Cutting Small Pieces on a Scroll Saw

Aloha Clayton,

One thought and one question.

Question: How do you cut out such small pieces like end caps without losing your finger tips? The larger pieces are okay but the tiny ones I am not sure how to tackle. Any suggestions?

Thought – it would be helpful if on one page of each plan was listed each piece needed to complete the clock. Right now I just make a mark on each piece on the page that I have cut from wood. It works but I am afraid I will miss something.

Please forgive me if I am being a bother but I don’t know how to contact other scrollsawers about cutting small pieces for instance. I am determined to make Simplicity because it is so beautiful.

Thanks again Clayton.
Scott J

Aloha Scott, nice to hear from you, and I am happy to help.  I also appreciate suggestions from builders.  My whole purpose, since the very beginning, has been to create the most fun, error-free, easy-to-build-from plans humanly possible.

When looking through my plans, the three places that are the very most helpful in finding the location of each individual clock part are the Front View, Side View, and Arbors and Spacers page.  That Arbors and Spacers page shows exactly where each part fits on the rods and tubes, and the Front and Side Views show the overall location of each part of the clock. 

As to how to cut the small parts accurately - I don't.  

For a very small part like a cap I first drill the hole, and then cut the part out roughly, and then take it to the sander and sand that small part to the line.  If it is an especially small cap, I'll cut it out roughly, stick the arbor into the hole and chuck the arbor into a hand drill, and then take that to the sander.  That way fingers do not even get close to the spinning sandpaper.

Also, when it comes to cutting other small parts, such as the pinions, you can use the same philosophy.  The dedendum (the valley between the teeth) should be cut accurately at the scrollsaw, but the outer parts of the tooth (the addendums) can be cut roughly and then finish sanded to the line at the sander.

Here are a couple of pix as examples...notice I am using a zero tolerance insert clamped on the sander's table to keep the small parts from falling between the sander's table and the belt.  #1 in the picture is the dedendum that should be cut accurately.  #2 is an accurately cut addendum, and #3 addendum will be touched up at the sander, and finished to the line.

I hope that helps increase the fun of building your Simplicity.  

My Simplicity spent its first five (+) years out in my shop keeping me company as I worked, and getting covered daily with sawdust (a blast from the compressed air cleaned it right out whenever it stopped, but I have to say it was really a trooper and could run through layers of sawdust!).  Simplicity's beautiful song was the first thing to greet me in the morning as I opened the doors.

Then about seven years ago I moved the Simplicity into our living room where it now shares the opposite end of our fireplace mantle with the Zinnia.  They make beautiful fireplace finials!

I hope you enjoy yours just as much.   Aloha, Clayton

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I love comments, but in order for me to have more time playing in my sawdust, I cannot respond to them here. If you have a technical question, please do not post it here, or I will have my wife answer it for me and her technical knowledge is highly suspect. For technical questions, check out the FAQ section of my website, or find my email link there. Mahalo and Aloha, Clayton