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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited by Moderator)
I'm new-ish to scrolling, been doing other woodworking projects for a handful of years. I've recently found a source of hardwood and been using it for a few projects. I'm making a few name puzzles out of some 1" thick walnut - this kind of thing: https://www.etsy.com/listing/77413048/wooden-name-puzzle-personalized-gift. I have managed to cut the first one of them out without disaster, but it's taking me hours to get the first 6-letter puzzle sanded. I've used a spindle/belt sander to clean up as much as as was practical. Now I'm adding a small round-over by sanding and filing for small areas like where the pieces connect. My wife asked how other people handle the sanding and I realized I didn't know. Surely there are some techniques that would speed this up? I thought about routing a small roundover but I doubt I could get a bit into the smaller areas. All I can think of is a sanding mop. Any other suggestions for how to be more productive while sanding these letters? Thanks in advance.
 

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Are you trying to sand off the fuzzies or trying to sand a round over on the edges?
If you want a round over, take a look at the Dremel shaper/router table. Dremel also makes a 1/8" and even a 3/32 round over router bit, so that might fit in the tight areas.
 

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What Rich said ^^
Also my absolute favorite hand tool is a Grobet USA Swiss Pattern File Vulcrylic 8 Inch.
I got one from WoodCraft 25 years ago but have found them again on Amazon.
The 25 y.o. one is the same and is still my go-to handtool for shaping. The rifflers and needle rasps will get the tiny areas but the Grobet will get 95%.



I recently bought a few half round ring files coarse, med and fine. I still find myself reaching for the Grobet.
Not mine but a nice selection of ring files and other handtools
 

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I'm having trouble understanding why you say it takes you hours to sand? I haven't made any of those name puzzles, but have done plenty of similar letter type projects, like for weddings and stuff, and a quick hand sanding just to knock off the sharp corners was all that was needed. The inter/exterior cut portion usually needs no or very little attention, and if you sand the front/back of the stock before cutting, then all you really need to address is the sides/corners. The ones shown in the link you provided seem to be similar, with just the sharp corners knocked down - a couple of minutes by hand with some 220 should be all that is needed. Why are you spending hours? What exactly are you doing that takes that long?

Cheers,
Brad
 

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Now I m adding a small round-over by sanding and filing for small areas like where the pieces connect.

Surely there are some techniques that would speed this up? I thought about routing a small roundover but I doubt I could get a bit into the smaller areas. All I can think of is a sanding mop. Any other suggestions for how to be more productive while sanding these letters? Thanks in advance.

- Surreal
ive made a lot of puzzles and have never rounded over edges. its too time consuming, the puzzles work great so long as i use the right blade (#5 RT flying dutchman), and the cut edges are perfectly smooth after cutting. no saw blade marks.
back and front faces get sanded before cutting. front face "might" get sanded after, which is just a quick run across stationary belt sander with and older wore down belt.
 

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I m having trouble understanding why you say it takes you hours to sand?
I did have the forethought to sand the front and back before I started cutting. So I have that going for me.

I'm not the most experienced scroll saw operator, so I had some marks/ridges/gouges along the sides that needed to be worked out. I'm probably spending more time completely removing those than is necessary - that's on me. The places where the puzzle pieces connect are probably the most time consuming. I'm getting into the little curved spaces with some needle files with different shapes to try and hide any wobbles in the cuts. I'm also breaking sharp edges, but I'm trying to go further and put a small roundover onto the edges. I found that I didn't like the look of the assembled pieces until I got a decent rounded edge onto each one, which highlights the borders between letters in a way that I think looks good.
 

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I m having trouble understanding why you say it takes you hours to sand?

I did have the forethought to sand the front and back before I started cutting. So I have that going for me.

I m not the most experienced scroll saw operator, so I had some marks/ridges/gouges along the sides that needed to be worked out. I m probably spending more time completely removing those than is necessary - that s on me. The places where the puzzle pieces connect are probably the most time consuming. I m getting into the little curved spaces with some needle files with different shapes to try and hide any wobbles in the cuts. I m also breaking sharp edges, but I m trying to go further and put a small roundover onto the edges. I found that I didn t like the look of the assembled pieces until I got a decent rounded edge onto each one, which highlights the borders between letters in a way that I think looks good.

- Surreal
A scroll saw cut should be clean enough not to require any sanding. It sounds like you are starting/stopping and repositioning the work piece and leaving scars. I do not stop moving the work piece while the scroll saw is running, keep moving slow and steady, anticipate where you need to turn and set up for your turn before you get there. And also remember that once you remove the pattern nobody will know if you were slightly off the line. If you find yourself drifting off the cut line, just drift slowly back, don't make any sudden moves that are not part of the pattern.
 

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I am pretty experienced with the scroll daw and have made many puzzles. I can cut nice smooth lines. However, I sand all of my puzzles with a mac mop. It makes the corners of the pieces much more comfortable to hold or pick up.

Like many other woodworking projects, there are many ways to do it right.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
A scroll saw cut should be clean enough not to require any sanding.
My technique could be better. It's a work in progress. I also had trouble keeping my blades tensioned properly - my bottom clamp was losing grip and I ended up with a couple of wonky cuts. I was trying to get better grip by scratching the blade ends with coarse sandpaper. A rasp did a much better job and I haven't had a slip since.

My needle files are pretty fine, as they are from a set for jewelry making. I'm thinking real hard about a sanding mop or similar for this and other projects. Rifflers sound great but it seems like they are either $300 and amazing or $18 and utter garbage. I'm hoping the Grobet file I ordered works out well.
 

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I also had trouble keeping my blades tensioned properly - my bottom clamp was losing grip and I ended up with a couple of wonky cuts. I was trying to get better grip by scratching the blade ends with coarse sandpaper. A rasp did a much better job and I haven t had a slip since.

- Surreal
something to do on the blade clamps:
fold a piece of sandpaper- like 120 grit- slide it up into the clamp, move the sandpaper up and down until theres a little tension on the sandpaper, then 3-4 swipes up and down with the sand paper to roughen up the clamping surface on the clamps.
also clean blade ends before sanding. they have a light fild of some form of non rusting stuff on them.
i run blade ends across some 120 grit after cleaning, which i do by taking them while their still wrapped up into dozens, and swirl the ends around in lacquer thinner.
 

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It would help everyone understand your problem if you can post some pictures.

I use a scroll saw almost every day in my carving type of projects. If you will always use a regular blade you should be getting a very smooth surface any where the blade is sawing.

Now if you were using a spiral blade you will never get s smooth surface…
Wood Art Font Creative arts Wood stain


Motor vehicle Wood Font Emblem Varnish
 

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