Wavy Ribbon

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Project by SawTooth1953 posted 05-11-2012 04:46 AM 4655 views 26 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My project was influenced by the renowned woodturner, Malcom Tibbetts. He used a lathe and bandsaw while I used only the scroll saw. He made 3 identical bowls using stave construction… I used the “bowl from a board” procedure and, in order to avoid using a band saw, I made 6 half-bowls.
The first 4 pics show different views of the project. The 5th shows the half-circle jig I used and the 6th pic shows plywood rectangles cut for 6 half-bowls used to make a project like this.

-- Spence in Skokie, IL

15 comments so far

View Hawaiilad's profile


3374 posts in 3415 days

#1 posted 05-11-2012 08:54 AM

Spence I have seen your work of art on other sites, and as a fellow scroller and bowl cutter, I would like a bit more info on your process. I don’t understand your half circle jig. This is a very lovely piece of art.

-- Larry in Hawaii,

View joev3's profile


15 posts in 2624 days

#2 posted 05-11-2012 12:27 PM

I like your one board approach to create the bowls, very nice configuration, “nice work”

View SawTooth1953's profile


339 posts in 3700 days

#3 posted 05-11-2012 02:40 PM

Larry, If you’ve ever seen a circle jig for a band saw, I used the same principle… a fixed base of 1/8” Hrd brd (secured for zero wiggle to the scroll saw table (using CA glue on scap wood blocks to the underside, around the perimeter of the saw table). Then 3/16” Hrd brd sliding base: cut 1” strip from right and left sides (on table saw) to be the guide strips.

You need the sliding base to slide perpendicular to the upper arm and you want a pivot point in line with the scroll saw blade: Make a line on the fixed base parallel to the central axis of the saw, using the upper arm and a right triangle. Make a line perpendicular to that at the front of the fixed base and glue the right side guide strip down. Position the wide sliding base and then glue down the left guide strip… You now have a wide base that slides perpendicular to the saw arm and to the blade’s teeth.

Mark on the fixed base where you need a hole for the blade, make the hole, insert a blade, and mark on the sliding base where you need a slot that would allow the base to slide forward and back to adjust the distance from a pivot point to the blade. (Pivot point isn’t there, yet.). Cut the slot using the scroll saw.

Put the fixed base down, put the sliding base in position, attach a blade and mark perpendicular to the saw axis and in line with the blade’s teeth for locating the pivot.

I wanted to use eye screws in the stock as the center of my rotation and I wanted a machine screw as the pivot, therefore, I shopped for a reasonable size eyescrew and a machine screw and nut so there was no slop between the eye and the screw… and I drilled for the nut and epoxied it into the sliding base at a distance that enabled a max. radius of 4”.

See the 5th pic, which shows everything… that view is from the side of the saw and the table tilted to 45 degrees… a plywood blank (4” x 7.5”) w/eyescrew is shown before making the first cut. In tilting the table, I found that the initial blade hole needed to be expanded quite a bit. Spiral blades work well… flat blades did not.

Note that I cut a notch in each plywood blank before inserting eyescrew… the goal is to get the center of the eye even with the edge of the board so that the edge is the diameter of a circle and the pivot is at circle’s center. Also, that edge of the plywood will be half of a glue joint, so it is sanded flat and smooth on the belt sander.

Even though you’d think that the endgrain to endgrain joints are weak, and I guess they are… they’ve held up fine through the sanding/shaping process… not one failed in the 3 projects I’ve completed. (I used Titebond III)

-- Spence in Skokie, IL

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3412 days

#4 posted 05-11-2012 04:56 PM

Thanks for posting and the information on how to do this. This intrigues me too.

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View SASmith               's profile


1850 posts in 3381 days

#5 posted 05-11-2012 06:44 PM

Wonderful sculpture.
I will have to try this.
Thanks for sharing.

-- Scott Smith, Southern Illinois

View Philip's profile


1277 posts in 2933 days

#6 posted 05-12-2012 03:38 AM

That is amazing. Well done.

