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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.


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.


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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