From Log to Letter Opener

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Project by Paul Pomerleau posted 06-22-2012 01:49 AM 2253 views 1 time favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Last October I was at work in downtown Ottawa when a co-worker said he has a surprise for me.
We went outside and he showed me a 14” diameter by 4’ long chunk of maple.
He said that he cut down a maple at his cottage and brought me in a piece.
“Uhmmm… Thanks” I replied.
I had to put it in the trunk of my car, it just fit and pushed the entire rear end down quite a bit.
I had to buy a riser block and resaw blade for my 14” bandsaw and make a sled.
The log still wouldn’t fit so I used an old electric chainsaw to trim off the sides.
I cut it into planks and put them behind my shed for the winter.
This month I took the smallest piece, and purchased a draw knife to remove the bark.
Cut a 1’ piece off and ran it through the jointer and thickness planer.
I got a pattern from Steve Goods scroll saw website and went to work.
I then realized my scrolling abilities are poor at best.
I can’t seem to be able to turn the wood fast enough without going off the lines.
I bought a foot switch so I could start and stop the blade quickly in order to turn the wood.
I even broke a scroll saw blade while doing this, although you get lots in a pack.
Oh why do I pick these patterns?!?
By the end of the day, I succeeded in making a not-too-bad $200 letter opener.
Although each one will be substantially cheaper now that I have all the accessories.
I also told my co-worker to only bring me 8” diameter logs from now on.
Thanks for looking.

-- Close to Ottawa Ontario Canada

5 comments so far

View Woodenwizard's profile


1366 posts in 3851 days

#1 posted 06-22-2012 02:37 AM

WoW, nice letter opener. I would have ended up with a door stop.

-- John, Colorado's (Wooden Wizard)

View ghazard's profile


382 posts in 4317 days

#2 posted 06-22-2012 05:06 PM

Great account of the “gift” you were given! :)

How thin did you go? I assume it is working nicely?

That is a great idea for a quick gift. (the letter opener part…not the ~150lb log part!)

Nice job.


-- "Hey, you dang woodchucks! Quit chuckin' my wood!"

View Paul Pomerleau's profile

Paul Pomerleau

309 posts in 3501 days

#3 posted 06-22-2012 05:30 PM

I brought the stock down to 3/8”
I sanded the 4 edges of the blade and tapered the top and bottom to bring it to a point.
I was concerned that the tip would not be strong enough to cut paper, but it works good.
I find it a bit big to hold in the hands and the next one will be more streamlined without the side wings.

-- Close to Ottawa Ontario Canada

View DaddyZ's profile


2475 posts in 3848 days

#4 posted 06-22-2012 05:37 PM

I Don’t know, It looks like your friend done a good job with you.

Nice Stack of wood Going there !!

-- Pat - Worker of Wood, Collector of Tools, Father of one

View Rahm_of_the_Woods's profile


37 posts in 3596 days

#5 posted 06-23-2012 04:46 PM

Strange how these things happen… When I first found the rusty old scroll saw in my Dad’s shop, I was fifteen years old. I bought a magazine and pulled out the first pattern that caught my eye. It just so happens that the first finished scroll work that I ever did is the same chinese dragon in your letter opener. A little different, but not much!

Its a small thing, but this made my day to know that someone else randomly picked such a similar project for a first finished scroll piece…

-- Imagination opens the gates of the universe. –William Patten

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