My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #1618: Veining Lines

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 09-09-2015 12:29 PM 1901 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1617: Change Part 1618 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 1619: A Tribute to a Queen (Layla the Tigress) »

It felt good to get such nice feedback on my angel ornament project that I showed here yesterday. I am pretty excited about it myself. It felt good to really get something going in a good direction for my very patient woodworking followers. 

It turned out to be a very busy day. While I was answering the many email that I received, I also had some orders for some wood pieces I had to cut so I shifted gears and went to the saw for a couple of hours. Even though I always have things to do, I never mind stopping and working on the scroll saw for orders. It keeps my skills sharp and gives me a chance to 'think' about things like my next projects. I am in my own world when there. 

One of the comments on my blog yesterday was a woodworking question by a woodworking friend. It seemed that I mentioned that the angel ornaments had 'veining' details in them instead of fretwork, and she wasn't quite sure what that was. I thought that it would be a good topic for today's post. 

In scroll sawing, there are basically two types of detailing that we can apply without adding anything else to the wood. The first one, which is somewhat obvious, is 'fretwork'. The details are added by cutting holes in the wood and allowing the piece to fall out, creating a void.  This makes some beautiful designs, but sometimes it isn't always practical to do things this way. Especially on things like figures and animals, it is a bit harsh and makes the project look forced and unnatural. That is when "veining" would work best. 

Veining is in essence, drawing lines with the blades. When you cut into a piece of wood, depending on the thickness of the blade, you will remove part of the wood. This is also referred to as the "kerf". Naturally, the larger the blade you use, the thicker the kerf and the more pronounced the line is. When we are cutting fretwork, since the entire section falls out and is removed from the piece, we don't think too much about it. It is only when we cut veining lines into pieces that they really are pronounced. 

Veining lines are very helpful in creating detail and dimension in our scroll work. Many times you can 'lead in' to the veining lines from the ends of the piece, such as when we are cutting out wings. You simply dive in with the blade and cut into the wood, being sure to leave enough wood to hang on firmly and then back out of the same area to the waste area and keep cutting. This is actually quite easy when doing straighter lines, such as wings, but it may take a little practice when cutting more complex curves. While some people prefer to stop their cut and remove the blade from the blade holder when they get to the end of a veining line, I find it easier in most cases to back the moving blade out by re-tracing the curve in reverse. I find this way there is much less stress on the wood and less chance of  breaking off pieces. 

The picture here shows where the veining lines are in my angel ornament:

You can see that most of the veining lines – especially on the wings – originate from the outer edge of the pieces. For places on the angel where it would not look natural to begin on an edge, (or it would be not practical, where the piece may fall out) what I did was create a 'slit' or void in which to originate my veining line, as on the head and the upper arm and body area. These areas would naturally be the deepest shadowed areas and the small slits don't look out of place. As  in the instance of the upper body, you will need to do the veining in a couple of steps. (I think I will make a video of that soon so you can see how to approach it.) 

The result is a really nice, detailed piece. 

Another reason I like veining lines is that they provide a wonderfully natural break for adding color into the piece. While I know that many scrollers may not be fond of painting, I don't think we can deny the appeal of adding a bit of color to our pieces. This is especially true when we are using cheaper wood such as plywood which has little or no grain pattern (my samples here are all in plywood) To demonstrate this, I painting up one of the pieces, using no shading and just blocking in the sections where the natural breaks occur:

Isn't that beautiful?  I simply painted within each section and kind of 'connected it in places like on her hand and at the top of her dress. It took only minutes and made a big difference in the appearance of the ornament. (Of course I added a layer of Glamour Dust fine glitter paint on top! They are, after all ornaments and should have some sparkle to them!) I am even going to add a beautiful gold rhinestone to the center of the star I think!) 

I feel that there is no scroller that would not be able to achieve this beautiful look very easily. There is no learning curve whatsoever, and all you need to do is apply the paint in a light wash. The veining lines naturally stop the flow of the paint and keep your colors "in the lines". I hope you try it. 

Today I will be finishing up coloring my set of scrolled ornaments. I have also been asked if I am going to offer these angels as a painting pattern along with the wood blanks. I believe that I will do that, as I think they will be a fun and easy project and be great not only for Christmas, but all year around. 

Thank you all again for your comments and encouragement. I truly appreciate them all. Hopefully I will be able to get these for the most part done today and we can get them on the site in the next couple days for the next update. Please stay tuned. :) 

It is overcast here today and seems to be a bit humid, but cooler. We are due for some much needed rain and I hope we actually get some. Our rivers and lakes are quite low. 

I wish you all a wonderful Wednesday! Have a great day and do something creative. 

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

4 comments so far

View Roger's profile


21054 posts in 3968 days

#1 posted 09-09-2015 12:46 PM

You always bring life to your scroll work, Sheila.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9239 posts in 4084 days

#2 posted 09-09-2015 12:53 PM

Thanks, Roger! :)


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View CFrye's profile


11329 posts in 3004 days

#3 posted 09-09-2015 04:10 PM

Thank you, Sheila, for explaining veining. A video would be great. I am firmly in the ‘Don’t Paint!’ group. Then you show your beautifully rendered painted versions and I have to concede, it’s OK…sometimes. Heeheehee Have a great Wednesday!

-- God bless, Candy

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9239 posts in 4084 days

#4 posted 09-09-2015 04:27 PM

I will try to get the video done over the weekend (or sooner, if I meet my deadlines! ;) )

Yes – painting has its merits. Not everyone can afford beautiful hardwood. The ply looks nice ‘washed’ with the colors. And of course – the sparkles don’t hurt either! After all – you want them to show up on the tree, don’t you?

Thanks for the question. I will be happy to give better explanations in the video.

Have a wonderful day! Sheila

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

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