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Edwardkenway

Proxxon jigsaw or a scroll saw

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Hi, I've started a scratch build and found cutting frames by coping saw labour intensive. Searching the internet came up with various scroll saws all out of my budget but a proxxon jigsaw was not and would leave me enough to get a table saw.

So I wondered if the jigsaw would be any good.

All input welcome.

Cheers

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Edited by Edwardkenway

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This saw pictured above is only for crude work to my opinion. Look at the size of teeth on the blade. Hopefully this would not matter much if you work on ships at very large scale.

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1 hour ago, Y.T. said:

This saw pictured above is only for crude work to my opinion. Look at the size of teeth on the blade. Hopefully this would not matter much if you work on ships at very large scale.

am trying it out,¬† i yust got one today, and the teeth is small alsoūüėä

Studio_20190906_201344.jpg

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If you are really doing POF, since you wrote "cutting frames",  depending on your scale and the size of the vessel, 

The timbers for a first rate liner @  1:48 can easily exceed 1/4" in thickness.  Madness as a choice to be sure, since

when the hull is assembled, you have to decide who gets the house, you or it.   I wonder if this tool is up to the job.

I suspect that control is better with a fixed blade and a moving piece of stock.  My crystal ball foresees heart ache and

frustration,  given the hundreds of frames timbers needed for one hull.   If you miss typed and it is plywood molds for 

POB that needs cutting,  this may help reduce the work.  A fixed blade would still be easier.  The motor and blade mount

will limit your ability to see the cut.

 

The time that a high end scroll saw saves in dressing with a disk or drum sander may not be enough to justify the expenditure.

I get the job done with a generic 9" band saw - a 1/4" blade - and a Carter Stabilizer.  The always down cutting force of a band saw

eliminates the stock jumping up problem, the Carter add on allows very tight curves.   It helps to choose a saw with a blade length

that is commonly available.

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The cost of less expensive power tools is the far lower level of accuracy generally found with most of them. POF scratch building can be done with hand tools, even, but as you've found out, the labor involved takes a lot of the fun out of it.  IMHO, at the very minimum, you really need a stationary scroll saw, a micro-table saw, a small thickness sander, and a small stationary disk sander. You can get by with a Dremel in a good (e.g. Vanda-Lay) drill press adapter, but a dedicated stationary bench top drill press is a far more useful choice. If you get a drill press with enough height, it can double well for tapering spars.  If you are an "in for a penny, in for a pound" kind of person, you should get the drill press and a Foredom flex shaft rotary tool with a couple of handpieces, at least one with a chuck on it.

 

I have to confess I've never used one, but from all indications, the Proxxon jig saw (The terms seem to vary. some call them saber saws.) is "hobby quality" and, while servicible, really doesn't do the trick for accurate modeling for all the reasons noted in the previous post above. Additionally, what power tools are all about is power and the lightweight hobby quality tools really don't make the grade over the long haul compared to the top quality stuff.

 

Just as it's pretty much impossible to build a traditional wooden boat or ship with dimensioned lumber, it's pretty difficult to accurately build a wooden ship model with scale dimensioned modeling wood. There is just too much variation in the pieces to build a boat, both in full size version and to scale, to find what you need "off the shelf." This does mean that you are looking at investing as much as a couple grand in quality tools, but, as the saying goes, "You get what you pay for." The general rule for buying tools is to only buy a tool when you have an immediate use for it and then always buy the best you can possibly afford. With scratch modeling tools, you can easily spend the cost of a couple of big kits "tooling up," but it's a lot less painful if you buy them one at a time and try to find used tools of high quality that haven't been abused. They are often far less costly than the hobby quality tools which are generally just under-powered reduced-size versions of common power tools, but not really tools designed for building miniatures where you will be working to tolerances of hundredths, if not thousandths of an inch.

