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Staff:
Material Purchasing - Mike, Graphic Designer - Mike, Scrollsawer - Mike, Accountant - Mike, Repairman - Mike, CleanUp - Mike, WebMaster - Mike, WebDesigner - Mike. As you can see, there really is a lot of 'me' is 'us'. So, here's something about me:
 
Born/raised in MA but now call GA home. Locally, that makes me a 'Damn Yankee'. ('Yankees' come and go back; 'Damn Yankees' come and stay!). 'Ya'll' comes real natural to me now.
 
Spent 4 years in the USAF with one tour in VietNam straight out of Tech School. (I wasn't a happy camper!) Cam Ranh Bay was home base but saw Bien Hoa, Saigon, Nha Trang, Buon Me Thuout, Pleiku, Da Nang and Monkey Mt (just outside of Da Nang). Then spent the remainder of my 4 years in Georgia which might help explain my Yankee status. Was honorably discharge in 1973.
 
Rates:
General: Rates are usually posted with the pattern or fretwork art. Finished fretwork rates can be affected by choice of wood, framing options (such as matting, frame style, etc.) and rush order requests. Rates do not include shipping and handling fees which are currently 20% of the selling price.
Custom: Submit a complete description of the project include photos or other imagery and request a quote.
 
Process:
All my cuttings are hand-made. None of the laser-cut or other automated processes that result in assembly-line, cookie-cutter clones. Hand cutting can take many hours hunched over the saw. I find that I can reduce/eliminate errors by limiting myself to about 20 minutes cutting with a 5-10 minute break to stretch. Here's how it's done (the old fashioned way):


 
1.Select a pattern. This might be a commercially available pattern, or a pattern created by a fellow artist, or a pattern of my own design (meaning very few others, if any, have it!).If a photo is the pattern subject, the photo is, if necessary, converted to a digital image using a scanner. The digital image is then manipulated with image editing software. Editing time varies depending upong the quality of the original photo, the number of people/pets in the image, the image background and the desire level of detail. Professional quality photos are generally best suited for this process but any clear, bright (not so bright as to eliminate all shadows, though) photo can be used. (Digital manipulation is an extra cost service.) The resulting pattern is submitted to the client for approval. Any requested changes are made, if possible, and the pattern resubmitted for approval. Client approval is required prior to making a cutting.

2.Prepare the blank. Most of my portrait fretwork is cut using 1/8 or 1/4 inch Baltic Birch plywood. BB has very little grain pattern and is used for this very reason. A distinct grain pattern can detract from the delicate fretwork and veining. I also use solid hardwoods for projects like clocks,letter openers and desk plaques. The blank is cut to size, generally 8x10 inches for portraits, and sanded smooth on both sides.

3.Transfer pattern to blank. The pattern is printed on 20lb paper using a laser printer, inspected for flaws, trimmed to size as necessary and then glued to the blank.

4.Gates. Each interior cut requires a small diameter hole through which the saw blade will be threaded. Gates are drilled using a vertical drilling station. The number of gates depends upon the pattern. Some patterns require hundreds!

5.Sawing. Now the fun starts. The blank is moved to the scroll saw where the sawdust starts flying!. One end of the saw blade is removed from the holder and threaded into one of the gates. The blade is remounted in the holder and that area of the pattern is cut away. This is repeated for each gate until all interior cuts are made. If the final piece will be irregularly shaped (like the patriotic ribbons), the outside of the pattern is cut. The paper pattern is then removed by applying mineral spirits.

6.Sanding. Now that the pattern has been removed, a final sanding is needed. A small palm sander is used to remove frayed wood (fuzzies) from the back; the front also gets another sanding.

7.Backing. Some pieces may require a backing of some sort to which the piece is glued. The backing serves two purposes. One, it provides a stable 'platform' to help protect fragile areas from breaking. Two, it provides a suitable back-drop that helps emphasize the fretwork. Backing is usually flat black in color but some pieces are enhanced with a single color (maybe blue to simulate dark water). The material used for a backing varies from painted wood to paper to felt depending upon the desired affect and whether the piece will be framed or frameless (like the patriotic ribbons). Frameless pieces are generally backed with 1/8 inch Baltic Birch plywood.

8.Finishing. Framed pieces generally have no finish appied such as lacquer or stain. Portrait fretwork is secured in wooden frames with glass or plexiglass acrylics. Pieces such as letter openers or trivets are treated with one or more coats of Boiled Linseed Oil and allowed to air dry. Frameless pieces, like the patriotic ribbons, are sealed with several coats of clear lacquer.