In the last few months, my shop has obtained some unexpected additions:
You, concerned reader: “Wow, Buddy, those are strange tools to have in a hand tool shop. Are you sure you’re feeling okay?”
Me: “I know. Crazy, isn’t it? Well, here’s the story…”
I had been contacted a while back about making personalized Christmas ornaments for a theater’s gift shop. The only ornaments I’d made up to this point had been turned on my lathe. While these turned ornaments look great, I didn’t think I’d be able to make them quick enough to meet demand, nor at a cost point where everyone would be profitable. SO, after some discussions with Margaret, we determined that we could make everybody happy by making flat ornaments. Additionally, we determined that we could make magnets in the same style.
So what did I get?
The scroll saw was honestly about the cheapest well-rated one from the big-box store. I wasn’t sure if I was going to keep scroll saw work as a permanent addition to my lineup, so I didn’t want to break the bank on something that may not see much use. I thought that if I got into marquetry, I’d lean more towards the chevalet de marqueterie to stay truer to the hand tool shop. I ended up with a Ryobi SC165VS, which is a 16″ variable speed model. Not having used a scroll saw much before, I didn’t have much basis for comparison. It seems to do fine, though. The throat plate doesn’t sit quite flush with the rest of the table, which allows the work piece to bounce more than I think it should. It would also be nice if the hold-down feet had some spring to them; that would probably make it easier to compensate for the recessed throat plate.
The band saw, on the other hand, will definitely be around for the long haul. Using a band saw with my turning projects significantly reduces some of the prep time. Plus, the band saw allows me to resaw stock into thinner boards, either for marquetry or book-matching panels. I decided on the Rikon 10-325 band saw, and I’ve been quite impressed so far. Assembly wasn’t too difficult. The weight of the saw required two people to lift it onto the base, but everything went smoothly. I don’t know if it was intentional or not, but the blade on mine was welded inside out, so that the teeth were pointed upwards. I thought this was going to be a big problem, but as it turned out it was really as simple as grabbing both sides of the blade and flipping it around. Problem solved. I’ve used low-end Delta saws at my “real” job, and my Rikon is a lot quieter than I expected (though that may be because of how the saws at work are being used). The fence keeps the work straight, even with the resaw bar attachment. Because I was a machinist before I started woodworking, I pulled out my calipers after resawing a test piece, and I was happy to find less than 1/16″ difference along the roughly 4″ piece that I cut. With that being the first time I’d ever done any resawing, I was satisfied with those results.
All in all, I’m happy with these additions, even if I don’t end up using the scroll saw for as long. The hardest part is reminding myself that I’d be mad at myself if I gave in and started ripping the boards for my workbench on the band saw.
So what do you think of the new additions? Anyone have experience with either of these tools that you want to share? Ideas of how to convert these tools to manual power? Share your ideas and suggestions in the comments below!
Check back soon to see what else I’ve been up to!