Fret or scroll sawing is a modern invention by which much handsome work is now done especially for ornamental cabinet-making. The subject may be divided into woods, tools, and operations.
Woods for Fret-Sawing
Wood for fret-sawing must be good, free from knots, and perfectly smooth. Soft woods can be hand-planed to a sufficient degree of smoothness; but hard woods require scraping down with a steel scraper, and then sandpapering. The chief woods used are : -
Bird's-eye maple is close-grained, gritty in sawing, and polishes well, but needs much filling.
Black walnut is cheap, goes well under the saw, and is very generally used. Pieces of uniform shade and free from streaks should be chosen, except where the streaks would show up well.
Ebony is well suited for inlaying, and takes a high polish : but it is costly, and the hardness and closeness of grain render sawing difficult without applying olive-oil to the blade.
Mahogany is adapted to almost all work, being easy to saw, yet hard, close-grained, and susceptible of taking a fine polish.
Rosewood is close-grained and as difficult to saw as ebony, but polishes well.
Red cedar, though not hard, is troublesome to saw and liable to split. It is pleasantly fragrant.
Spanish cedar is soft and easily worked. Small articles can be made out of old cigar-boxes, when the paper has been got off and the surface sandpapered.
Satinwood has an elegant colour and lustre, with considerable hardness and a close grain, and polishes well.
Tulipwood has a reddish streaked appearance, a finer and closer grain than satinwood, and is capable of being highly polished, but it is costly.
White holly is very popular in America, being very easy to saw, while possessing a fine close grain.