 

As costly as quality tools are, they are an investment, not only in your craft, but also will retain their value and in some instances over a period of time maybe even appreciate in value. These are tools your grandchildren will be able to use when you're dead and gone. A small amount of money that can be regularly saved without unbearable pain will quickly add up to enough to buy the good stuff. When you consider that, where I live at least, the cost of a drink in a bar is pushing ten bucks, doing your drinking at home out of a half gallon bottle from the Big Box Store will save enough to easily buy that Byrnes saw, and thickness and disk sander before you know it. (Although your mileage may vary in that respect. :D ) 

 

I'd strongly encourage you to invest in a good quality scroll saw. If you need an argument to justify the cost of these power tools, just think about how much money you will save on modeling wood when you can quickly turn out your own stock to any size necessary from whatever wood you can pick up laying around. (e.g. an old maple butcher block counter top snagged at the dumps or from a friendly kitchen remodeler will last you for years.) These are tools that can really set you free to jack it up a notch.  If you can't afford to drop five or eight hundred on a top of the line scroll saw, at least get the best you can afford. You can always sell it and get a fair bit of your money out of it when you are ready to move up to the next level in quality. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Bob Cleek

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Thanks for the input, @Jaager¬†it is POF Triton cross section and as as much as I'd love to be doing a first rate,¬† it would have to be big enough to live in as that's where I'd beūü§™

@Bob Cleek your reasoning makes absolute perfect sense so I shall be saving my pennies for a scroll saw and table saw etc.

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16 hours ago, Edwardkenway said:

various scroll saws all out of my budget but a proxxon jigsaw was not and would leave me enough to get a table saw.

A good strategy would have been to wait and save.

The road you took in a hurry will be more expensive: 

not only you bought a jigsaw, but you will probably buy a scroll saw in a near future.

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15 minutes ago, Gaetan Bordeleau said:

A good strategy would have been to wait and save.

The road you took in a hurry will be more expensive: 

not only you bought a jigsaw, but you will probably buy a scroll saw in a near future.

My strategy  was to sound out the jigsaw here before spending  my money.

I have not bought the jigsaw and after @Bob Cleek input I will save up for a decent scroll saw. 

The photo I posted is a stock photo. 

But I thank you for your input 

Cheers 

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9 hours ago, Jaager said:

If you are really doing POF, since you wrote "cutting frames",  depending on your scale and the size of the vessel, 

The timbers for a first rate liner @  1:48 can easily exceed 1/4" in thickness.  Madness as a choice to be sure, since

when the hull is assembled, you have to decide who gets the house, you or it.   I wonder if this tool is up to the job.

I suspect that control is better with a fixed blade and a moving piece of stock.  My crystal ball foresees heart ache and

frustration,  given the hundreds of frames timbers needed for one hull.   If you miss typed and it is plywood molds for 

POB that needs cutting,  this may help reduce the work.  A fixed blade would still be easier.  The motor and blade mount

will limit your ability to see the cut.

 

The time that a high end scroll saw saves in dressing with a disk or drum sander may not be enough to justify the expenditure.

I get the job done with a generic 9" band saw - a 1/4" blade - and a Carter Stabilizer.  The always down cutting force of a band saw

eliminates the stock jumping up problem, the Carter add on allows very tight curves.   It helps to choose a saw with a blade length

that is commonly available.

Edward,

First let me say that the opinion of more experienced builders should carry more weight than mine, but as we are in the same position I feel qualified to speak. I too am in the early stages of my first scratchbuild and tackled the same headache. To complicate matters, I have a perfectly good Hegner scrollsaw and always assumed that I would get a bit of practice and then breeze through the bulkheads and other bits. Short version: no, I didn't breeze through the job. It was clear that the 6mm ply I was cutting, despite all expectations, was simply not cutting cleanly. Each bulkhead I cut took ages and still needed a lot of time to clean up on a disc sander and with hand tools.

Then I got a bandsaw and have not looked back. I still clean up after cutting the bulkheads on the bandsaw but it is a a minor amount compared to the early scrollsaw process. Provided the right blade and intelligent methods of holding the stock are used you should be happy. I also cut other woods and get very nice cut edges requiring little further work provided the right blade is used. My saw is a Scheppach, the smallest they make:

https://www.screwfix.com/p/scheppach-hbs20-80mm-electric-bandsaw-240v/96071

The comments by Jaager (quoted above) most closely reflect my experience. I hope this helps, everybody is different and I again point out that there are some very experienced people posting here but the bandsaw solved the problem for me.

 

HTH

Bruce

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My first serious power tool was a scroll saw (DeWalt) nearly 20 years ago. It was an expensive purchase, but one I've never regretted. As for cleanness of cut, it depends on the thickness of stock and fineness of blade. Rule of thumb? at least three teeth in the thickness of the stock being cut at any moment.

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I only have the small Proxxon scroll saw,hardly ever been used due to vibration. I cut the central spines and bulkheads (6.5mm birch ply) on my Cheerful and current POB scratch builds on my Einhell Bandsaw. No problems,no vibration and also quick and much cheaper than a big expensive scroll saw.

