I ran across a neat pattern for making flowers and a vase from wood using the scroll saw.
I decided to make the vase from maple, the flower petals from yellow heartwood, the stem and leaves from red oak.
All of the pieces, except the round flat rings, are compound cut on the scroll saw. This means you scroll saw a pattern on 1 side of a wood block, then you rotate the block 90 degrees and cut a different pattern in the 2nd face. After you cut the first side, you leave the center piece that was cut out in the block. I hold it in place with cellophane packing tape. Then you rotate the block and cut the other face.
Here are the maple blanks for the round rings.......
Compound scroll sawing the sides of the vase:
You can see the different patterns on the 2 sides of the block.
After I scroll sawed the first side, I kept the sawn piece in place using packing tape:
I was not happy with the roundness of the top and bottom pieces. I drew a circle slightly smaller than the OD of each ring in Google Sketchup. I glued the pattern onto the wood using white Elmer's glue. Then I used the sanding drum on the drill press to carefully sand down to exactly the ring pattern. The roundness was much better. Next time I make an item like this, I need to remember to scroll saw the ring a little bigger than the pattern, so I have stock to carefully sand down to exactly the circle pattern.
Stain for stem and leaves
I decided to keep the red oak as light of color as possible, so I used this stain.....
Gluing the Petals of the Flower
I scroll sawed out the petals, then it was time to glue 5 of them together. My trusty yellow Titebond glue that I normally use on everything will not work. There is no way to clamp the 5 petals together because of their compound shapes.
I ordered some faster setting glue from the same web site I got the pattern from, but it did not work well either...
I finally resorted to my old Sears hot melt glue gun that I had not used since the early 1980s. Surprisingly it still worked fine. It worked well for gluing the petals together, and the leaves to the stem. I did have to take a sharp knife and remove the excess glue.
The yellow heartwood petals were not a very bright yellow in color. Perhaps because the compound cut is not in align exactly with the wood grain. I used some yellow Homestead dye from Rockler to make the leaves a bright yellow. I bought the dye back in Dec of 2009, and the liquid dye has stored fine in a baby food jar.
Here is one flower finished, except varnishing, in the vase.........
Fixture for drilling 3/16" center hole in petals for stem
Following the pattern directions, I drilled a 3/4" hole in a scrap block. You insert the glued petals into the hole, to hold it while drilling the 3/16" center hole for the stem. This is still a difficult operation, because you are likely to break a glue joint on the petals. If you feed down very slowly with the drill press, it reduces the chances of breaking a glue joint.
1/8" Round-over router bit did not work
The directions say to round over the edges of the top and bottom pieces using a 1/8" round-over bit. I set up my router, and ran a piece of 3/4" pine through the router to verify the depth of the bit was correct.
However, when I started to route the 1/8" thick round top piece, the piece slipped under the roller bearing, and routed it too deeply. My router bit will not work on very thin stock. I had to scrap the piece and make a new one. I simply sanded the radius using the sanding drum on the drill press.
I recently bought an Exacto knife set. It was invaluable on this project for cutting away the excess hot melt glue.
Verifying Concentricity when gluing vase
I tried Aleene's glue for gluing up the vase. It worked ok for this task. It did not work for gluing up the petals.
Once I got the vase glued up, I struggled with a method to assure the vase was setting correctly with respect to the base. I ended up chucking it up in the lathe, then moving the chuck in the tailstock, to visually make sure the top was concentric with the base.
Drying on the drying rack after polyurethane:
Finished Vase and 3 Flowers
Closing Thoughts on This Project
On future projects like this, I need to remember to scroll saw any circle outside diameters slightly larger than the pattern. This leaves stock for carefully drum sanding the OD on the drill press, down to the exact shape of the circle.
The most difficult part of this project was finding the right glue. My experiments show that hot melt glue works better than the Aleene's fast tack glue. It does take time to carefully remove the excess glue with a sharp Exacto type knife.
There is a quite a bit of scroll sawing time required to make one vase/flower set.
The yellow heartwood did not come out as bright of yellow as I expected from using it on previous projects. I suspect it is because of not using the wood exactly along the grain lines. The yellow dye seems to fix this problem.
I was unable to make the petals a very bright yellow. The only option I know to make them a brighter yellow would be to paint them. Maybe dying pine would give a brighter yellow also.
Brighter Yellow Flowers
I decided to try making flowers with a brighter yellow color. I used plain pine to make the petals, then I dyed the pine yellow.
This gave a very bright yellow flower color...
I also figured out that you can get 3 versus 1 lower vase pieces from one block of wood........which saves a lot of time.......
It is also easier to use a larger wood block for scroll sawing, because it is so much easier to hold while sawing...
A Dozen Flower Vases with 36 Flowers
The several ladies that I showed my first bright yellow flowers and vase to loved them!!
I decided to make 12 vases with 3 flowers each. This is a lot of scroll sawing....
--36x5 = 180 petals
--36x2 = 72 leaves
--12 lower bases
--12 lower rings
--12 lower guide rings
--12 upper bases
--12 upper guide rings
--12x6 = 72 curved sides
For a total of 420 pieces !!!!!!!!!
Orange and Red Flowers
I ordered orange and red water dye from Rockler to try them out. They looked nice so I made a few orange and red flowers.
36 Flowers ready for Varnish
Cutting Circles with Radius Cutter versus Scroll Sawing
I tried to speed up production by cutting the vase circles using a radius cutter in my drill press. The OD still has to be sanded smooth using a drill-press drum sander, but you have a nice circle guide to sand to for keeping them round.
Minimizing Cherry wood used
I was able to pack more pieces into each cherry board by placing the lower guide into the upper guide pieces..
A Big Pile of Vase Parts
Finished 12 Vases and 36 Flowers in Dec 2013
I finished making these items in June of 2013, then I placed the 12 vases in the Sun Room to darken the cherry. I removed the 12 vases from the Sun Room in mid-December 2013 and they had darkened appreciably.
Lessons Learned from Making 36 Flowers
When I was scroll sawing the 36 stems, I did not focus on sawing the long portion of the stem exactly to the pattern line. When I tried to drop the stem down through the 3/16" hole in the petals, most of the stems were too big to fit. I took a thin piece of plywood and drilled a 3/16" hole in it...........this became my gage. I drum sanded the stems until they easily slipped through the gage. I had to re-stain the stems that I sanded again.
You are supposed to yield 2 leaves from each wood block you scroll saw. I yielded 5 by drum sanding the other 3 waste pieces into additional leaves.
I used honey maple stain on the 36 stems and leaves.
Radius cutting some of the vase circles turned out to be a toss-up in terms of time saved versus scroll sawing. The extra time required to sand the OD's using the radius cutter cancelled out the shorter time cutting them.
5 months in the sun (inside the Sun Room window sill) did appreciably darken the cherry vases.
If I had it would take 420 pieces to make these 12 vases, I might now have started this project!! It was time consuming to scroll saw these 420 pieces.