A clamp for holding a 3-D project while scrolling: firmly, securely
and at an exact 90° to the saw table.
The size of the jig you are going to make, as called for here, depends on the size of the project(s) you plan on doing. In addition to (or instead of) this one, you may want one 12" long. Or you may want one smaller. Eventually you probably will want both.
Find a scrap of 1/4" plywood, Baltic Birch or better, 8" to 10" long. Trim a small amount from the edge, on the table saw, just to square the edge up. Using the method described in Cutting Identical Strips
(enter 'strip' in the search box on the FAQ page)
cut 2 strips, both exactly 1/2" wide. The width is not critical, but having them exactly the same is. If they are uneven, the clamp will not sit at 90° on your saw table.
Sandwich the strips, face to face exactly, and tape them together with strapping tape. Double check to make sure the edges are even. Mark both pieces with arrows on the faces, showing 'UP'.
Measure up 1/4" from the bottom of your sandwich and mark it, 3/4" from each end. Use a center set or nail to make a starter hole on the mark if you don't have brad point bits. Using a drill press to get a 90° hole, drill a 3/16" hole through both strips at each mark. Run the bit in and out of the hole 3 or 4 times so the 3/16" bolt will fit easily.
At the hardware store buy 2-3/16"-2" carriage bolts. That's 2 carriage bolts, 3/16" in diameter, 2" long. The material is not critical, zinc, stainless, galvanized. But many places don't carry wing nuts for all kinds of bolts. And you need 2 wing nuts to match the threading, and also 2 washers. Then buy 2 more of the same bolts 3" long and 2 more 4" long. You may not need the longer ones for this project, but one day soon you will.
Back in your shop, turn your sandwich over so it is UPside up on the table. These wood strips are going to be connected with the bolts, and if you are right-handed, you will want the bolt heads on the left, the wing nuts on the right. Take the one you want for the bolt heads and draw a square tangent to each 3/16" hole. Each end would look like this, but this is just a sketch:
Take this strip to your scroll saw and cut the squares out. Don't cut both strips. Reassemble the sandwich without tape. Turn both strips so the UP arrows point down.
Cut another strip about 10" long, this one perhaps 1/32" less than 1/2" wide. Cut it in approximately half. Isn't that nice, not having to be exact for this step?
Glue one of the 5" strips on the inside face of each sandwich piece - on the face not marked UP. It is not critical to have them exactly centered, but the 5" strip should be even with the tops (the UPside) of the sandwich strips. Since all 4 strips are resting on the table, all will be even on the UPside of the package. And the bottom edges you are looking at are not aligned. Clamp them to dry.
After they've dried, put in the 2" bolts and put on the washers and wing nuts. You now have your jig. Test it with a block of wood about an inch wide, but one you know is square. Tighten the nuts, with the wood block exactly even with the bottom of the clamp. Set it on your scroll saw table (arrows UP) and see if it rocks. If it does, you weren't very exact. Do it over.
Even if it rocks a little it will still work for cutting thinner things, so you may not want to throw it away. But mark it so you don't use it for cutting a 3/4" 3-D figure or larger. But don't despair, you would have wanted to make another, larger, clamp for that anyway. One with 3/4" sides instead of 1/2".
You now have a Scrolling Hands Jig, with which you can exquisitely control the scrolling of anything you can clamp in it.
The pieces in the above photo were taped back in as they were cut, because it adds stability when cutting the surrounding pieces.
OK. There is the first item for the Forum. I hope you like it. Now it's your turn.