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Scroll Saw Techniques and Tips

A scroll saw is one of the best tools for craftsmanship. You can use it to create a myriad of designs and creative projects. This is most advantageous for its versatile cutting capacities. It can work into get into small, tight spaces and carve curves and intricate cuts. There are many scroll saw techniques for you to use to create wonderful works.

Originally designed for scrollwork and other delicate ornaments, you can also use them in DIY and home improvement tasks. You can use it to work on a variety of materials from wood to metal to plastics. But it’s most popular for woodworking.

To really take advantage this power saw, you need to learn and master the skill of scroll sawing. The Saws Expert team presents you this comprehensive guide to scroll saw techniques and tips. These will help you be more efficient in using your scroll saw. From work prep to maintenance.

Scroll Saw Techniques

Work prep

Before using a scroll saw, you need to prepare yourself and your tools.

Here are some preliminary tips:

  1. Get a scroll saw with variable speed. Read the manual thoroughly.
  2. Find a mentor. Ask and get trained by someone who has been sawing for some time.
  3. For designs, prepare paper patterns. Then tape them onto the workpiece to get the most accurate cut lines.

Selecting Materials

Whatever material you use, you need to sand it before you work on it. This is specially important for projects such as fretwork. This will enable you to cut smoothly through and into the material.

The material you choose is also significant. Choose materials based on their project.

For woodworking:

  • Domestic woods – fretwork
  • Exotic words – unique projects

Cut only dry material. Cut it with a dry blade. Wet wood, in particular, will lead to deterioration of the blades.

To ensure the good condition of your materials, store the wood in a dry place, preferably a flat surface.

For warped materials, wet the surfaces with a rag. Then, place it on a flat surface. Put some heavy object on top of it. Let it dry for at least seven days.

To prevent burning materials, put a clear packaging tape over the material pattern. This will help lubricate the scroll saw blade and avoid flames.

Choosing Scroll Saw Blades

Get a flat-end scroll saw blade, which need clamps to hold it in place. The pin-end type is not suitable for sharp and detailed cuts.

Check the teeth of the scroll saw blade with your thumb. Run it up the front of the blade. Check that the teeth are pointed down and to the front.

Check if the blades are sharp, secure and rust-free. NEVER USE A DULL OR BENT BLADE. You risk a shoddy workmanship and accidental injuries.

Adjust the blade tension. Use the blade adjustment knob on your scroll saw to get the correct tension.

If there is none, flick the blade until you get the right sound. Too high, and the the blade is too tense. Too low, and the blade is too loose.

Setting Your Work Table

After checking your scroll saw blades, set the scroll saw table. Put it directly in line with your mid-torso, whether you’re sitting or standing. This offers you clear view of your work and your tool.

Then make sure that the scroll saw blade is directly in line with the table, and not learning away from it.

Learn More – Scroll Saw Safety Tips

Cutting Techniques

After preparing your work setup, you need to learn and master the cutting styles you can do on a scroll saw. Here are the scroll saw techniques in cutting you can practice.

Cut slowly if you are a beginner. This will help you learn and get accustomed to how your blades tend to cut.

For curve cutting, keep your eyes and cutting line at least 1⁄16″ in front of the blade.

V-block

This is one of the basic scroll saw techniques you should use. Use this for cutting rounded wood. This technique ensures the wood won’t won’t roll into the blade. This prevents the material breaking or jamming up.

Grain direction

Use grain direction for improving the output quality of your project. You can choose on different effects such as highlighting the particular pieces of material or using only grain patterns that match your pattern. This scroll saw technique can up the aesthetics of your workpiece.

Stack Cutting

For experienced scroll sawers, stack cutting is one of the most necessary advanced scroll saw techniques. This means cutting multiple pieces simultaneously. This will help you work faster and more cleanly. But you need to execute this well.

stack cutting - one of the scroll saw techniques

First, stack the pieces of material. Place the good sides of all the pieces in the same direction. Then set the double-side table between the layers and wrap it around the outer parts. Lastly, glue the layers together and insert small nails into the cracks.

Double Sawing

Double sawing is an advanced scroll saw technique for making more attractive pieces. Here you apply the pattern to two sides of the material, most commonly wood. Then put the crease onto the corner of the blank (make sure that it is exactly square).

