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Cutting Wood for Crafts

You should know that there are two kinds of wood: Softwood and Hardwood. Some types of each are: Pine, Spruce, & Fir - Poplar, Maple, Mahagony, Cherry and Birch just to name a few. Which type you'll choose will depend on what type of craft you're making and what appeals to you. For instance, if you were to make a wooden ornament you could work with Poplar or Baltic Birch because it's a popular choice of many woodcrafters. However, you're not limited to just using those, you can experiment with other types of wood. You may even prefer Maple or some other exotic wood that you might come across. Although some of the information here may apply to larger projects, In this article, cutting woods for crafts, the focus is on small wooden projects. To begin, you'll need a pattern, your choice of wood and a tool to cut the material.

So what kind of pattern should you start with? As a newcomer to cutting wood, you don't want a pattern that's too detailed. This will only lead to fustration and dissatisfaction with your final results. Use your first attempts as a learning curve and try not to get too fancy. For now, avoid patterns with inside cutting and instead concentrate on ones with exterior lines. Cutting out a lawn ornament of a Dog for example, would be a good starting point. Now here's a tip for newbies: Photocopy your original pattern. To avoid the expense of re-buying, you don't want to cut up your orginal. Also enlarge or reduce your photocopy to the size you want to cut.

Once you've decided on the size of your pattern, it's time to apply it to your wood. Your material should be between 1/8" to 3/4" thickness. The size is really up to you but we would recommend that you select a size that you can handle comfortably and safely. Your piece of wood should be squared with ample space around your pattern to help maneuver your workpiece safely. Never put your fingers in the pathway of the saw blade. Now with a spray adhesive, spray the face of your wood and apply the pattern. You're now ready, so let's get cutting!!

Now the question is what tool should you use to cut out your pattern? First of all let's look at what tools would do this type of work. They are: Coping Saw, Jigsaw (also known as a Sabre Saw), Scroll Saw and Bandsaw.

If your project is thin (1/4 inch or less), not too detailed as mentioned and you don't mind manual labor, it can be cut using just a simple Coping Saw. Doin't forget to buy Coping Saw Blades for Wood if you choose this tool. However, the saw is not recommended for thicker projects.

The Jigsaw is a power tool that was most likely the first saw of many woodworkers. It can cut through most woodcrafting material without much effort. But it's limited on how small a project you can work on safely. You wouldn't use a Jigsaw to try and cut a two inch christmas Ornament. However, an outdoor yard ornament would be perfect and could easily be cut with a Jigsaw.

The DEWALT DW788 1.3 Amp 20-Inch Variable-Speed Scroll Saw is a great benchtop power tool for cutting wood for crafts. You can use it to make intricate cuts inside and out, cut through thicker stock with ease and is fairly safe to use compared to other woodworking tools. However, the learning curve is greater and it takes quite some time to get the feel for it.

Found in most woodworking shops the Bandsaw is a great tool to have. This saw can do so many things, it just makes woodcrafting that much easier. Despite its abilitie however, you cannot use a Bandsaw for inside cutting.

So what tool should you use? This answer is based on two questions. 1: What size and thickness of craft do you want to cut? 2: How often are you planning on doing crafting?

If you workpiece is less than 16 inches, a Coping Saw or a Scrollsaw would be recommended. If it's a one-time thing, get a coping Saw (unless you're using thick material) and save the expense of a Scrollsaw.

If your workpiece is larger than 16 inches such as for Lawn Ornaments, buy and use a good Jigsaw. They're fairly inexpensive and even if it's a one-time project, this tool can be used for home improvement projects. So it won't sit on the shelf collecting dust very long before you'll find another use for it.

If you're really serious about woodcrafting, buy all four of those tools. You'll be needing them sooner than you think!!

One more thing... how ever your final results are, every woodcrafter before you has been there!! Ok go out, make some sawdust and good luck!!

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