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Swede Bengtson Presentation


By Donna Zibley


Remember the old ad campaign from the ‘70’s and ‘80’s … "When EF Hutton talks, people listen!"? Well, the North Star Scrollers have our very own version of EF Hutton in Swede Bengtson. Swede has been the heart and soul of this organization since its inception. He has recruited the bulk of us, got us incorporated as a non-profit, gets us donations, and generously provided his home, workshop and refreshments for our club. The list goes on and on. Therefore, when Swede Bengtson speaks, members listen! And that’s what we did at the March meeting as Swede shared his knowledge about making wooden inlays.


Anyone who knows Swede, knows that over time he’s developed more tips, tricks and workshop gadgets than you can shake a stick at. He showed us sanding bows, sanding sticks, plastic degree squares, and miscellaneous teaching props, for example: Tester Thickness/degree sticks, inlay samples, and he showed us one of his own inlay kneckties. I heard more than one member comment that he wished he’d have heard his presentation prior to making his wooden tie for our contest.


Swede tells us that inlay work is all about precision and exactness. It must be done that way or your project just won’t look like you want it to. Swede gave us all kinds of ideas for how to do that. He stressed that “squaring the saw’s blade” is absolutely critical to inlay success. We all know a variety of ways to ensure that the blade is square to the table including: using a 3” metal precision square, a Wixey Digital Angle Guage, or sawing into a   1½ inch block of wood, then checking the cut by reversing the block to the back of the blade to see if the blade fits in to the initial cut. If not, adjust your table. Swede is also very flexible – read on…



Swede’s Alert, Alert, Alert: What do you do during a presentation when things do not go as planned. You just have to shift gears and move on. That's what happened at our last meeting with my Inlay presentation. When I got to the point where I wanted to demonstrate some techniques, something was wrong with the saw. There was no way a person could cut inlays with a broken scrollsaw table. The disappointing part was the techniques were to be shown on large screen for all to see. Well, we made it through, people commented that they learned a bunch of stuff, but I was embarrassed and disgusted. Oh well, next time may be better!” This editor says, “No need for apology or embarrassment.”

March Show and Tell


Swede's Presentation