Zero Clearance

scroll saw techniques

This is one of the most important but complicated scroll saw techniques. Here you make an insert with a DIY zero clearance. First, identify the radius of the semicircular ends of the wooden insert – or the elongated hole. Then find the distance in between the internal centers.

Constructing Shapes

Use a compass for this scroll saw technique. Just get a piece about 5/8″ thick to make an insert. Reinforce the insert with a few splines to prevent splitting.

Then, cut the slots on the ends of the wood. For best results, use an efficient Tenon jig or clamp the piece on a sturdy block of timber.

Glue some material pieces to the slots. Then cut out both of the radii and fit them in the scroll saw. Hold the insert down and use the spinning blade to protrude it. Afterwards, insert the new insert.

You should drill the holes to make some room for the arbor flange. Finally, you should adjust the insert height. Don’t forget to add a pin to the insert back. This will prevent it from moving from the hole. You should also put several varnish layers on the top and bottom of the insert.

Carving Operations

Carving operations are tedious and time-consuming. But once you get the hang of these scroll saw techniques, it is rather simple to execute.

Drilling A Hole Into The Material

To avoid material splits, set a scrap piece of wood below your workpiece. This will make your material stable and it can absorb the pressure of the blade throughout both pieces of wood. Regardless of the texture of the material, doing this will ensure that the wood won’t split.

Replace Cutouts Back Into Place

After making inside cuts or designing works with removable pieces, return the cutout pieces back into your larger piece. This prevents the material splitting by stabilizing the entire piece.

Scroll Saw Maintenance

One of the most significant scroll saw techniques is the maintenance measures.

First, turn off your scroll saw. Then you need to take out the work piece from your scroll saw. Use the builtin dust blower of the scroll saw to brush off the saw dust and material debris from your tool.

Lubricate the Scroll Saw and Blades

Remove the saw covers. Then turn the saw on its side. Rub lubricant around the shaft end. Only use lubricants indicated in the scroll saw manual. Leave the saw in this condition overnight. Then repeat this process on the other side of the saw.

Remove the scroll saw blades and rub lubricants on them to avoid rusting.

Take Care of the Scroll Saw Table

Apply paste wax on the scroll saw table so that your cutting machine glides smoothly. Doing this will make your scroll saw last longer.

Conclusion

Scroll saw work is one of the most creative and intricate projects you can make. Whether you will work on intarsia, jigsaw puzzles, or a few curved patterns, you need to learn the cutting styles and steps you can do with your scroll saw. To progress in your woodworking or crafting skills, understand and master the scroll saw techniques in this guide.

Hopefully this guide can help you in your scroll saw work journey, whatever skill level you have.

To learn more about scroll saws, explore the official Saws Expert website. Here we can help you find the best saw for your needs. So you can create fine and attractive work pieces of high standards.

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7 Major Types of Scroll Saw Blades

We at Saws Expert endeavor to help every craftsman and woodworker in being more learned and skillful in scroll sawing. This comprehensive guide on scroll saw blades will help you be more aware of your tool and pick the right blade always for the task at hand.

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Scroll Saws’ Adaptability on Crafting

Scroll saws are artisanal power tools of any wood worker. Its very name implies the possibility of creative works by crafting. Learn how to have fun with this saw now!

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Scroll Saw Safety Tips

scroll saw is a powerful tool that allows you to take your woodworking and design skills to the next level and is a must-have tool in every workshop.

The DeWalt DW788 Scroll Saw Review

While you can have fun cutting out intricate patterns with a scroll saw, you also need to be careful so as not to harm yourself or others in the vicinity. This power saw focuses upon its finesse rather than power. All the more reason for you to work precisely, with little to no error. Remember, to be efficient in any tool is to be safe while using it to its fullest potential. 

Whether you are a beginner, advanced or professional woodworker, you need to learn how to handle a scroll saw safely. We at Saws Expert present this handy guide to Scroll Saw Safety Precautions.  

Here, we will talk about: 

  • Accidents that can occur with a scroll saw
  • Scroll Saw Safety Precautions
  • The essence of practicing caution while working with a scroll saw

Accidents that can occur with a scroll saw 

South Wales sliced off his own hand while scroll sawing

South Wales sliced off his own hand while scroll sawing

As with any tool, scroll saws can cause serious injuries if not handled carefully. In 2009, scroll saws led to over thirty thousand injuries with substantial hospital treatment. Most of these injuries from scroll saw use are lacerations to the fingers and hands resulting from contact with a moving blade. 

