blades (crown-tooth) or (reverse skip-tooth) that have the teeth going in opposite directions on either side of your material - that helps reduce tear-out.

I think that I would cut a circle for the top of the teeth, then cut them. Drilling the booth bottoms might help... then cut into your drilled holes.
That is a really nice website and thanks for that. Also, some of the gear work was done by drilling the base of the gear slot an then using the either a scroll saw or band saw to remove the material to the drilled hole. Suddenly I see this getting easier and maybe after all these years I will finish this wood gear clock.

Thanks for all the replies and help,
Charlie
 

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Doug
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The best advice I can give for cutting on the scroll saw is crank up the tension on the blade.
You can pluck the blade and listen for a high note like they say in the books, but I crank it up and watch my practice cuts. If the blade deflects much at all, it needs more tension. If the blade brakes, too much.

Let the saw cut, don't force it or the edges will not be square.

Try a couple of different types of blades, reverse, skip tooth, crown, and see what works.

If you struggle at first, just play around with #5 reverse and get a feel for the saw, then drop down to a #3 if you are needing a finer blade.

Good light on the table, a small fan to blow the dust away, and a magnifying glass if needed makes a more comfortable work environment.

The #2 mistake (after low blade tension) is sticking with a blade too long. Trying to sneak 5 extra minutes out of a blade that is getting dull can ruin a project. If you find yourself fighting the saw, try a fresh blade.

Take breaks when you get frustrated, and remember it's supposed to be fun.

Can't wait to see some finished projects posted
 

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Hi Charlie

It might be worth having a look at Steve Goods website Scrollsaw Workshop, he has a lot of tips in his blog and while they might take a little digging to find the relevant bits he also has a youtube channel (links on his blog page) and if you look down the left side there is also scrollsaw school, a set of 9 videos for beginners.

Mark
 

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I have a Hegner Scroll saw that I picked up a few years ago. It is a great saw but I did not have it properly secured and it made terrible cuts. I bought their three sided stand and that made all the difference. Before the Hegner I had a Dremel saw. I thought it was a piece of junk but after bolting it to the bench it was a pretty descent saw. If you are going to make clock gears you need a smaller blade like a #2. It is a thin blade and I like the reverse teeth at the bottom. As noted earlier get your tension up and it will cut straight. If you start wandering off your line you need to check the tension. When you first put a blade on let the machine run about 5 minutes. There is a lot of stretch in scroll saw blades. After letting run for 5 minutes you can start sawing. You will still need to check tension several times in the first ten minutes of cutting. If you are breaking blades you are pushing the work sideways and the blade gets stressed and breaks. When you are sawing correctly blades seldom break. If you have not scrolled for a while I suggest getting a LED Magnifying lamp to put over the work. It really helps you keep on the line. Even if you do not have a magnifier get good light over your work area.

I use spray adhesive to attach my patterns. Then I put clear packing tape over the pattern. The tape has a lubricant on the surface that keeps the sticky side of the tape from sticking to the top of the tape above it on the roll. This helps keep the blade lubed and working well. When finished I peel off the tape and put mineral spirits on the paper pattern and let it sit about 5 minutes and the pattern peels right off. I use very thick paper for my patterns and it seems to hold up better than regular copier paper.

I saw on the American Woodworker PBS Program the other day a scroll project he and his wife did. They put drawer contact paper on the project and then glued the pattern on. The procedure made it really easy to get the pattern off. I have not tried this but it is probably similar to the tape because the paper has the lube of the plastic in it.

Good Luck, Happy Scrolling.
 

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Doug
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I think the best place to start when you want any type of information is Youtube.
The best place to learn the right way and the wrong way, unfortunately.....

However, I will say sites like Steve Good and Sterling Davis are great sources for info on the scroll saw. Also the Gwinett Woodworkers https://www.youtube.com/user/gwinnettwoodworkers are a fantastic resource as well.

If you are close to a Woodcraft store, they often have great classes for various levels https://www.woodcraft.com/stores/washington-dc-area/classes Classes vary from month to month. My youngest took a pen turning, and my brother and his significant other did the 'date night' and he did the scrolling level 1 by his lonesome. They were definitely worth the price of admission.
 

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Thanks for reminding me about youtube! I've seen good things there and bad things there so I always keep that in mind when I watch them.
and if you lack the experience to tell the difference from good and bad???
what then??
new unsafe bad habits???...
 

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I've done so much scroll work it would make your hair curl lol. first is use the attachment for the pin less blades, depending on how thick your wood is is what size blae you use, so 1/2 in I'd go with #5 or less blade, the lower the finer work you can do, but #5 should be good for gears, get one of those magnified light things, help a LOT to see your lines. Use the clamp thing to keep the wood on the table if your saw has one, keeps the wood from chattering , also use reverse tooth, helps with less sanding. try different blades and sizes till you find the ones you like. The pin less will help with any fret work you do on your gears, pain getting the pin through any hole you drilled. go slow at first and keep the machine at about half speed or more, the slower it goes the more it chatters unless you use super fine blades.
I use the dewalt 20 inch scroll saw, mid range. not to expensive but a nice machine.
Oh make sure your table is square to the blade so have a small square available.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I've done so much scroll work it would make your hair curl lol. first is use the attachment for the pin less blades, depending on how thick your wood is is what size blae you use, so 1/2 in I'd go with #5 or less blade, the lower the finer work you can do, but #5 should be good for gears, get one of those magnified light things, help a LOT to see your lines. Use the clamp thing to keep the wood on the table if your saw has one, keeps the wood from chattering , also use reverse tooth, helps with less sanding. try different blades and sizes till you find the ones you like. The pin less will help with any fret work you do on your gears, pain getting the pin through any hole you drilled. go slow at first and keep the machine at about half speed or more, the slower it goes the more it chatters unless you use super fine blades.
I use the dewalt 20 inch scroll saw, mid range. not to expensive but a nice machine.
Oh make sure your table is square to the blade so have a small square available.
I'm new to this scroll saw stuff so please go easy on me -- when you said "20" scroll saw" all I could think of was a scroll saw with a 20" long blade! What is the 20" measurement for? Is it the table size?
 

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table size...
 

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Mike
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I'm new to this scroll saw stuff so please go easy on me -- when you said "20" scroll saw" all I could think of was a scroll saw with a 20" long blade! What is the 20" measurement for? Is it the table size?
It is the throat depth front back to the blade. 20" saw will cut to the center of a 40" piece
 

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Before you buy any scroll saw try to change the blade. I had a Delta once that within the first 30 minutes the blade came off and in an attempt to get it back on messed up the thing with the lever on it that you use to hold the blade in. I had to take it in under warranty to get it fixed. After that, it came off numerous times. I unloaded the saw and never looked at a Delta again.
 
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