The precautions that I was able to take, to try and provide, what I thought would be a completely stable platform, was to keep all the shaped off-cuts from any previous cutting (always a good idea) and reassemble the block from these. I had begun to do this prior to drilling, on the drill press, the entry holes for the scroll saw blade. Then with clear packing tape and hot-melt glue, I re-assembled the block.
Even with the block re-assembled there was enough flex in the assembly to make the cutting difficult, requiring extreme concentration constant stopping and a cautious cutting a little further from the line than I normally would. In some areas, where overlaying elements are to be carved and no saw piercing was possible, it would be only by carving that the forms could be established. So likewise I would simply have to carve up to the lines where I hadn't dared too close a cut.
With Most of the scroll sawing done I have started roughing out the major forms and establishing them at their various levels relative to one another, by carving their outlines, 'moving them down' in relation one another and re-carving as I go.
I had taken advice from David Western about the suitability of cherry for this piece. David had warned that apart from its general suitability for the particular needs of this piece and its sheer hardness, cherry had a tendency to be a bit splintery. I have found this to be the case. The timber cuts very crisply and cleanly with the grain but not so well across the grain where the fibres tend to separate into a slightly splintery texture. These areas where they occur, I notice, are easily cleaned up with some fine filing with a needle file, so I am confident that the long and careful finishing process is going to eventually bring up a surface that will do justice to a beautiful piece of timber.