Last Updated on July 4, 2020
A scroll saw is an extremely useful tool for woodworkers and artisans. If you are considering purchasing a scroll saw but not sure if you will benefit from all that it has to offer, we will help try and clear up this dilemma for you. A scroll saw has a very specific function and, if used correctly, can produce incredible works of art.
A scroll saw is very similar to a band saw in that you push the wood up against the blade to get the desired cut that you need. The difference you will find between the band saw and the scroll saw is the blade type. The band saw has a blade on a continuous loop, and the scroll saw has a reciprocating blade. The reciprocating blade allows for a much more precise cut.
On a standard tooth blade, the teeth are evenly spaced and are all the same size.
Wood blades have larger teeth with greater space between them to clear the sawdust as you cut.
On a metal blade, the teeth are smaller and closer together. These blades are also much noisier.
The next major type of blade is the skip-tooth blade. As the name would suggest, there is a skip or space between the teeth. It has half as many teeth as the standard blade. The wider space between the teeth keeps the blade cooler and makes it an especially good blade for beginners to use.
There are other specialty blades available like the spiral blade (pictured below) but most people will be fine using these two types.
Scroll saws are used for intricate cuts. This type of work would be something like an elaborate sign, a wooden toy, or jigsaw puzzle, or maybe a spindle you would see on a staircase. Think intricate patterns, slower work, severe angles, and circular patterns; the scroll saw will lead the way when it comes to these applications. Most scroll saws are going to work with a foot pedal so that the user can employ both hands to guide the wood that they are working on.
With this saw, you can turn the wood to create wavy lines, right-angle turns, zigzag patterns, and more. You can also make interior cuts.
To make an interior cut you’ll need to drill a tiny hole in the wood, large enough for the saw blade to fit through. Drill the hole as close to perfectly vertical as possible. Unhook the bottom end of the blade from the motor, put it through the hole in the wood, back through the table of the saw, and reattach it to the motor. Make sure you still have good tension, then proceed to cut whatever pattern you’re following – a circle, a spiral design, a maze pattern, etc.
If you decide that a scroll saw is precisely what you need to add to your workshop, here are a few things you will want to consider before making your final purchase.
When it comes down to whether you need a scroll saw, you need to consider the detail of the final product. If you are making a 48-piece wooden jigsaw puzzle, cutting with a band saw or jigsaw would be a bit of a nightmare. If, however, you are just trying to cut a few missing pieces of molding for your home, you may not need a scroll saw. Think of a scroll saw as a mix between a power saw and an Exacto knife. You will have the convenience of a power tool on your side with the precision of a human hand.
Kyle comes from a long line of woodworkers, craftsmen, and carpenters. When he’s not managing SawingPros, Kyle can be found in his workshop, testing and using every type of saw and power tool he can get his hands on. His favorite tool is a horizontal band saw and his favorite wood is maple.