Tag Archives: scroll saw

Formidable Fretwork Frieze

With a project article for Popular Woodworking Magazine wrapped up, I got back to work on the large – some would say humungous – walnut secretary. This week I spent more than a few hours working on a frieze moulding to sit just below the crown.

I say formidable fretwork frieze not because the moulding causes fear or apprehension, or due to its awesome strength. To me, frieze arouses feelings of grandeur. It is a nice addition to a piece of furniture, but it’s not a moulding you should include if you’re short on time. To make this moulding, I use a scroll saw which is not part of my machine inventory. I borrowed this Craftsman saw from a friend and would highly recommend it if you’re in the market.

To make my frieze, I developed a pattern from my SketchUp model. (To read how to do this from an earlier post, click here.) After my pattern is spray-glued to thin walnut stock, the work begins. As shown in the photo above, step one is to drill a small hole through each and every one of the areas that are to be cut away. Your hole has to be large enough to fit a scroll saw blade through, but still smaller than the waste area – this almost didn’t happen for me and I thought I was going to have to go back and rework my pattern.

With every hole, you have to thread your blade through the hole, reattach the blade to upper arm, tighten the blade holder screw then re-establish blade tension before you cut. Each repeating pattern has four waste areas around the oval, then between each oval there is a small diamond. You can see why I say don’t use this moulding if you are short on time.

Note the small bridge used to elevate the moulding above the tabletop and provide clearance for my router bit.

You may have noticed that I did not drill a hole through each of the ovals, which is also waste area. I planned to speed-up this part of the process. Yes, I use my router and a plywood pattern to do that. To create a pattern, I pasted my paper pattern to a piece of plywood scrap that was sized to match my working stock. I cut a short piece of stock at the scroll saw to use as a test piece and determined that my original oval was too thin. I needed to boost the width of each oval. (you can see by how much in the photo.)

Instead of making a new pattern that would be difficult to position – the pattern oval was exactly the size of my original pattern – I turned to router accessories to do the job. Take a look at the photo immediately above and you can see a bushing with my router bit peeking through. My bushing rides the edges of the pattern while the router bit sits inside the lines. Bingo, my ovals were beefed up, and routing out oval waste was much less time consuming than doing this work at the scroll saw.

The moulding shown here is from paper pattern to sanded smooth. When I get things wrapped up on the secretary, I’ll drop in a close-up photo of the finished frieze.

Build Something Great!

Glen

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