A plea to all UK scrollers


Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


Established Member
4 Jan 2007
Reaction score
Market Deeping. Peterborough
Hi guys,
I am relatively new to scrolling. This is going to be a bit of a rant so please bear with me!
I bought an ASWF18 from Axminster a few months ago.
Only had it 6 months and in that 6 months it went back to them twice. Fisrt time PCB in speed cotrol and second time they did not tell me cause. Full refund.
I then bought a Hegner Multicut 2s variable speed.
I do quite a lot of Steve Good's patterns.
He quotes 1/8" or 1/4" Baltic Birch.
Do any of you UK scrollers in UK know of a 2nd Mortgage free supplier?
I use Wickes plywood and it is absolute Carp! I use the cheapest masking tape I can find. My reasoning being that, so cheap it will not "overstick" and pull the laminations apart when removing pattern. The Wickes plywood does! It is from PRC [China]
I use reverse tooth blades but the lamination just splits off on both the top and bottom cuts. YES I am using new blades.
Just done 2 Deer pattern in 1/4 inch [6.5mm] and it is an absolute mess.
I mix my own shellac! Do you think a coat of shellac top and bottom would help the laminations stay together? If so what sort of finish over shellac?
IMHO we really are the poor relations in UK.
Blue painters tape in UK double the price of USA.
Baltic Birch need to take out a loan for it.
Brand new Axminster Scrollsaw returned.
Are you getting the message that I am well and truely in a bad place at the moment???????
Can anyone help please?
Not a scroller, but...

Go to local joinery/cabinetmaking shops and ask if they've got any spare offcuts of decent ply, guaranteed some will have some good scraps and they might even just let you have the smaller pieces, if not for free they'll be for pence.

Just get proper cheap yellow masking tape, the blue tape is rubbish and the only benefit is it's usually UV resistant so good for outdoor work and use with infrared lamps in car body spraying, even then I've never really seen it used in that side of things.

Don't listen to Americans!
Hi Trevanion,
I am using the cheapest "yellow" masking tape I can find but it is still pulling the top layer off the ply.
Out of interest, what sort of ply would the cabinet makers use? Too much plywood nowadays has voids in which looks terrible on the edges of cutouts.
My first suggestion is to not use masking tape

Use self adhesive labels which you can print directly onto , once cut a light wipe over with turps subs and after 30 seconds or so the remains of the pattern will come straight off usually in one piece leaving no residue

But my next suggestion is to try another supplier for your plywood, I always bought mine from one supplier here in Cornwall, last couple of times I found they had a different quality of plywood, its very light in colour and does exactly as you describe, it flakes off at the edges, no matter what blades I use

Try and find a supplier with the darker plywood, no one seems to recognise "Baltic Birch" here, or if they do they want the price of a house to buy it

You can buy Baltic Birch ply via ebay but again it costs a fortune
Hi Whatnot,
I have some shelf paper as advised by Steve Good.
Might try that then. Tight rolls at the minute so will try to press/flatten a few pieces.
As for prices, I know what you mean!
Isn't the shelf paper just wide sellotape?

I haven't used shelf paper as I am happy using self adhesive labels, all the tapes etc seem to me to cause more work and cost more
Shelf paper I have is 10” wide and on long roll. Possibly about 5 meters.
Peel off the backing paper to use/stick down.
I got the clear version so hope to just print on transparent side, peel off and stick.
As long as it will print and not smear.
4 and 6 mm birch is about £25 for an 8 X 4 sheet. That provides one heck of a lot of scrolling. I would suggest that when you look at how much time you are investing into a piece, the cost of birch is not that high. At the other end of the scale, cheap plywood will only be half that price but will seriously compromise the quality of your work. With virtually all the things I have bought, I may have found some things expensive, but it is the cheaper things which fail that I usually wish I had spent more on
So you still have the same problem as you would with sellotape, it adheres to the workpiece

You can't wipe that over with turps as its not porous

Can it be printed on? I thought it was a shiny surface ?

bwlossie":36v6o9up said:
Shelf paper I have is 10” wide and on long roll. Possibly about 5 meters.
Peel off the backing paper to use/stick down.
I got the clear version so hope to just print on transparent side, peel off and stick.
As long as it will print and not smear.
Barry, Baltic birch ply is used because it as no voids, try ebay, amazon or model shops to buy from. I've never used anything but repositionable spray glue to fix the pattern to the wood, currently using the Crafters Companion one in the purple can. Spray it on the back of the pattern, sand the wood to 240, clean off the dust then fix the pattern on. The only time I've used any tape it's been clear packing tape, it's purpose is to reduce burning of the wood.
I hear this about baltic birch, ie no voids, but all the bog standard ply I have bought up to the very recent lot have had no voids either

