In a day and age when we depend on computers to do everything from making coffee to driving our cars, one local man is saying goodbye to his manual wood-working craft.
Richard Myers, 79, of Logansport Road, has enjoyed his hobby of using a manually-operated scroll saw to create treasures.
Although having several electric scroll saws in his workshop, he found a Velocipede scroll saw made in France in 1876 and fell in love with his workworking all over again.
“In 2007, I went up to Vermont to meet with John Nelson, a famous scroller who designs scroll saw patterns and various things. He had some antiques on sale. My wife and I went up and seen them. I bought this Velocipede and brought it back home.”
Nelson is considered a master craftsman by scroll saw enthusiasts and is a frequent contributor to Scroll Saw Woodworking & Crafts magazine. He is the author of 10 books about scroll sawing, and has spent thousands of hours at the scroll saw, authored dozens of patterns, and built some of the most beautiful examples of scrollwork to be found.
Myers then found himself joining “Blazing Blades of Pennsylvania”, a scroll saw club that was just forming at that time.
“We got into the festivals at Saxonburg during August and September. We would go over, setup, and demonstrate scroll sawing. As a club, we didn’t do any selling. I would put the Velocipede in my truck and set it up alongside another electric saw. We would cut wooden figures such as animals or cars and pass them out to the kids. It would get people interested into scrolling.”
Myers said there are many people that have no idea about the art of scroll sawing.
“I used to carry a photo album in my fanny pack because a lot of times you talk to somebody about scroll sawing and they say, ‘What’s that?’ and I would break out my little pocket album and show them pictures of examples of scroll sawing.”
The Velocipede became an instant attraction at festivals.
“A lot of people couldn’t figure the Velocipede out. I would sit on the tractor seat and peddle away like a bicycle and the blade is going up and down and I am cutting the wood making things for kids. The faster I would peddle, the faster the blade would move. When you get to a tight spot where you need to slow down, the brain takes over and you automatically slow down to get around the corner of whatever you are doing and speed up a little later.”
Myers said the Velocipede is not light.
“It’s all steel. It’s pretty heavy – maybe as much as 100 pounds. We set up on a piece of plywood that I would sit on the ground.”
Myers said that on average, he would sit and operate the Velocipede for as long as a half-hour at a time, peddling and cutting wooden shapes.
“That’s one of the advantages of the Velocipede. You would get your exercise while you were scroll sawing. You can go until the blade breaks, replace the blade, and go at it again.”
He said that in the last few years, he hasn’t been going out doing festivals as he once did. So instead of the saw collecting dust, he now has it for sale.
“I have three other electric scroll saws in my shop. I have been using them.”
He said he has an extra belt as well as multiple blades for the machine.
“Other than belts and blades, the machine is all original. It has the original coffee cup stains on the table, and steel frame.”
Myers is asking $1,600 for the saw. To schedule an appointment to see it, Myers can be reached at 724-763-8481.