If you do not mount your scroll saw properly on a stable stand it can easily be knocked over. Breaking blades – can send flying fragments and shrapnel into your eyes.  Saw Dust – this should be an obvious one, but if you get saw dust in your eyes, you put your hands and fingers at risk if you close your eyes.

Most accidents are avoided if the user is vigilant while using a scroll saw.

Scroll Saw Safety Tips

To work efficiently with a scroll saw, you need to learn a few safety rules on how to operate the machinery. 

Below are some scroll saw safety rules every user should follow to avoid hurting themselves and others. 

Before Using the Scroll Saw 

Inspecting the scroll saw

Inspecting the scroll saw

  1. Clean your workplace. Sweep up all dust. Mop the floors, if necessary. Make sure that you have a clear view of the area where you will be working with the scroll saw.
  2. Use Flat Wood – Wood that is not flat can damage the blade on your scroll saw. 
  3. Inspect the scroll saw for damage or disrepair – This inspection must also include the saw blade (the blade teeth are pointing down, saw blade is undamaged, sharp, and properly secured in a vertical positionthe blade guard is in place and belt guard is closed and tight.)Periodically, check the electrical cord and plug for defects. If you see any defects with the plug or cord, make sure you repair it or replace it before you use it. 
  4. Use proper safety gear – This includes safety glasses (not reading glasses or sunglasses), dust mask, earmuffs, and a work apron. Never wear gloves, a tie, loose clothing, a watch, rings, or jewelry when using a scroll saw. Tie long hair back or secure it under a hat. 
  5. Choose the scroll saw blade you will use and set it based on the work you want it to do. First, install the blade with the teeth pointing downward. Select the correct speed and type of blade for the work you are doing. Adjust the blade tension before starting the saw.   

While Working 

scroll saw safety tip while working with it

scroll saw safety tip while working with it

  1. Keep your hands, fingers, and body parts away from the blade –  Never have your hand or fingers in the line of your cut. Your fingers should be positioned at least 12 inches apart on either side of the blade while operating the scroll saw to have maximum control
  2. Materials to Avoid: Never cut boards with nails, staples, or foreign materials. Never cut round material without the proper equipment to keep it from rolling unintentionally
  3. Nothing should be in contact with the blade when you turn the machine on
  4. Adjust the hold – down to the thickness of the wood to be cut so it presses lightly on the surface of the wood you are cutting.  This keeps your wood from vibrating
  5. Cut slightly to the scrap side of your line of cut
  6. Move scrap pieces away from the blade with a push stick, do not your fingers
  7. Don’t force the scroll saw –  Be patient with it. Feed the wood into it slowly to avoid breaking the saw blade
  8. Don’t turn too sharp – This can damage and break the blade on your scroll saw
  9. To back out of a cut – turn off the saw.  Slowly and gently move the board to get it off of the blade
  10. Always unplug the tool – make sure the blade is not moving before touching the blade to make any need adjustments
  11. Tight inside or outside of the pattern – make relief cuts before you start. Cut just before the pattern line, to avoid a notch in the finished path
  12. Cutting small pieces of wood – Glue your wood to a piece of cardboard or thin plywood.  This allows helps to keep your fingers safe and out of harm’s way. The rubber cement is a great glue to use as it is relatively easy to break the bond when you’re done
  13. Blade breaks –  turn off the machine immediately. Back away from the saw and check yourself for any injuries. If you have injuries, immediately get your first aid kit or go to the hospital.

After Using the Scroll Saw

cleaning a scroll saw

cleaning a scroll saw

  1. Turn the scroll saw off – Then remove the blade. Check for any damage on the tool and saw the blade 
  2. Clean the scroll saw – Remove the covers and blow the dust out of the wheels.
  3. Clean up your workplace – Sweep and vacuum all the dust and debris that built up while you were working. Above all, make sure that your workplace is clean and uncluttered, ready for your next task

Conclusion 

Being safe while using a scroll saw is important for everyone who wishes to work efficiently and master this powerful tool.  The key to working with a scroll saw is to not be forceful with it.  Let the tool do the work, so you can make your cuts with precision while being safe. Using the right blades for the right material and regular cleaning both the saw and your workplace will leave your scroll saw in great condition for years and help keep you safe.

