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  • Travis

    Veining Tips

    Originally published in The Village Square newsletter - March, 2010


    There has been some interesting discussions at Scroll Saw Village recently regarding veining. So I thought I'd compile some tips provided by our members to get the most from veining details.


    Small Bits - Many times, veining requires you to drill an entry hole. Unfortunately, the entry hole is pretty obvious and doesn't blend into the design. The first way to deal with this problem is to use the smallest drill bit you can find. Many scroll saw blade suppliers also sell small drill bits just for this purpose. These drill bits are very close to the same size of the kerf of your blade. The drill bits are inexpensive, so grab a bunch. They will bend overtime and will need replacing. You can also find these drill bits are at hobby shops. Modelers often use them when working with small and delicate materials.


    Entry Hole Placement - Take a look at your pattern. Often the pattern will "tell" you where to place your entry hole. A good place to put an entry hole is in the center of the line or at a curve. This makes feathering the entry hole less noticeable. You can even add an entry hole at both ends of the vein. This will turn your entry holes into a design element, rather than an entry point.


    Feathering The Entry Hole - Use the side of your scroll saw blade to feather out the entry hole. Scroll saw blades are stamped out when manufactured which result in a slight bur on one side of the blade. You can use this bur to your advantage to rasp the edge of the hole, tapering it into the vein. You'd be surprised how fast the entry hole becomes unnoticeable.


    Bigger Blade - A larger blade will have a wider kerf, which makes the veining more pronounced. This will also help hide the entry hole, especially when combined with the feathering technique. Larger blades do have the disadvantage of a tighter turning radius. So tight curves and details are somewhat limited.


    Pilot Line & Spirals - Spiral blades have a nice wide kerf, which works well for veining. Unfortunately, spiral blades have a tendency to follow the grain of solid wood, sometimes making it difficult to control. A solution is to use a regular straight blade to cut your initial vein. Then come back with a spiral blade and recut the vein. The spiral blade will follow your pilot line, creating a wide kerf perfect for veining.


    Double Up - To widen a kerf, some folks will add two scroll saw blades side by side. This will naturally make the kerf twice as wide. It takes a little getting use to when installing two blades at the same time, but works well. However, tight curves and details will be limited due to the shorter turning radius of the double blades.

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    Travis, I appreciate the time you take to share your expertise with others. I know I have benefitted a lot from your time to share your wisdom. You have developed a lot of relationships with other members as they react with one another in The Village. I know I have met several members and have became friends with some of them. I also feel like I know a lot of people all over the planet because of this web site. 




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    8 hours ago, Norm Fengstad said:

    Good tips, some I do from time to time but never thought of doubling up with blades

    I did that just recently when making a spiral cut bowl. I needed a wider kerf so I just decided to give it a try. I guess it wasn't the first time it had been done. You have to let the blades sort of "nest" together side by side because of the cut of the teeth. They will be just a tad bit offset to each other.

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