-- I never finish anyth

View tomd's profile


2205 posts in 4164 days

#7 posted 05-12-2012 04:03 AM

Very nice work and using ply is quite unique. Your ribbon turning is beautiful and intruging. Thanks for showing.

-- Tom D

View SawTooth1953's profile


339 posts in 3700 days

#8 posted 05-12-2012 04:53 AM

I posted a “cousin” of this project… an “Orb” that I made using the same pivoting jig on the scroll saw. It was made using 4 half-bowls and cut from 3/4” pine.

-- Spence in Skokie, IL

View Schwieb's profile


1888 posts in 3855 days

#9 posted 05-12-2012 12:53 PM

Having read Malcom’s book, I can clearly see the influence. This is remarkable. Congratulations I couldn’t help but notice the award was from a show in Ohio. I’m delighted that the judges recognized this as a piece of fine art.

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

View SawTooth1953's profile


339 posts in 3700 days

#10 posted 05-12-2012 03:10 PM

Thank you… I am considering the 4-half-bowl and 6-half-bowl projects “basic” art forms. For the SAW Expo in Springfield, MO in July I will make something more “advanced”... but it will still be clearly influenced by Mr. Tibbetts.

-- Spence in Skokie, IL

View SawTooth1953's profile


339 posts in 3700 days

#11 posted 05-12-2012 10:12 PM

Dr. Ken, I’ve had an experience where my scroll saw ‘art’ was not recognized as being done on a scroll saw. It was a large seahorse sculpture (about 3” thick and 16” high incl. the base) which I cut on the scroll saw as 4 seahorses, each @ 3/4” thick… I glued them together into a large seahorse blank for shaping/sanding… which the judges proceeded to assume was cut from 3” thick wood on a band saw.)(I entered it in a carver’s expo a week later and their judges liked it without caring which saw I might have used.) And on his website, Malcom Tibbetts tells a similar story about a fascinating ribbon he made (the one that looks like piano keys) that he entered into a woodturner’s competition. Their judges couldn’t imagine that anyone used their lathe to make such fascinating wood art, so they didn’t score it.

What I decided was to tell EVERYONE that took the time to look at my project about the scroll saw method I used… I even showed pics on my phone and gave an impromptu seminar at breakfast… I didn’t know who would be judging, but I thought that it would lessen the possibility of disapointment if the judges thought I made it by woodbending or using a lathe. (It worked!!)

-- Spence in Skokie, IL

View DocSavage45's profile


8816 posts in 3236 days

#12 posted 05-13-2012 04:45 PM


You are a master of the craft! And a mentor too. I stopped to see your current project and looked at the rest. Nice work!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Martyroc's profile


2712 posts in 2700 days

#13 posted 05-14-2012 02:42 AM

That’s Awesome! This looks so fluid, I feel I could pick this up and fold it into a bunch of differnt shapes like a cloth ribbon. You showed true talent and excellent craftsmanship with this piece.

-- Martin ....always count the number of fingers you have before, and after using the saw.

View SawTooth1953's profile


339 posts in 3700 days

#14 posted 05-11-2013 01:08 AM

I’ll be at the North Easter Ohio Scrollers (NEOS) Picnic next weekend (May 17, 18, 19) giving 2 classes on how I made the Wavy Ribbon project using the scroll saw. This year it is in Cuyahoga Falls, OH at the Quirk Center on Saturday and Sunday. I hope to meet some of you there!

Spencer Bloom

-- Spence in Skokie, IL

View CFrye's profile


10664 posts in 2233 days

#15 posted 03-23-2016 12:54 PM

Really like the way you’ve created this and shared your process, Spence! I have been seeing Bob Collins’ creations and had to see how you inspired him. A jig to do the cutting of course is how you all get such great precision. I was convinced I could never cut anything that would come out as nicely as what you fellas were showing. Your circle jig is genius. I don’t know that I’ll ever get to this but it is going on The List! Thanks for sharing.

-- God bless, Candy

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