To learn more about scroll saws, visit Saws Expert. Saws Expert guides you through the process with everything from choosing a scroll saw with our in-depth product reviews to how-to guides. Here we can help you find the best saw for your needs

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What is a scroll saw?

If you are a crafter, DIYer or woodworker, you will need a scroll saw in your workshop. This is the best tool to cut exquisite designs out of many different materials from wood to metals. Originally designed for scrollwork on wood, you can use it to make magic on your work from parquetry to fretwork.

scroll saw

It can cut complex cuts such as curved lines, plunge cuts, and intricate patterns. This quintessential cutting tool for crafting is a stationary machine that smooths smoothly as you move materials around it.

A scroll saw blade is typically characterized by a fine tip that facilitates the necessary precision required in crafting extremely intricate designs. Scroll saw blades are generally narrow with an average length of 5 inches and an average width of ⅛ inches.

Much of the scroll saw’s precision facility is a direct result of its extra fine teeth and high Teeth Per Inch (TPI) measurement–more teeth per inch basically translates to higher levels of precision; higher TPI measurement make for faster and more accurate blade turns that are important in crafting intricate patterns out of wood and other materials.

If you need finesse in your creative tasks, get a scroll saw.

 
 
 

Types of Scroll Saws

Scroll saws primarily vary in power supply and type of speed. The scroll saw that you will choose depends on your work routine and the materials you will work with.

Scroll Saws by Power Supply

Corded

Shop Fox W1713 16-Inch Variable Speed Scroll Saw

These powerful scroll saws get their power from being plugged into an electrical outlet. Most corded scroll saws feature long cords for optimum maneuverability. They also pack a lot more power than their cordless counterparts because they can work longer at consistent performance.

Cordless

DEWALT DW788 1.3 Amp 20-Inch Variable-Speed Scroll Saw

Cordless scroll saws run on batteries, which makes them portable and easily used anywhere. Innovations in these type of scroll saws include long-lasting batteries and fast chargers to help you work more efficiently.

You can find scroll saw batteries with voltags that range from 12V to 18V. 

Combination

Some latest scroll saws in the market are designed for flexible work management. You can easily switch from corded to cordless scroll saw with a few steps. 

Manual Scroll Saws

Last but not the least is the traditional scroll saw which is run manually by pedaling it akin to a sewing machine.

Types of Scroll Saws by Speed

Fixed-speed Scroll Saws

Scroll saws with fixed speed cut materials with a particular speed that you cannot change. This type of scroll saw can only cut the material it is designed to cut.

Variable Speed Scroll Saws

On the other hand, variable speed scroll saws offers the worker full control of speed just by the flick of a speed trigger button. This type of scroll saw can help you work faster from one material to the next – since you can adjust the speed of the saw with the hardness of the material.

Traditional Scroll Saws vs Modern Scroll Saws

Traditional mechanical scroll saws have been around since the 1860s. Traditionally, the mechanical scroll saw has been mainly used to craft of traditional scrollwork–which is how it got its name. Scroll work in this era are complicated sculptural ornaments that sport scroll head designs.

Today, to accommodate for an even wider range of scrolls saw projects, there are over 50 different models of modern scroll saws available in the consumer market–each offering different spec variations such as throat capacity and variable-speed setting, among others.

Scroll saws are very flexible in terms of price range; chances are you can find affordable models for as cheap as $100 and more expensive models that are somewhere around the $2000 price category.

Scroll Saw vs Jigsaw vs Band Saw

Scroll saws, jigsaws, and brand saws are often confused with each other mainly because these three workshop types instruments serve closely related functions such cutting and crafting patterns out of materials. Nevertheless, scroll saws, jigsaws, and band saws are three very different cutting implements–and each offers its own compelling reasons as to why it deserves a own place in your workshop.

A scroll saw, as previously discussed is typically a small stationary machine that is specifically engineered to cut and craft, in clean-precise fashion, ornate, elaborate, and intricate designs out of relatively thin materials–usually under 2 inches in thickness.