 

Dave :dancetl6:

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The problem with cutting plywood on a scroll saw is 1) the plywood and 2) the choice of blades. A bandsaw will tend to cut plywood cleaner because the cutting is only running in one direction rather than up and down. However, the proper blade, the proper cutting speed, and, if necessary, sacrificial pieces of thin stock above and below the "sandwiched" cut should eliminate any tear-out of the thin ply.  A reverse skip toothed blade should be used on a scroll saw when cutting plywood. The reverse skip toothed blade is specifically designed to cut thin plywood without splintering and they do work fine for that. On the other hand, plywood is a poor choice for frames because fastening and gluing plank, etc., to the edges of plywood is difficult. No plywood was ever intended to be fastened through its edges. A piece of solid wood is the proper material to use for frames.  Where a curve causes cross-grain that weakens a solid wood piece, a scarf is better to correct grain orientation, as with full sized sawn frame construction. 

 

A bandsaw is very handy to have, but there are limitations to its versatility. Only with very good bandsaws with very narrow blades can one cut very narrow curves and reversing direction is problematic, unlike with a scroll saw. Obviously, a bandsaw cannot make inside cuts in solid sheets because the band cannot be passed through a hole drilled in the middle of a piece. There are many more narrow blade options available for scroll saws than bandsaws. There are even sanding strips designed for scroll saws so they may be used to sand small pieces. The variety of blades available for scroll saws is quite remarkable. (See: https://sawshub.com/scroll-saw-blades-types/  and https://www.woodcraft.com/blog_entries/choosing-scroll-saw-blades and http://www.sloanswoodshop.com/PDF/blade chart.pdf and http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com/articles/scroll-saw-blade-selection)

 

One distinction not mentioned is that the top quality scroll saws saw in a straight up and down motion due to their "parallel arm" linkage engineering designs. The less expensive ones don't. The less expensive machines' blades don't saw "straight up and down," but move in an arc that creates a "galloping" motion which tends to lift the piece off the table if not held down tightly, often a difficult task with small pieces, and creates vibration. The sawing motion of ordinary scroll saws tends to cause tear-out, while the parallel armed scroll saws cut straight down, like band saws do. Perfectly vertical sawing direction makes for much cleaner and more easily controlled cuts and, most importantly, far less vibration. Vibration is the critical variable in scroll saws. The less vibration in operation, the better the saw cuts and the easier it is to use. (e.g. http://www.pswood.com/scroll-saws/ and https://www.hegner.co.uk/products/machine-tools/scrollsaws.html and https://www.grizzly.com/products/DeWalt-DW788-20-Scroll-Saw-with-Stand-and-Light/H7414)

 

That said, tear-our shouldn't be a big problem when cutting plywood, even on a less expensive scroll saw, if the correct blade is used. The day will come when one will want a bandsaw, but for making a lot of curved cuts on small pieces, I think the first choice would be a scroll saw over a bandsaw. Others mileage may differ, of course.

Edited by Bob Cleek

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The enemies of any cutting process are slippage and vibration.  With power tools there's also the phenomenon of harmonic vibration, which does not appear when using hand tools. 

 

Perhaps you're using the wrong hand saw.  Try a jeweler's saw (or you coping saw), with a variety of blades, and use it with a birdsmouth attached firmly to a solid bench.  If that goes ok, then look into a buying a high-end coping/fret saw - the brand name of a premier saw escapes me at the moment - (New Saw Concepts?).   There is also a very specialized saw for marquetry & veneer work, a chevalet

Here's a few pics of a birdsmouth.


http://blog.oldwolfworkshop.com/2015/05/coping-saw-appliance.html

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@Bob Blarney I have just bought some more extra fine coping saw blades bladesand am going to try them tomorrow as I need to cut some more frames . I've got some f clamps I use for work and some scrap board  so I'll see how it goes. Thanks 

@Bob Cleek. Having read all the advice given in this thread I understand that if I bought  a scroll saw  first it would help cutting frames for POF  projects  but with a different blade it could also be used for POB projects where it would be used to cut out the bulkheads, therefore I will save up for a decent parallel action saw. Until then I shall persevere with my trusty coping saw. 

Much obliged  to everyone for all advice , opinions and reccomendations .

