The fine blades necessary for cutting intricate patterns with a scroll saw were developed by a German craftsman in the 1500s. Since that time the scroll saw has evolved into a practical and useful tool for professional wood workers and hobbyists. Creating a cutting pattern is the first step in scroll saw crafting. Many programs are available for specific scroll saw projects or for creating your own designs.
Word processing programs can be used to generate alphabetical copy for name plates and other line-copy projects. Select a bold type font, such as Cooper Black, for a name plate. Set the type size to 72 points for letters 1 inch high or 144 points for 2-inch letters. Center the copy on the page. Use carbon paper to transfer the name plate pattern to wood stock for scroll saw cutting. Be sure to overlap each letter so the name plate can be cut from a single piece of wood.
Scroll Saw Workshops
Many senior centers and recreation departments offer scroll saw classes and workshops. Wood working hobbyists openly share scroll saw patterns for projects of all kinds. Check your area recreation and senior center catalogs for scroll saw classes. Some bookstores feature books on scroll saw patterns and projects in the wood working hobby section.
Make your own scroll saw portrait patterns with imaging software. Adobe Photoshop Elements and Corel Draw are good programs for this type of work. Open a full-face head shot in your image-handling software. Convert color photos to black and white images. Re-size the photo to 5 by 7 inches or 8 by 10 inches. Adjust the photos for maximum contrast to create areas to be cut away with the scroll saw. Use the brush and eraser tools to eliminate little spots that might fall out during sawing. The object is to create connected black areas that will be removed to create portrait details. Use carbon paper to transfer your portrait image to wood for final cutting of the portrait.
Scroll Saw Clubs and Groups
You may find scroll saw clubs and groups in your area. Most of them are free and very generous in offering patterns and help to all scroll saw hobbyists and newbies. Once you locate a scroll saw group, tell them of your interest and arrange a visit to the group. Get acquainted with others who share your interest in this interesting wood working hobby.