A jigsaw or saber saw , on the other hand, is generally a less specialized more versatile, jack of all trades kind of cutting instrument. As opposed to the scroll saw being a stationary machine, a jigsaw is a handheld power tool that is equipped with a narrow straight blade. Jigsaws are typically used for making plunged cuts and crude freehand cuts out materials such as wood and light metal.

Lastly, a band saw, much like a scroll saw, is a stationary machine that allows its user to cut and carved cured pieces out of materials like wood. Vertically adjustable, a band saw is more of an all around workhorse when compared to the scroll saw. A band saw is built to cut through generally thicker materials. And although there are very limited situations where the band saw can compete with the scroll saw’s ability to craft complicated and elaborate cuts, the band saw more than makes up for this in terms of its ability to generate raw power and speed.

What do you use a scroll saw for?

So what do you use a scroll saw for? Scroll saws are very popular among intarsia, fretwork artisans, and woodworkers because of its ability to make very precise cuts even in extremely tight corners–such precision is simply unachievable with any other woodworking implement.

Additionally, for enterprising woodworkers, scroll saws make for a convenient way to mechanize primary cutting procedures without putting out a huge investment both in terms of money and workspace.

Among the most popular modern applications of scroll saws include

  • Crafting curves
  • Crafting dovetail joints
  • Crafting intricate designs
  • Cutting in tight spots
  • Cutting at an angle
  • Pierce cuttings

How to Use a Scroll Saw

  1. Take the necessary safety precautions.

Before you turn the scroll saw on, make sure that you are properly wearing your protective glasses and dust mask. If necessary, you might want to consider tying your hair or wearing a hat to hold your hair back. If you are wearing sleeved clothing, make sure that you pull it back so your sleeve are nowhere near the blade.

  1. Prepare the materials that you will be working with.

Roughly cut the wood or whatever material you will be working with into the proper size. Sand the wood clear of any rough edges. Draw guidelines of the pattern want to craft out of your material. Make sure that the guidelines are visible enough.

  1. Prepare the scroll saw for cutting.

Clamp your scroll saw on your workbench. Choose the proper blade according to the pattern you wish to cut. If you’re working with thinner materials, you would likely need a blade with smaller teeth; thicker materials would require a blade with bigger teeth.

Install the blade onto the scroll saw–making sure it fits properly and securely.

A good number of scroll saw models have a light and dust blower mechanism–make sure these too are turned on to. Before cutting your material, you might want to test the saw on an extra piece of wood to make sure that you have chosen the correct blade and that the scroll saw is working correctly.

  1. Start cutting away.

Set the speed of your scroll saw if you’re using one with a variable speed setting. A good rule of thumb to remember is that that thick woods and hardwoods generally require higher speeds while softer woods such as maple and poplar and other thinner-softer materials require much slower speeds.

Use both of your hands to control and guide the material along the blade of the scroll saw. Take as much time as you feel you need in completing the cutting process. Rush cutting makes you prone to making mistakes. This is dangerous as much as it is wasteful as you could easily hurt your hands and cut out a crooked pattern out of your material.

  1. Finish up the pattern.

After successfully crafting your desired pattern out of your material, make sure that you turn off your scroll saw. While the scroll saw typically provide smooth cuts, you might still want to sand down any rough edges by hand using fine-grit sandpaper.

Conclusion

A scroll saw is a wonderful handy tool to help you create masterpieces from your workshop. It can cut exquisite designs into many different materials. What’s more impressive is its smooth, precise cuts that help you get the best outputs from your sketched works.

When it comes to scroll saws, you can buy low-cost models for general hobbyist projects or invest in higher-end saws for pro-grade works. Get a scroll saw and soon you’ll create magic in any woodworking, metal, plastic and glass projects.

To know more about scroll saws, visit Saws Expert. Saws Expert guides you through the scroll sawing process with everything from product reviews to how-to guides. Here we can help you find the best saw for your needs. So you can create fine and attractive work pieces of high standards.

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The Beginner’s Guide To The Scroll Saw

If there’s one power tool that’s the easiest to use and has the most specialized use for cutting wood, it’s undoubtedly the scroll saw. Although referred to as a specialty saw, these power devices are actually quite versatile in what they can achieve, but with the added bonus of being able to create intricate cuts and delicate designs.

Scroll saws have been a popular tool of choice for centuries, with some believing that the very first variation was around the 1500s.

