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Scroll Sawing: Pattern Transfer

Transferring Scrollsaw Plan to Wood

Making a copy:
With any project, it is usually a good idea to keep the original copy of your pattern intact, in case something happens and you need to start all over. If a particular pattern turns out to be your favorite seller and you consistently trace over the same lines, eventually the original deteriorates to the point it is useless. With the original tucked away, you can always start over.

The other thing to remember is that not all photocopiers make exact duplicates. If it is important that the copy "exactly" matches the original in size, make sure to lay one on top of the other, to check before proceeding. Do not use two different photocopiers for two halves of the same project. You may have trouble, where they link together.

Tracing Method:
This really requires little explanation, but I will leave you with this...if it is a large tracing, try using low tack masking tape to hold your pattern and carbon, in place while tracing. It is frustrating to get half way through the job, and have it move on you.

We typically think of carbon paper as the black stuff from school days, but if you are trying to trace onto walnut this paper may be of little value. Try a few hobby stores to find coloured carbon paper. Yes, it really does exist..... even in white and yellow... often available from someone that teaches folk art painting. It really is great on dark woods.

Use a coloured pen to trace, as it will be easier to see what you have done. Don't remove the tape until you are sure all lines are traced.

Gluing your pattern on:
(particularly for Intarsia Plans) First cut a duplicate of your pattern into each of its individual pieces. Lay the pieces on top of your original. Number for easy reference. You can use almost any type of glue to apply each paper pattern piece to the face of the chosen wood, but some adhesives pose less problems that others. I have used a glue stick for very quick projects. Glue the pattern in place, cut it and peal off the pattern in one short space of time. The draw back with most glues, is avoiding the long tedious process of removing the paper. Often you can use mineral spirit, after the fact, to help release the glue and tear back the paper. With small pieces, I flat sand the paper off on a table mounted belt sander.

The best answer is to use a spray mount or repositional, low tack spray adhesive used in the art world for mounting photographs or artwork to backing boards. 3M puts out a product called Super77, but there are other products of a similar nature. Ask at your local craft or framing store. Read the directions on the can. Don't overspray the paper, or it will buckle and be difficult to adhere to your wood. If it doesn't peel off easily when you're done, again, apply a limited coat of mineral spirits to the pattern, let it sit a bit, and you should be able to peel it off.

Iron On??
A photocopy of your pattern can in fact be ironed on. Flip it upside down on your work, heat your iron up to high and iron over the back. This will soften the carbon from the copy and transfer it to your work. It actually does not a bad job, as long as the wood is well sanded (but no sawdust left on the surface) and the wood is not really grainy. If it has a lot of open pores, like on oak, the iron cannot transfer the carbon easily. It works well on pine and basswood.

I've also heard you can wipe mineral spirits on the back of the copy and it will soften and transfer the pattern to the wood as well. Experiment with both ideas but don't forget it reverses your picture.

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theWoodbox.com Jan 2007