I'm building an Army #4: 32 down

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Blog entry by Gianni posted 01-03-2015 11:57 PM 1634 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: aaaaand cutting, and cutting Part 4 of I'm building an Army series Part 5: Drilling, Drilling, Drilling »

Well, I finished scrolling out the pieces. I wanted to start with the pieces and not the board for fear that my patience would wane and I’d never finish. I also wanted to “hit it hard” while I still had some enthusiasm for the project, so despite a nasty cold and a bad cough, I’ve been strapping on the respirator and giving it my best.

While the initial pattern called for a diagonal notch in the base, cutting it with the scrollsaw and having the sides approximate any sort of alignment turned out to be impossible. Fortunately I realized it after the first piece and switched up to just putting a saw kerf around the base with the table saw using a stop in my crosscut sled. This had its own problems, as the blade wanted to chip out the walnut badly. Even though they are all now cut, a lot of them are missing little corner chunks that I don’t have a good way to repair. I am thinking maybe generating a little router tsble sled and a v-bit might cover it up (or with my luck, make it worse) but I have a few days to mull that over.

The biggest surprise was the inconsistency of the saw blades. I’d lock one in and cut for hours no problems, but when that one started to dull, I could pull one from the same pack that wouldn’t cut worth a hoot. One piece later I’d be changing it out again, and another crapshoot as to how the new blade would cut. Halfway through the last piece, I hit another winner, and that went about 4x faster than the four previous pieces with no burning at all. Wierd – these are name brand blades (Olson), I suppose it could be some subtle thing with how it’s aligned in the bottom brace or tension, but I’d swear everything was consistent and some just plain cut better.

I did figure out my squaring problem, the anchor bolt for the table had vibrated the nylon lock nut loose. Once I tightened that, the blade stayed square for the remainder of the pieces. Better late than never, I guess.

And now, two armies face off across a field of…. Of… Of… Well, damn. I guess it’s time to start considering what I want to do for a board while I am doing finishing touches like mucking with the base design and adding weights, sanding (what I do, anyway) and finishing the pieces.

A few things about the design. I really, really like how almost everything turned out… Almost…

The rooks are probably my favorite pieces.

Followed closely by the bishops.

The pawns have a cool, sturdy look to them.

The kings are decent.

The knights are cool, but I would consider re-doing the design with an open frame and maybe a bit more geometric like the other pieces, just because they are the only “curvy” pieces.

I am not really thrilled with the queens. They are ok, but the crowns are a bit clunky. We’ll see if they grow on me the next couple of days.

In the meantime, I am brainstorming board ideas. Right now I am thinking maybe marble tiles in a mahogany frame, just because I picked up some mahogany while visiting the in laws last week and have never worked with it.

2 comments so far

View AandCstyle's profile


3219 posts in 2735 days

#1 posted 01-04-2015 01:06 AM

Gianni, I recently had the opportunity to try scrolling for the first time. I am in awe of your abilities. I can’t wait to see the pix of the finished project(s). As a minor quibble, you really built 2 armies. :)

-- Art

View Gianni's profile


232 posts in 2452 days

#2 posted 01-04-2015 12:07 PM

Good point!

The scroll saw is one of my favorite tools. Many projects are only a couple of hours start to finish, and give a great sense of both progress and accomplishment. It also allows you to make little detail pieces for other larger projects that make them unique and a little over the top.

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