Although these tools likely look nothing like the powerful devices we know today, the same basic logic is applied to how they work and what they’re capable of. For many woodworkers and metalworkers, there’s no better tool to use on their projects than the scroll saw.

Scroll saw.

So, what is it that makes these tools so unique and why are they favored by so many? We’re going to take a look at some of the most popular uses for scroll saws and just how versatile they can be. Not only are they great for basic woodworking projects but a whole range of DIY and home uses, too, so they’re certainly a worthy investment.

Just like any power tool, though, owning a scroll saw comes with a set of responsibilities. Although they are famously easy to use and one of the safest types of power saws around, a user should still be careful to operate it correctly and give it the ongoing maintenance it needs.

With a quality scroll saw that’s been well looked after in your workshop, you’ll be rewarded with years of service and versatility from this one magnificent power tool

What Is A Scroll Saw?

There are so many different types and styles of saws around, and just figuring out which one is which and what their best uses are can be a headache. The scroll saw is a fairly simple style of saw that’s mainly used by woodworkers, as its number one benefit is how it can get into small, tight spaces and carve intricate patterns and designs.

Scroll saws are quite small when compared to other saws, and they are operated either electrically or with a pedal. These saws are capable of making finer cuts thanks to their blade, which can be so small that they’re about the same width of a strand of hair.

For this reason, there really is no comparison if you’re looking for something to make intricate cuts and do elaborate designs.

A scroll saw works by using a pivoting table that the operator can move as they wish, with the blade staying in the same position. They were originally designed to carve scrollwork and other delicate ornaments, so they have quite a long history in these types of projects.

Scroll saw cutting wood.

By using a reciprocating blade, the scroll saw works in an up and down motion which enables it to achieve these fine cuts. One of the huge advantages these saws have is that you’re able to remove the blade and then place it through a pre-drilled hole, so you can saw from the inside of a piece of wood as well as the out, all without an entry slot.

Although you are able to get scroll saws that work with all kinds of materials like plastic and metal, the most popular format is wood. Any good woodworker will have a scroll saw in their workshop, and for many of them, it’s the only tool they rely on as it’s capable of doing so much.

Some might find the initial cost of investing a scroll saw expensive, but with a quality one that lasts years, they really are one of the only things you’ll ever need.

The Best Uses For A Scroll Saw

If you’ve never used a scroll saw before you might be surprised to learn just how versatile they are, even though they’re considered by many to be a specialty saw.

Scroll saws can be used just about anywhere you need either commercially or domestically, depending on the size of the saw and the project you’re working on. Here are the most common ways that people put their scroll saws to good use.

Arts And Crafts

If you’re someone who loves to create with your own two hands rather than waste money on poorly made home décor or gifts for people, a scroll saw is a good choice. You can make scalloped mirrors, wooden nativity scenes, door hangers, name plaques, and more with the intricate blades of the scroll saw.

Some might even like to start their own home business making arts and crafts when they see how easy it is to create something beautiful.

Hobbies

For many owners of scroll saws, they have one purely to satisfy a hobby. There are so many woodworkers out there, both amateur and professional, and all of them undoubtedly have a scroll saw in their workshop.

Using your scroll saw.

You can make furniture for the home and office, create garden pieces, and renovate some of your existing household items into something unique and intricate with a scroll saw.

DIY Work

As an added bonus to getting creative, many homeowners find that their scroll saw is the perfect tool for those odd jobs around the house. You can cut PVC pipe, create joints and curves, and fix anything that’s broken with a scroll saw. Just be sure you're using the right style of blade for the job otherwise you can do serious damage to the saw itself.

People love the scroll saw because it’s so simple to use and when compared to other styles is considered one of the safest. This means it’s ideal for beginners to woodworking and loved by those with years of experience, so either way, a quality scroll saw is going to be a worthwhile investment.

The Difference Between A Scroll Saw, Jig Saw, And Band Saw

Even those with years of experience operating a scroll saw might still find themselves confused when comparing them to other saws. If you’ve never bought a saw before you might be especially confused about how they differ and which ones are best for which projects, so we’ve done a quick comparison of the scroll saw next to the jigsaw and band saw.

Price

This is all dependent on the brand that you choose and whether you might consider refurbished or second-hand models. A good scroll saw is relatively cheap when compared to the other types with most beginners being able to get a good quality one for around $200 or less.

