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Intro to Scroll Saw 2: Glue-Up and Painting

How to scroll saw

Lesley De Abaitua with Oak & Feather Decor

This video was made in partnership with Klingspor’s Woodworking Shop

Slam on those breaks! If you haven’t yet seen part one of this video lesson, go back and watch that one first! In that video, you will learn how to perfectly plan and carry out a stacked-cut floral sign using your scroll saw.  Lesley did an amazing job detailing techniques for making beautiful signs from start all the way to the finish – well, almost.  That’s where THIS video comes into play! We couldn’t squeeze all the info into one video so we figured we would have her do a second one that really focuses on the finishing techniques.

Ok so let’s get caught up! The DeWALT scroll saw that Lesley uses has a 20” throat. There are a wide variety of saws on the market, some smaller and some larger but the size of the saw does not limit the size of the projects you can make. The DeWALT retails for about $620 from Klingspor’s Woodworking Shop or you can consider the higher-end option, the Pegas, which comes in closer to $1,000.

The DeWALT does have a stand you can use to adjust the height that allows you to sit. Lesley’s  scroll saw is set up to use a foot pedal. This way, there is a deadman switch that allows for a quick stop and start when doing a lot of detailed cutting. 


When you look for scroll saw blades, you will find that they are numbered. The higher the number, the wider and thicker the blade and the less teeth per inch (or TPI). The lower the number, the thinner the blade and the higher the TPI. 

When selecting your blades, you need to know what material you are planning to cut. When you’re starting out, it’s a pretty safe bet to go with a mid-range blade, which would be a #5 blade - this blade will leave a small trace when cutting, meaning it takes only a mm or 2 of material out as you cut and depending on the material you use, it can cut anywhere 1/8” to 1” thick. For this project, Lesley is cutting through stacked MDF of ½” and ¼” thickness totally ¾” thick, and she’s opting to use a #5 modified geometry blade by Pegas.

If you want more details on when to use which type of blade, go back and re-visit this blog post as it is loaded with good info!


An often overlooked step, sanding is vital for getting a nice smooth finish whether you are using paint, stain, or oil.  For sanding edges, Lesley recommends using two things: a micro zip and just straight sandpaper. She uses these two things by hand to have a lot of control over the contours and to be able to get in all the little crevices.  If you want to try something that allows you to have a different grip, these sanding sticks are another great option.

For shaping, and adding dimension, Lesley uses a rotary tool and various sanding abrasives and carving bits. When you’re sanding you want to ensure you have a good surface for painting, which is smooth and as free from debris as possible. Working through the grits is good practice and one little tip for people who are able to shop at Klingspor’s Woodworking Shop in person, check out the bargain bin for excellent deals on sandpaper!

The Finish Line

Now that you are caught up to this new video, let’s talk paints! Lesley’s preferred spray paints to use are acrylic based for faster dry times and more predictability in results since oil based paints can sometimes be a little finicky, especially with humidity or varying temperatures.  The painting process is not a quick one and it’s really important to take your time with it.  Getting that first coat on is going to make your project look a little unsightly and fuzzy to the touch – that’s normal!

Take this opportunity to go back and sand yet again - we know - you’ll make it.  You have to knock down those fuzzies in order to continue painting and get that silky smooth finish! A great tip from Lesley is to focus on coverage for the sides at first.  The overspray will subsequently get decent coverage on top as a bonus and your sides will be well-covered.  

Hand-painting is another option if you don’t feel confident spraying.  This isn’t the fastest method but you can still get a beautiful finish.  Lesley dilutes her paints when hand-painting to make it go on a little smoother.  If you do decide to spray, make sure you utilize one of Lesley’s BEST tips and use the upside-down sticky tape method to spray your pieces on so that they don’t fly away from the power of the spray!

Be sure to watch the full video for all of the instruction from Lesley and to see her sign-finishing techniques in action.  If you are looking to get started with projects like this where you’ll be sanding or painting, creating dust and fumes that could be damaging to your lungs, this is a great mask to look into purchasing as a good option for PPE that protects against both particulates and vapors.

We hope this information from Lesley was helpful to you in getting your scroll saw journey started! If info from this blog or video helped you improve your finishing game, let us know! 


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