Some Scrollsaw Tips:                                                    

When trying to square the table to the blade don't use the old technique of making a cut into a scrap then flipping it behind the blade. Instead cut about 1" into the scrap and cut out a square about 1/2" square. This square should come out the top or the bottom of the cut the same or the table is not square.  
Using this technique you now have the tables squared to the cut the blade actually makes, the blade may not be square to the table but the cut on the wood comes out square and that is what is important. I have found that this method of squaring the table works better on all saws than using any other method of squaring the table. Some of this could be that as you cut you actually are putting side pressure on the blade, but I think it has more to do with the fact that the blade cuts to the right , because of the burr on the right side of the blade. 

The best thing that I have found for tracing templates is Formica, plastic laminate. Copy the pattern and apply to the laminate with spray adhesive, while it is still wet, then cut the pattern on the scroll saw with a #2 blade. You will end up with a pattern that will last a lifetime, and they are easy to store because they are so thin.

If the table top of your saw is rough and doesn't let the wood slide across it as easy as you would like there is a simple fix. Take the top off the saw and sand it with an in line or finish sander using 180 or finer sandpaper. It doesn't take a lot to clean up the tool marks, and it will amaze you how much better the wood will slide over the table top.

I use a strip magnet mounted somewhere on the saw, or stand to hold extra blades, so that they are easily available. Find a convenient location and mount two pieces of strip magnet about 4" apart to hold the top and bottom area of the blade. I also find it nice to mount the magnets on riser blocks about 1/2" off the surface, this gives your fingers room to pick up the blade.

I have found the trick to tight turns is to use the sides and back of the blade. Since to only part of the blade that cuts is the front. Now we are talking light pressure here just to hold a reference point for the blade. As you get to the corner or turn stop pushing the piece into the blade. Apply light pressure to the side of the blade to use just to hold the blade in place on the piece. As you make your turn pull the piece toward you or sideways using the side then the back then the other side of the blade if necessary until you have the piece turned to the direction that you need to go next. Then apply pressure to push the piece into the blade to cut again. It takes some practice but using the sides and back of the blade to hold the blade stationary on the piece while making the turn keeps the blade in the proper position. Now don't apply so much force or for so long that the sides or back burn a cut into the piece. When you turn tight corners the piece is spun as fast as you can go to the new direction. Watching me cut the piece is basically a blur as I spin it to the new direction. The blade will take it and not have a chance to burn or cut until to piece is in the new direction and pressure applied into the blade again. I figure the turns are the only time that I don't have about 1/4" of bow in the blade from the feed pressure forcing the piece into the blade.

To get square corners I use about a #5 blade or smaller. Cut to the corner then spin to the new direction as fast as you can. The blade will take a lot of twist. Once to the corner slight pressure on the side of the blade and then as you turn your work use the back of the blade pressure to hold your work in place for the turn in the corner. Now this has to be done fast as it will burn and cut with the back of the blade as you turn if you go to slow. Once to the new direction feed in that direction. Actually I cut the corner and turn faster than the straight lines. The slower you turn the corners the more chance there is of burning and rounding them out.

Transferring a pattern to wood with lacquer thinner and a photocopy ! 
Thu, 1 Mar 2001 08:48:13 -0700
From: Hal Shearer <hshearer@NOVELL.COM>
To: SCROLLING-LIST@LISTSERV.ACSU.BUFFALO.EDU

I used two patterns, one from a laser printer, the other from a photocopier, and two different species of wood - oak and pine. These pieces of wood had been sanded and had smooth surfaces. I wet a paper towel with lacquer thinner, rubbed it all over the wood surface, then pressed the pattern down and rubbed it with my hand. The pattern soaked up some thinner but did not get completely damp. Holding one edge of the pattern in place, I lifted it up to reveal a nice transfer onto the wood. A couple places around the edge hadn't transferred completely, so I just wiped the wood again in those places with the paper towel and pressed the pattern back down. Since I had held the edge of the pattern in place, the transfer lined up perfectly with the first transfer. The trick really seems to be having the right amount of thinner. There has to be enough to get the pattern a bit damp.

I also tried rubbing the wet paper towel over the transferred pattern. Right after I made the transfer, I was able to clean it back off the piece of wood. The towel had to be quite wet to accomplish this. It will be interesting to see if the lines can still be cleaned off the wood after it has dried on, like after you have finished cutting and need to clean up the leftover lines and markings. This could
be a drawback - I suppose they could be sanded off, but there will be cases where you won't want to sand after cutting.

The main drawback I noticed was the smell. WOW that stuff is powerful.

On the positive side, you can use the same pattern several times. You can also be very precise with the placement by laying the pattern on the wood, getting it just right, taping one edge, lifting up, wiping on the lacquer thinner, then laying the pattern back down.

But, you always have to have a reverse image of the pattern - simple with a
computer, not so with a simple copier.

Compound cutting

Itís not an original idea.  I got it from Saw Dust July 2003 TIPS.  Richard Steward of Penn states that when you cut 3D patterns instead of aligning the pattern up with the end of the wood blank mode the pattern up a leave a little wood below the pattern.  Than drill a couple of pilot holes for the blade and cut your side one out going from hole to hole.  Do the same thing on side two than cut straight across the bottom of the piece to release if from the blank.  This eliminates the need to tape the first cut and reduces the chance of the first cut moving during the second cut. This was a revelation to me and how simple; why hadnít I thought of this before. 

Randy Worden