Functionality

The jigsaw is used to bring the tool to the work, however, a scroll saw must stay in one position. There are some products that allow you to remove the saw from the base but this effectively changes the type of saw it is. A scroll saw is a hybrid of both band saws and jigsaws so you get the best of both worlds.

Ease Of Use

The clear winner for the easiest saw is the scroll saw, and it’s also considered the safest of the three. Because they are operated with a pedal it’s easy to keep your hands clear when you need to, and there is no danger of losing control and hurting yourself like you’d find with a jigsaw.

Versatility

There’s no doubt that the band saw is considered the most versatile of all the saws, and would best suit someone looking for an all-rounder to use at home. You can get benchtop band saws that are small and portable so you can carry them around to the different jobs you’re doing.

The scroll saw is best suited for intricate designs like arts and crafts, hobbies, and DIY jobs around the house, where the jigsaw is great for larger cuts.

Scroll saw craft.

In an ideal world, every workshop would just have one of each saw and be able to enjoy them as they needed. For most people, though, their budget is restricted and so is the space in their workshop, so choosing one is important. If you use your saw for intricate cuts, woodworking, and arts and crafts, there’s no denying that the scroll saw is a clear winner.

What Types Of Blades Does A Scroll Saw Use?

Many manufacturers of scroll saws will include some blades in with the saw packaging, but if you’ve never shopped for blades before it can be a challenging topic.

If you ask a sample group of scroll saw owners what their preferred blades are it’s likely you’d get a different answer from each of them, so it can be a personal decision. Here are some of the common styles of blade and what they’re best for:

Reverse Tooth

These are the most common style of blade, featuring ¾ of the blade with teeth facing one way to cut from the top and the other ¼ facing the opposite direction and pointing upwards. The main benefit is less sanding when you’re done, which can save a whole lot of time and energy.

Skip Tooth And Double Skip Tooth

Just as the name implies, a skip tooth blade is missing a tooth on every second one. These can reduce the wood burning but also create a more aggressive cut. A double skip tooth blade is even more aggressive which makes it easier to manage for beginner woodworkers.

Non-Reverse

These blades are when every tooth faces down rather than some pointing in different directions.

Depending on what you’re making, there’s likely to be a blade that best suits the project. If you’re completely new to woodworking or using a scroll saw you might even like to test the blades out on some scrap wood, then you’ll get an idea of where it’s going to be most beneficial.

How Deep Does A Scroll Saw Cut And Why Size Matters?

If you’re wondering just how far your scroll saw can cut, it’s best to look at the manufacturer’s guidelines. Scroll saws are categorized by the size of their throat which is how far it measures from the blade to the rear frame.

If you’re after something that only needs to work with thin and small pieces of wood, you’re able to get them as small as 12 inches on the throat. Those scroll saws used in commercial settings are far more heavy duty and will measure up to 30 inches.

An average scroll saw is around 16 – 20 inches, but it all depends on the projects you work with and what type of wood you’re cutting.

Another important thing to factor in with the size is the depth capacity, as this will also need to be considered depending on the material you’re working with. Depending on the model, a scroll saw should be able to cut from 1-3/4 inches and 2-1/4 inches.

The Right Scroll Saw Speeds

In order to choose the right scroll saw, you also need to understand how the speed can affect the cut. With such a huge variance across all of the models, it’s quite difficult to give a general number of what they can achieve, so it’s best to look at what each speed is capable of.

18" variable speed scroll saw.

The slowest saws run at about 400 strokes per minute (SPM) with the fastest going to 1,800 SPM and above. A variable speed is capable of shifting through the different speeds depending on what you need and is generally recommended.

Slow

A slow scroll saw is best used for very thin materials or those that are easily broken or damaged. Things like veneers, soft plastics, and walnut are a few types which need a slower speed.

Medium

A medium speed scroll saw is the most commonly used and is ideal for average thickness types of wood or non-ferrous materials.

Fast

When working with something tougher it’s best to use fast speeds on your scroll saw. These can include leather and most styles of wood.

Top Makers Of Scroll Saws

There are so many different brands today that make power tools and scroll saws in particular, but if you ask the serious woodworkers they’ll know who the best is. Here are some of the most respected and reputed scroll saw manufacturers and what each of them can bring to the table.

