Scroll Saw vs Coping Saw: Which Should You Get?

Scroll saw vs coping saw. These saws are very common in toolsets and workshops everywhere. They both can cut intricate shapes in wood and many other materials. They can be used by beginners and experts alike. But these two cutting tools vary in use and versatile cutting capacity.

For tradesmen, choosing which saw to get for their work can be daunting. There are many factors to consider such as your skills, budget, work routine and the capacities of the saw.

A scroll saw is a stationary cutting tool especially famous for its angular cutting capacity. It can make intricate cuts, including circular cuts and plunge cuts. This saw is especially useful for detail-oriented projects such as intarsia, jigsaw puzzles, and parquetry.

On the other hand, a coping saw is a simple hand saw unique for its pull-stroke mechanism. This helps a lot in creating intricate piecework. This saw is the saw for elegant carpentry tasks.

If you feel overwhelmed in trying to choose between a scroll saw and a coping saw, don’t worry. The Saws Expert team can help you in your decision-making process with this comprehensive guide on Scroll Saw vs Coping Saw.

Scroll Saw

A scroll saw is a power saw that cuts with precision and accuracy for intricate details. This works well for scroll work, inlays, mosaics, intarsia and various mosaics. It cuts well with an ultra-fine reciprocating blade which can handle delicate work on everything from wood to metals.

This saw works so well in cutting curves, patterns and delicate designs into thin materials. This is a particular favorite of artists, woodworkers, and toymakers.


The possibilities of creative projects with a scroll saw on thin materials are endless! Think marquetry, intarsia, 3-D fractals, jigsaw puzzles, designing plaques, letter and number carving, cutting boards and more!


  • Versatile in ultra-fine and detail-oriented cutting – everything from smooth cuts to plunge cuts
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Variable speeds


  • Cannot work on thick materials
  • cannot do straight cuts
  • Bulky
  • not portable
  • Reliant on electrical power
  • limited to crafting projects

Coping saw

A coping saw is a hand saw – designed with a D-shaped frame – that cuts on every pull stroke with a thin fine-toothed blade. It is the saw for curved cuts and elegant carpentry.

Its name comes from its primary purpose of making coped joints. Cope is a carpentry technique wherein you join the ends of wood moldings, at the inside corners which helps keep the joint tight.

Its special ability to cut from the middle of a work piece by removing the blade and stringing it through a hole or cutout makes it ideal for detail-oriented piecework. With this, you can make curves and turns on wood, plastic and metals.

They are several types of coping saws which include a jeweler’s saw.


  • internal and external cuts
  • Cutting moldings and coped joints.
  • Etching detailed patterns into wood, metals, and plastics and more
  • Creating intersections, joints, and curves, especially in corners.
  • Trim work
  • cutting out parts from wood or plastic pieces without affecting other sections of the work piece.


  • Lightweight and portable
  • Fast, strong and flexible cutter
  • easy blade changes
  • Easier to use than a scroll saw
  • Offers more controlled cuts
  • Affordable
  • Great for precise and intricate cuts such as coped joints or fretwork


  • Not good for thin materials
  • Limited accuracy due to its size
  • Cannot cut very deeply into materials

How to Choose Which Saw to Get

Both a scroll saw and coping saw are useful cutting tools for elegant and delicate works. You can definitely get any of these two to improve your work routine. Here are some factors to consider in your decision-making:

  1. What materials will you cut? Choose the saw that can handle the density and texture of the material you will work on. For thin materials such as soft woods, use a scroll saw. For thick materials, get a coping saw instead.
  2. What cuts will you do? The type of cuts you want to work on will determine the saw that you should use. If you want to work on crafts and projects of intricate details, a scroll saw can help you do this on a stationary position. But if you want to work on carpentry, trimming, coped joints, and other decorative work around the house, get a coping saw instead.
  3. How much can you invest? If you are just a beginner or cash-strapped, you should get a coping saw. This traditional hand saw is longer-lasting and more affordable than a scroll saw. But if you are more serious in your crafting or trade and have the money to invest, go for a scroll saw. This is especially great for complex, precision works.
  4. What do people say about the saw? Before you get a saw, look at the reviews and solicit feedback from people you know that work in a similar trade as yours. Ask them about which saws they use in their work routines.


​When it comes to intricate works, both a scroll saw and a coping saw are great cutting tools that will add a lot of functionality in your work routine. As mentioned above, which saw you will get depends on your work routine, skillset and budget to spare.

Both saws can make intricate and curved cuts. But a scroll saw is a stationary cutter for precise delicate cuts. While a coping saw is a hand saw that can work on carpentry and other general decorative tasks.

For the crafter who wants to make accurate, intricately detailed works, you should get a scroll saw. One of the best scroll saws you can invest in is the DEWALT DW788.

If you are a carpenter or woodworker, a coping saw is the better one. Not only does this last longer than a scroll saw, it also works for many other tasks in the job site. Portable and lightweight, you can use this as part of your regular carpentry tasks.

Hopefully this guide will help you create an informed decision and choose the right power saw to work on.

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, attractive work pieces and work successfully on any cutting task.

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