Alligator and Grasshopper

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Blog entry by Allison posted 07-22-2008 01:46 AM 1875 reads 1 time favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is the plate of my Scroll saw. What I am going to do for this project is I am going to cover it with a couple sheets of white paper and a playing card. I have a couple of reasons for this. First is I don’t want any small pieces I will be cutting to fall through. Which in actuality there is not small pieces per say, rather the little ends of the “puzzle pieces” . The tabs that I do not want to break…..
So this is now taped on the scroll saw table just for this project .
Now you can see where I placed a small hole to feed my blade through.The reasoning behind the card and not just paper is, it is a waxed card and therefore a little more supportive. I will “hear”and or “feel” if I feed the wood to fast and hit the card. With these puzzles I will try to explain how important it is to have your blade square and your table level .
So I am now “leveling” my table. Besides the fact that this particular scroll saw has a tilting table and because of the wear and tear I have laid on this particular saw I have to make double sure that it is level and it is going to stay that way!
Then this is the way I square it. Believe it or not I use a real square all the time but the hubby has them all down in the basement he is working on. LOL!!

Anyway the blade for these puzzles has got to be square. Just picture making a puzzle without the table being level and square. If you are not cutting square then your puzzle pieces will not go together (as in from the top and bottom) any slight miss-cut will keep them from going together. The same with it being level, if it is not level than you also will have problems getting the pieces to go back together. Believe it or not just the a hair of difference can make a HUGE impact on whether these pieces will fit together correctly. but I am cutting these out of 1 inch green poplar because I have made both of these before a couple times and if the wood is thick enough than you don’t need to hang them or place them on a mount of any sort, because they will stand on their own. I personally LOVE these patterns.They have wildlife , birds, domestic animals, and all sorts of other wood puzzle patterns, along with tons of patterns that ARE NOT puzzles.You can find them here.

Scroller LTD


This is the beginning of my tutorial of cutting puzzles and here are the two I am making. An alligator and a grasshopper.
As you can see I have placed packing tape on top of the wood first. Then I use spray adhesive to place the puzzle patterns on TOP of the packing tape. I used a 1/16 and a 1/8 drill bit for my starter holes. It may also look as if I am wasting a big piece of wood, but I am not, because I mainly do intarsia and with intarsia there is not a whole lot that of wood that will be wasted and I do make a lot of trees and such out of green poplar.Also to be able to hold on to a bigger chunk of wood is easier to cut when it comes to making these puzzles or (anything little for that matter) I don’t quite understand this wood as it does not feel like a hard wood going through my bandsaw or scroll saw but it seems to burn quicker than any wood I have worked with so far. That is why the packaging tape is a must do (in my opinion) for this type of wood.

-- Allison, Northeastern Ca. Remember, Amateurs built the Ark. Professionals built the Titanic!

2 comments so far

View Betsy's profile


3392 posts in 4400 days

#1 posted 07-22-2008 02:55 AM

Allison – great start on your blog. I’m looking forward to following it. Great detail is always a plus.

Did you know that you can get playing cards much bigger than the one you have? I’ve used the larger ones the way you are using it. The larger surfaces keeps things from the slightest bit of tilt. The one problem with the bigger cards though is that they have a tendency to bow in the middle – so you have to use a bit of spray glue to get them to stay down. But the glue cleans up easy enough and the flat surface out weighs the clean up needed.

It’s been a long time since I’ve done a puzzle on the scroll saw – maybe this will inspire me to do so.

Looking forward to your posts.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View unknownwoodworker's profile


221 posts in 4208 days

#2 posted 07-22-2008 06:09 PM

Thanks for the info little lady. I will be reading them all as they come out hot off the presses.

-- ??? My mistakes heat the house. It's very warm in here. ???

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