Thursday, March 12, 2009
Where the Jeweler's Saw Shines
This bookcase is one of my pride and joys. A number of years ago, my wife gave me a book titled Blackie and Sons The Victorian Cabinet Maker's Assistant. It was filled with what I thought were accurate scale drawings. Turns out, not quite.
I followed the drawings to a T only to discover that the top portion of this bookcase could never hold any books on the shelves - they were too short! The two months' worth of carving the side pieces for the top had to be done all over again, only taller. Aargh! Sometimes miniaturing is an exercise in patience!
Everywhere you see fancy filigree on this piece, I used a jeweler's saw to cut it out. The teeth on a jeweler's saw are so tiny on the smallest blades, you can't even see them. You can only feel them when you run your finger up the blade. The blade I currently have in my saw is .48 deep by .2 mm thick. In inches, that's .013" x .007". Tiny! You can drill a hole the size of a pin and thread the blade up through to do your cutting.
The disadvantage to using a jeweler's saw is the delicateness of the blade. If you don't keep the saw perfectly vertical as you saw or if you try to push too hard as you make a downward stroke, the blade snaps. If you're lucky, you may have snapped it at one of the extreme ends of the blade instead of in the middle, which means you can shorten the saw and keep using the same blade! (I LOVE that about the jeweler's saw!)
By the way, there are three layers of wood in the front drawer of this bookcase and on the sides, too. I cut out the outside of the carved design first from 1/32" cherry wood, then glued the piece to another equally thin piece of cherry wood. (I used clothes pins as my clamps to hold the piece in place while it dried.) Then I cut out the inside, giving me a depth of 1/16". Then I glued this piece to another 1/32" piece of wood. So, it's approximately one inch thick in scale.