I've added these online instructions to show how easy compound sawing is. Each pattern pack will come with general directions and photos, as well as any special instructions needed. For best results, cut to the waste side of the lines to avoid removing too much material on the more delicate sections. Some of the patterns will have frets. In this case, cut all frets first from each side, then continue with the following steps. See the free practice pattern here.
For the best results and less frustration, start with the softest wood available such as Sugar Pine (which is the easiest wood in the world to work with), White Pine, or Basswood. The harder the wood, the more apt we are to distort the blade, so give yourself a break in the beginning, and stay away from hardwoods until you've had a little practice. Then of course, experiment with every thing! You'll soon discover your own favorites.
Step 1: Fold the pattern along the dashed line and adhere it to the working stock with spray adhesive. Don't be afraid to use plenty of adhesive as the pattern will not need to be removed as with other scroll saw patterns.
Step 2: Cut the left, narrower side first, in one continous line.
The #5 blade can be run at 1800 strokes per minute without breaking, but that doesn't mean you can't slow it down until you have a little better control over your saw. As you progress you will discover a feel for the subtle changes as the wood gets thicker.
For the very best results, saw to the waste side of the pattern lines. On some of the more delicate patterns, sawing directly on the lines results in removing too much material, which weakens the figure and breakage will occur.
Step 3: While allowing the figure to rest natuarlly in the block, pinch it together and tape around the block with cellophane tape. The longer patterns will need to be taped in two places.
Step 4: Cut the right side in one continous line.
Cutting between the legs first, where called for.
Step 5: Gently remove the figure from the block. The most frustrating part of compound sawing is a figure coming out distorted. In the beginning this caused me so many problems I was ready to throw my saw out the shop door. At one time, I thought maybe I couldn't do this, but I was just stubborn enough not to give up.
The main reason for distorted figures is us! When using the thicker, 1 1/2" stock with the scroll saw, its sometimes difficult to keep the feed running straight into the blade, especially when making sharp turns. It may not feel like you're doing so, but the blade is being pushed sideways, instead of running true, straight up and down. This is one of the draw backs of the flexibility of the scroll saw blade, but one that is easily solved with practice. The feel is subtle, and a conscious effort will be needed to know when you're doing this. You will feel the saw bog down a little after making a turn, like it's become harder to cut. The work may also jump up and down, sometimes out of control, when the blade is being pushed sideways. Back off just a little and let the blade right itself, then continue sawing. You will soon be aware of what is happening and will automatically back off ever so often.
Note on Quick Grips
You will notice a strange looking contraption attached to the working stock in the photographs. That is pieces of spare stock clamped to the work with two of the smallest Quick Grips. This helps to hold the work level to the table surface, which makes for a straighter cut. Using the spare blocks is not my original idea. I have seen several different ways of doing this, including using adhesive to hold on the spare blocks. However, I found the different methods to be too time consuming. I happened to notice my Quick Grips laying on the work bench one day and thought..... they don't call them "quick" for nothing. They worked perfectly! Keep in mind, snug the grips just tight enough to hold and not so tight that they interfere with the blade moving through the kerf. One way of checking for over tightness is to back your moving blade through the kerf. If it doesn't move easily then loosen the grips. You will also want to check that the whole contraption is sitting level and not rocking back and forth. If this happens, and you will feel bad vibrations. If this is the case, reposition the grips. You may find this a little awkward at first but you soon become used to it and wouldn't work any other way. The grips also give you a little more of a handle to hold onto and keep your fingers out of harm's way.