My First Commissioned Scroll Saw Portrait

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Project by woodreamer posted 09-21-2017 06:01 AM 3910 views 1 time favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve done several scroll saw portraits for family and friends as gifts, and naturally the reactions are positive due to the circumstances. This was a commission, so I was a bit out of my comfort zone for obvious reasons.

The person sent me pictures of his grand-daughters which I created a pattern for using a variety of graphics programs. I’m always looking for the best method to achieve the results I need and every time I do one of these I discover another way.

I used Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and even some effects they now have in Microsoft Power Point. I finally got what I wanted after about 5-6 hours of trial and error. The challenging part, for those who have done this is to avoid the pattern having you cut out little islands of wood , or floaters, which will separate from the pattern.

Now the fun cutting the pattern. I used a stack of two 1/8 inch Baltic birch plywood taped together with blue painters tape which makes the removal of the patter easy, without glue residue – very important for not damaging the very delicate parts.

After finishing the cutting and cleaning up the loose wood fibers, I glued the wood to a black matte board from a framing store.
One thing to mention was that I found some excellent blades that I found really helped my control of the cutting.
These were the Pegas 2/0 modified geometry blades made in Switzerland. Some people use spiral blades but I am not comfortable with those.
The final sixe was 10×8 inches
Overall I was pleased with the result, Hopefully the guy I did it for will be as well
Thanks for watching

-- Bob, BC, Canada

15 comments so far

View Druid's profile


2205 posts in 3915 days

#1 posted 09-21-2017 06:56 AM

Not very easy to make, even once you have the pattern ready. Nicely done Bob. Hope your customer loves it.

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

View Boxguy's profile


2897 posts in 3387 days

#2 posted 09-21-2017 09:03 AM

Bob, this is an exercise in patience. Nice work. Commissions are tricky.

-- Big Al in IN

View recycle1943's profile


5486 posts in 2741 days

#3 posted 09-21-2017 10:42 AM

very, very nice ! it looks close enough to be a negative of the photo – outstanding

-- Dick, Malvern Ohio - my biggest fear is that when I die, my wife sells my toys for what I told her I paid for them

View mahdee's profile


4291 posts in 2887 days

#4 posted 09-21-2017 11:46 AM

Wonderful work. I am sure the customer will love it.


View shipwright's profile


8728 posts in 3917 days

#5 posted 09-21-2017 02:12 PM

Well done. I am sure you will have a happy customer.
Have you ever considered using two colors stacked? Then the “islands” aren’t a problem and creating the pattern becomes a lot easier. It is a marquetry technique but can be done just as well in thicker wood.
Just a suggestion, your work is great as is.


-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View Kelly's profile


3578 posts in 4063 days

#6 posted 09-21-2017 02:46 PM

This is a lot like what I used to have to do with glass etch, only harder. GREAT job.

View Ivan's profile


16848 posts in 3987 days

#7 posted 09-21-2017 03:16 PM

Pretty successful project. You have done great job with small details – not to broke them. Especialy letters on gril’s T-shirt on right side.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3986 days

#8 posted 09-21-2017 03:23 PM

You did a wonderful job on this portrait.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View ralbuck's profile


6745 posts in 3386 days

#9 posted 09-21-2017 03:38 PM

Great work.

Only scrollers really know how difficult that was!

-- Wood rescue is good for the environment and me! just rjR

View PaulDoug's profile


2569 posts in 2823 days

#10 posted 09-21-2017 03:42 PM

Being a scroller and not able to figure out the pattern making side, got to say you did a top notch job on both, pattern and cutting. I know of no way to improve on that. Your customer will be very happy indeed. Get ready for more work.

Have you tried Gimp for pattern making. I can’t figure it out but I know a lot of pattern makers use it for pictures and Inkscape for words. Both free software.

-- “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk

View ohwoodeye's profile


2643 posts in 4273 days

#11 posted 09-22-2017 03:04 PM

I would have to say this is a success.
well done.

-- "Fine Woodworking" is the name given to a project that takes 3 times longer than normal to finish because you used hand tools instead of power tools. ----Mike, Waukesha, WI

View woodreamer's profile


117 posts in 3813 days

#12 posted 09-22-2017 04:52 PM

Thanks to everyone for the great comments and compliments. Amazing! Its great to be a Lumberjock

-- Bob, BC, Canada

View papadan's profile


3584 posts in 4488 days

#13 posted 09-22-2017 05:23 PM

Really nice job, just too bad the picture wasn’t of them happy and smiling.

View toolfooldan's profile


67 posts in 2758 days

#14 posted 09-24-2017 11:08 AM

Very cool. Amazing result.

View LostRiverWoodcrafts's profile


49 posts in 1358 days

#15 posted 10-01-2017 03:07 AM

I’m going to be lazy and just say I agree with all of the above comments! Nice job

-- Greg, Tucson Az,

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