Edited by Edwardkenway

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@Bob Blarney thanks for the link but $160 is about $110 too much for me when my old coping saw still "cuts it"

@Y.T. I thought my £38 coping saw was expensive when I bought 20 years ago It's an Eclipse and today they are reasonable at about £20.

 

Edited by Edwardkenway

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When i see this question i start wondering:

 

1) Why start scratchbuilding if u dont have/can afford tools? There are numerous of kits out there designed so you dont need to make hundreds of pieces yourself. Scratchbuilding is very much about extreme precision so you really need tools and even multiple saws to do different things.

 

2) Are powertools really that expensive today? I am surprised how many options there are out there today in various priceranges. Proxxon makes alot of highquality tools in various style.

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I think the main reasons people begin scratch building are:

 

1. They can build whatever they please instead of the four hundred and sixty-fifth example of the same model everybody else has built.

 

2.  Many models are hugely over-priced for what the are. Aside from an eventual investment in tools, scratch building can cost practically nothing.

 

3.  They enjoy the challenge and the sense of accomplishment of building a good model which is unique.

 

4.  Quality scratch-built models tend to bring far more in the marketplace than even the best kits.

 

5.  There's a big difference between researching a particular vessel and building it from scratch and just opening a box and assembling a model by simply reading the directions.  Basically, it's the difference between painting an original oil painting and a "paint-by-numbers" kit. People scratch build for the sense of accomplishment it provides.

 

6.  When somebody admires your model and inevitably asks, "Did you build it from a kit?" You get to answer, "No, I built the whole damn thing. There is nothing you see that was store-bought. I made every part from raw materials. You may even be able to say, like a few, that you grew and harvested the wood yourself, too.

 

Maybe others can add more reasons.

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I'll add one...

 

There's more than couple excellent scratch builds on MSW where only hand tools were used.  Could be money or perhaps they like the feel and ambience of working wood by hand.  And some of us have power tools for the heavy work and then hand tools for the precision work.

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11 hours ago, Vane said:

1) Why start scratchbuilding if u dont have/can afford tools? There are numerous of kits out there designed so you dont need to make hundreds of pieces yourself. Scratchbuilding is very much about extreme precision so you really need tools and even multiple saws to do different things.

 

2) Are powertools really that expensive today? I am surprised how many options there are out there today in various priceranges. Proxxon makes alot of highquality tools in various style.

Is it possible to make scratch building with few hand tools, yes and we say few peoples doing it in this forum. The difference with more tools and power tools, is that you will go faster.

 

Scratch building is not about extreme precision, because wood is not about extreme precision. With wood, you can go to .001'', with metal you can add few 0.

 

There are many variations you can buy for a tool. By example, you can buy an electric micromotor for less than $100 or you can buy another one for $1000. Both will do the job and the second one will just have more options like torque and  higher RPM.

 

There are many reasons to do a scratch built model ship, one of the reasons is  that there is a wider choice to choose a model that you like.

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Dear Edward

 

Scratchbuilding can get very expensive quickly because there is always the right tool for a specific task. It can be done with fewer toys at the cost of accuracy and time.

As I understand you need something to cut the wood. I think the cheapest and more versatile option is a scroll saw. That jig saw looks a bit...wrong! 

I have the Dremel moto saw and has served me well and done pretty much everything I ve asked. But each modeller has his one set up and the more tools you have, the easier to overcome the deficiencies of a single tool. 

I d say buy a cheap scroll saw, no way you will not find it useful. Scratchbuilding complex boats without any power tools is very difficult and really unnecessary.

 

Regards

Vaddoc

 

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@vaddoc I have come to the conclusion that if I'm going to buy anything it will  be a scroll saw. As to all the other toys my other half would raise more than her eyebrows. But till my budget is healthy enough to get said scroll saw I will persevere with my coping saw and for smaller more delicate work a jewellers saw.

Thanks for your input it is greatly appreciated. 

Also thanks to everyone who has contributed to this discussion. 

Cheers

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I originally started scratch building just to see if I could.   I didn’t think that my first scratch building project, the Prince de Neufchatel, would get finished.

 

I had a blast building the Prince de Neufchatel.  It was the most fun that I have ever had building a model.  

 

I’ve been finishing my Mantua Victory from the AOTS plans, so it will be about half scratch by the time it’s done.

 

The only power tool that I really use is a drill.

 

My coping saw, my scalpels, a couple of machinist scales and my pin vise are my work horses, so the cost of tools wasn’t really an issue for me.

Edited by GrandpaPhil

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