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  • Travis

    Billy The Kid


    Yeehaw! We're going to make a scroll-sawn portrait of the infamous outlaw and gunfighter, Billy the Kid. So, grab your cowboy hat and belly up to the scroll saw to get started on this easy project that captures the Wild West spirit!

    Prepare Your Materials

    1.jpgPrint the pattern and cut it to size.  A free downloadable PDF is available to SSV Patrons and linked at the bottom of this article.  

    I also prepared some 2 pieces of 1/8" Baltic Birch plywood.  I cut the plywood down to 8 inches square and sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper.  I like to pre-sand it before cutting.  It saves time at the end of the project, and I have much less risk of breaking those delicate parts.


    Attach The Pattern

    2a.jpg2b.jpgWith spray adhesive, I spray the back of the pattern.  Wait a few moments until the glue is tacky like a Post-It note.  Then I apply it directly to the wood.

    I prefer Super 77 from 3M, but any spray adhesive works.

    Some folks like to cover the top with packing tape, however, I find it easier to skip that step.  It makes removing the pattern much easier later on.


    Stack Cutting

    3a.jpg3b.jpgFor this project, we're going to stack-cut this portrait.

    We're doing this for a couple of reasons.  First, you get two copies of the project for the work of one.  Second, since the 1/8" plywood is so thin, having a little extra thickness will help with controlling the cut.

    I stack 2 pieces of 1/8" Baltic Birch Plywood.  I press them together tightly, then tape each of the four edges with painter's tape. It's important these are tight and won't slide.


    Pilot Holes

    4.jpgWith the smallest drillbit I have, I drill my pilot holes in each of the grey areas.  This will be used to thread the scroll saw blade through.  If you don't have a drill press, you can easily do it with a hand drill.



    5a.jpg5b.jpgBlade choice is a matter of preference.  In this project, I'm using a #3 scroll reverse spiral blade.

    I tend to use spiral blades for portrait-style projects.  It really lends itself well to organic shapes and makes it easy to cut.  However, you can use a #3 scroll reverse straight blade too. 


    Removing The Pattern

    6.jpg6b.jpgI removed the masking tape from around the edges of our stack cut.  To remove the pattern, I spritz down the pattern with mineral spirits.  I wait a few moments until the pattern turns translucent.  Then the pattern practically drops off on its own.

    This is why I prefer not to use packing tape.  The packing tape will prevent the mineral spirits to absorb into the paper and dissolve the glue.  However, you can peel off the packing tape first, then spritz it down.  But I find it easier not having the packing tape at all.

    With a paper towel and mineral spirits, I will wipe down where the glue was just to remove any extra glue.



    7.jpgThere you go!  Two cuttings for the work of one!

    Usually, there is minimal cleanup.  Sometimes you have to clean out the fuzzies on the back of the project with some needle files or sandpaper.

    For finishing, I'll put on 2-3 coats of clear acrylic spray.  I prefer Deft Satin spray.  For an ultra-smooth finish, before the last coat, I'll hit it quickly with #0000 steel will.



    8.jpgI made a simple frame with some old weathered fence boards.  A simple miter cut at the corners and glued them. 

    For the backer, I like using black felt.  I used plexiglass on top of the cutting to protect it from dust.

    The next step is to hang it up in your homestead!  🤠



    I hope you enjoyed this project.  Billy The Kid has really captured the imagination of the Wild West and has lived a very interesting, although short, life.  Take some time and read a bit more about him.  A super interesting character for sure! 




    Billy The Kid
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