DeWalt

If you look at the workshop or shed of any American, chances are you’ll find a DeWalt tool there. DeWalt scroll saws are generally more expensive, but that’s because they’re built to high standards and the preferred choice of serious woodworkers and metalworkers.

Wen

Wen is one of the more budget-friendly makers of power tools and they’re great choices for people looking for an entry level saw. Wen scroll saws are quite basic when compared to others but they’re affordable and easy to use, making them perfect for beginners.

Delta

Delta Machinery has one focus and that’s to create the best tools for woodworking. Delta scroll saws have been made with the expert knowledge that this company has, packed full of the features that are crucial to woodworking and with everything that makes for an easier and smoother operation every time.

Shop Fox

This American brand has a long history of woodworking which makes them a great choice for your next saw. Shop fox scroll saws are made with care and all the necessary features but at a fraction of the cost of what you’d expect to pay for some so well made.

Dremel

Dremel is another American brand famous for its rotary tools, and the Dremel scroll saw range is seriously impressive. This brand is well within the budget of most woodworkers so they’re perfect if you’re looking to get started with this popular hobby.

How To Replace The Blades Of You Scroll Saw

Each saw is different and will have a unique way to replace blades. However, you should always do so wearing safety equipment and following the instructions at all times.

You’ll need to loosen the screws just enough so that the blade comes loose and then pull it up and towards you to remove, with others styles requiring you to move the blade back and forward to remove it.

When putting the new blade in, you’ll again need to refer to the specific instructions that came with the saw.

Generally, you need to place the blade in with the teeth down and insert it the opposite way that you removed the old blade.

Tighten the screws back up and test out the blade before commencing on any projects.

Changing the blade on a Shop Fox scroll saw.

Some Tips For Your Scroll Saw

Every year, hospitals and emergency rooms see a lot of injuries due to the use of power saws, with miter saws being the single most dangerous of them all.

On this list, the scroll saw doesn’t even feature, which speaks volumes to how safe it is when compared to the rest. Scroll saw safety has a lot to do with ongoing maintenance and correct usage, so here are a few tips you can use.

Some people might like to purchase a magnifying glass that can be attached to the saw so you’re able to see your work more clearly. This is especially helpful for those very intricate cuts using a fine blade.

To test the tension of your blade you can pluck it as you would with a guitar string. If it makes a sound like a nice, clear ping then it’s the correct tension. If not you’ll need to adjust the screws accordingly.

If your scroll saw doesn’t come with a light attached you can easily mount one to it. Look for a gooseneck light that can be moved and adjusted as you need so that it’s never in the way of your work.

The teeth of a scroll saw can sometimes turn 180 degrees especially after tensioning. Every now and then it’s best to run your thumb up and down the blade to feel the teeth and see if any are pointing in the wrong direction.

The blades of a scroll saw won’t last as long as you might think, with about 30 minutes of heavy usage all they can take before they should be replaced. When purchasing a saw, it’s best to get yourself a lot of backup blades so they can be ready to get when you’re working on longer projects.

You should never attempt to cut wet wood with your scroll saw, so if necessary you have to air out wood first to ensure it’s dry. Wet wood is a lot harder to cut and it will easily wear out your blades and saw without you even noticing, so don’t attempt it.

Don’t use worn sandpaper on any of the cuts you’ve made otherwise it can ruin their effect. Only work with coarse and new sandpaper to ensure a smooth finish.

A Versatile Addition To Any Workshop

Ask any woodworker around and they’ll undoubtedly tell you that the scroll saw is their all-time favorite tool. Although considered a specialty saw, there’s actually quite a lot these amazing devices can do, and if you’ve never owned one before they couldn’t be easier to operate.

Using a scroll saw.

If you’ve never invested in a scroll saw before or are simply looking to upgrade, there’s quite a lot to consider before you make the big purchase. We’ve compiled a thorough buying guide that can help point you in the direction of the market’s top picks and what features you shouldn’t be without when choosing this important accessory.

Scroll saws were designed with such simple beginnings but have gradually become the woodworker’s number one tool. No other saw can create such intricate designs and lines as the scroll saw, so if you’re looking for versatility and specialty all rolled into one, you can’t go wrong with the scroll saw.

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