Nautilus shells

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Forum topic by greyspider posted 09-29-2017 01:46 PM 1448 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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102 posts in 4140 days

09-29-2017 01:46 PM

Hi all. I’ve seen some scroll saw shells recently and wanted to know if you have any info or advice when it comes to making them. I don’t have a scroll saw yet and wanted to gather as much input as I can before making the purchase.



4 replies so far

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5360 posts in 5177 days

#1 posted 09-29-2017 02:44 PM

First things first. Don’t buy a cheepo saw. Also, get good blades. Not those from the BORG. You’ll be wantin’ to throw it in the trash REALLY soon.
I’d start with an internet search about dimensioning the whorls in the shell. Lots of info there.
Might even want to look at sand shading for color of various woods.

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View MrsN's profile


988 posts in 4743 days

#2 posted 09-29-2017 04:00 PM

Watch videos and read the various instructions on making them over and over until it starts to make sense.
The scroll saw portion of making shells is not that complicated, understanding the geometry of what you are doing is hard.
To make the pieces that you will scroll saw, you need a bandsaw. The size that you can cut the starting blocks will limit the finished shells.
You will also spend lots of time sanding both inside and outside curves. You will need a dremel or sanding drums to do it well.

View greyspider's profile


102 posts in 4140 days

#3 posted 09-29-2017 04:15 PM

Thanks to everyone.

View MrUnix's profile


8752 posts in 3416 days

#4 posted 09-29-2017 04:31 PM

This video should get you started…
Scroll or Band Saw Shells by Steve Garrison.

You can do them with just a band saw and thin blade if that is all you have. As mentioned, there are many ways to alter the shape and dimensions of the result, depending on angle and pattern. For example, here are two I made – one I wanted with an open ‘mouth’ so it could be used like a bowl, and the other is a more traditional shell form just for decoration:

(originally posted in this thread)

As for making them in general – cutting the segments is pretty trivial and rather boring. Gluing them up takes quite a bit of time and patience, and sanding/finishing takes forever :)


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

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