I found an art form I love

My artistic side took on a new outlet after I was surfing the net one day about nine years ago. I came across something that absolutely intrigued me. It was a clock that was cut out of wood... I don’t mean just the housing, I’m talking about the gears and everything. It was designed so that the gears are exposed and are moved by a pendulum. It is something to see, and to me it looks like a moving piece of artwork. I had to know how someone could make that.

I found out that they used a scroll saw. Not knowing what that was, that was my next search. For those of you who don’t know, think of a sewing machine using very thin blades instead of a needle. Like a sewing machine, the saw moves the blade up and down. There is a surface -- a tabletop -- and you push the wood through the blade following a pattern. Because the blades are so small, the designs can be quite intricate.

After doing a bit of research, I bought a saw for about two hundred dollars. This was a nice saw, but the really good ones cost a few more hundred dollars, and I wasn’t ready to invest that much, not knowing any more than I did. My son, who was seventeen or so at the time, immediately took to scroll sawing with amazing aptitude. He could cut out some of the most intricate designs with speed and dexterity. Without exaggeration, he could rival anyone that had been working for years on the scroll saw. I can honestly say this (because so many scrollers put their work online and we also subscribed to scroll saw magazines); it’s not just fatherly pride talking.

When I saw how good he was and the potential for him to make some income from it, I purchased a much better saw. Sad to say, because of our lack of marketing know-how, he had to give up the idea of sawing for income. I guess also we just didn’t get his work in front of the right people, because he got a lot of praise on his work, but didn’t sell much.

It did permit me to make some interesting design patterns, which have taken on a whole different life in the wood than they had on the paper. In a future article, I will share some of the designs I have made.