The last couple of lots I have had are very light , splinter up easily and have voids, so am looking elsewhere should I need to buy ply, I try not to buy any wood if I can avoid it, I much prefer reusing timber if I can
I think you are looking at things the wrong way.
I can understand your annoyance with the problems you had with your first saw but you were given a refund that you then put towards the cost of the most overpriced saw on the planet.
It now seems that you want good results using the cheapest material on the planet that will not happen.
Wickes is a builders merchant and the ply they sell is fit for purpose, you need to accept that good results need good materials.
I am sure there has been a topic on here about plywood grading systems.
I think B grade birch is the highest and is a real quality product. Most places stock BB grade which has a few small plugs but no voids or excessive surface. For smaller projects you can usually work round he plugs. Both these will sand up well on the edges with no voids and a uniform edge
At the other end the cheaper eastern plywoods and the soft wood CDX type grades have overlaps and voids in teh laminations. I have also found a much lesser bonding of teh outer face and in some cases complete delamination

I used to use masking tape religiously - I used 3M. But then I discovered temporary spray mount (it is like the sticky stuff on post it notes, only a bit stickier). It has been a revelation. You just spray it on, wait 30 seconds, and then stick the pattern to the wood. Once covered with sellotape (to lubricate the blade) it performs no differently to masking tape, except that you can easily peel it off leaving no residue at all. I use one by Crafters Companion, called Stick and Spray: Temporary Re-positional Adhesive, but there are loads of different makes. Just make sure you don't get the permanent adhesive.

As regards the plywood, I buy an 8 foot by 4 foot sheet of 15 mm birch ply for £45. I don't think that is too bad. I can make hundreds of things from that and it easily pays for itself. I buy mine from Ilkeston Ply and DIY but there are loads of merchants around the country. I choose them because they have a free cutting service so I can get it chopped into quarters to get it in the car.

As I don't live in UK I can't comment about ply costs there. What I would say is that you should look CAREFULLY all round the edges of ANY ply before you buy it. Things to look out for are:

1. The colour of the outer faces, "very white" is generally not good;
2. Are there any knots or other damage on at least one, ideally both outer faces? If so don't buy it. The fewer the better, none at all is best;
3. How many laminations? The more the better - at least 5 in a 12 mm sheet;
4. Are any of the inner laminations VERY white? If so don't buy it (it's VERY soft "filler wood");
5. Are the inner laminations regular or do you see "fill in humps"? If so don't buy it.
6. Is the board flat? If any more than slightly warped, don't buy it.

I do know for a fact that you can buy good ply (usually excellent quality in fact) from model aero shops in UK, but those are small size "sheets" and tend to be very expensive, relatively speaking. Also, if in model aero shops, do NOT buy what they call "Lite Ply". That's the stuff which has VERY white inner laminations, and the 2 outer faces are pretty soft too. NOT suitable at all for scrolling IMO.

I'm lucky enough to be able to source good quality ply from my local DIY place, but that doesn't help you of course. But what I would say is that once you've found some ply which satisfies all the above checks, you won't have any problems with splintering on cuts, nor with removing patterns. With decent ply I've used blue tape, yellow tape, parcel tape, and self-adhesive labels. None of them have created the sort of problems you describe when removing patterns.

You do of course need to make all the above checks every time you buy.

In short, not all ply is created equal so you need to do all he above checks before buying.

Above is assuming buying new of course. If sourcing your ply from old furniture (charity shops, etc) I'd still be very much inclined to make all the above checks - dunno, never done that.

I try to reuse old wood wherever possible, old furniture, scrap from building renovations etc

What I would say is that voids and poor grades of ply is a modern phenomenon

I have yet to find any old ply with voids or any of the problems found in a lot of modern plywood

Just over ten years ago I was selling plywood, and what you would call cheap plywood obtained from the cheapest possible source, it was almost all decent plywood

I assume the scarcity of resources and modern production methods, probably using every scrap they can find is causing this modern poor plywood

I can only see the situation getting worse myself
Good afternoon everyone,
Thanks very much for all your replies.
Just another couple of points........
Good afternoon power tools.
I assume with a name like that you are in reality Mr Axminster.
May I humbly request that you go back and re-read my first post.
With reference the return of my AWSF18 I did acknowledge the fact that I was given a full refund.
Yes, I did put that refund to the most overpriced saw “on the planet” but that overpriced saw has not been back to the supplier.
Try to use the cheapest plywood on the planet will not give results. If you re-read I was asking for a source for better plywood. Baltic Birch! I now find I don’t need to buy better ply.
This morning I carried out a suggestion I referred to, that is coating the ply with shellac. Would you believe it actually worked. That is on the Wickes “cheapest plywood on the planet”.
I am sorry if I offended you Mr Axminster? I did state, once again, on my original post that I was relatively new to scrolling. I am trying to learn.
Today I did learn something. Shellac both sides of the ply and that will stop tear off of the plys?
I have just found out how to see posters name.....you are not Mr Axminster. My apologies.
My comments however remain the same.

Latest posts