Awhile back the notion of ironing a laser-printed pattern onto the
work came up. I recently needed to transfer a pattern. I chose to use
this method just to post this report.
The stock is 5/4 ash, the project is a frame saw. Because I was going
to spokeshave off lots of stock, I only trued one face and one side.
I use Adobe Illustrater for my plans because I like it.
This particular saw takes a 28" blade. The vertical members came out
to 19.75". Had to tile two pages to get the printout. I added two
registration marks in waste areas. Did a copy'n'flip to get two mirrored
patterns. Printed two copies. Cut out and taped the tiled pieces
together. Taped a pattern on the trued face of each vertical arm. I ran
the iron up to "Linen." (Also had a pattern for the mortise side with
registration lines to match up to the face patterns.)
OK, so the results. The seam where the two pages met was, of course,
exactly at a region of interest. Kind of like fighting your battles at
the corners of four map sections. The transfer went just fine on the
trued faces. Drilled 1/8 " holes through the reg marks and aligned the
mirror copy on the back sides. Surprise, the transfer on the back sides
missed the valleys. I only used two registration marks. Needed six,
three for each sheet. Even though I lined the pattern pieces up with a
straightedge, the tape gave a little. The tape caused another problem: I
used a scrap of aluminum foil twixt the iron and the pattern when I went
over the taped places. Transfer worked fine; the tape passed the heat
through. It also came off the pattern and stuck to the foil.
Once the toner gets stuck to the wood, it glues the pattern paper down
so it doesn't jiggle around. However, I suspect that if it cools too
much before lifting the paper, then the paper peels the toner back off
the wood. A couple of panels came out light, but my peel-off idea is
after-the-fact guessing, not direct observation.
I would use this method again. On thin stock, only one side might need
marking. I cared that the two verticals came out the same; I didn't care
if they matched the original pattern precisely. So, the misregistration
front and back wasn't too big an issue. I hadn't planned to put patterns
on front and back; I would have trued both faces.
Right now, the arms are roughed out and mortised. I'm working through
gnarly grain on the crosspiece. Fun with tearout, but that's a different
"Keep your ass behind you."