What is a Scroll Saw?

Last updated: October 7, 2020
Published 6:09 pm

Introduction

A scroll saw is an electrical or pedal-powered saw that woodworkers and other artisans use to make intricate curves when cutting wood and metal. The origin of the name is from scrollwork, which involves sculpting ornaments and delicate designs. It would be best to have a scroll saw to make those delicate and complex patterns on your project. A scroll saw will provide you with the flexibility you need to create beautiful designs on the wood or metal.

The scroll saw is similar to the bandsaw, but it has a reciprocating blade and not a continuous loop like you may be thinking. The blade is very fine, which makes you able to make delicate and neat cuts. You can use scroll saws to cut plastics and other thin materials too. You can check out other reciprocating saws

Scroll saws usually have a small light, which illuminates what you’re working on, and it also has a dust blower too, both of which help your design process and makes it easy to cut delicately and accurately. You can adjust the speed, and this gives you greater control over the cutting process.

Types of Scroll Saw Blades

There are two main kinds of blades for scroll saws: the pinned and pinless blade. You may be able to find a saw that supports the use of both blades.

Pinned blades are more sturdy and thicker than pinless blades. They are made especially for woodworking on hardwood; they can cut through tough wood. Pinless blades are made for working less tough wood; they are flat end blades and allow you to make more intricate cuts than you will be able to make with pinned blades.

A major advantage of using pinned blades is that it allows you to cut through tough wood, and easily lock the blade and set the blade tension. However, you can’t insert the blade in a small hole to make flexible cuts. Pinless blades are accurate; however, you may have some issues with locking the blade into position and set the tension correctly.

What to Consider Before You Get a Scroll Saw

You have to consider a few things before you buy a scroll saw, and we have helped you with the important things you need to consider before making a purchase.

Size

There are different sizes of saws to get depending on what you want to cut. You can get a regular-sized scroll saw if you will be cutting thin wood or plastic and plexiglass. However, if you need to cut something about 20 inches thick, you need to get a larger saw. As a hobbyist, you don’t need to have a big scroll saw, but professionals may need to have a large scroll saw.

Speed

The speed of the saw needed depends on the material you want to cut. If you are working with tough materials, you need low speed. However, soft materials require faster speeds. Modern scroll saws often have variable speed control, so you get to adjust the speed depending on your need.

Blade Type and Tensioning Mechanism

There are different blade types, as we have mentioned earlier. Some scroll saws allow you to use multiple types of blade, while you can use just one type of blade with most saws. Also, check out the tension mechanism available because you need to use the correct tension for the job at hand. The location of the tension mechanism is important since you will need to change the tension quickly, so go for a saw with the mechanism in front of the saw.

Dust collection

Visibility is a priority when making delicate cuts. As such, some scroll saws come with a dust blower that blows away dust or a dust collector so you can see what you are doing. You can also check if the saw has a lamp that will also aid visibility.

Price

Price is important and a major influence on your buying decision. If you don’t have a lot of money, you will have to spend within your budget, so you may not afford a premium saw. If you are a hobbyist, it doesn’t make sense to invest thousands of dollars on a scroll saw. However, if you are a professional, you may have to invest a lot in a scroll saw.

Safety Tips for Handling a Scroll Saw

When you are working with saws generally, you have to be careful to avoid bodily injuries and damage to property. These are safety tips you need to know when you are working with a scroll saw.

  1. Ensure you have attached the scroll saw securely to the workbench to prevent accidents. Before you turn on the saw, make sure the handles are locked.
  2. Make sure the blades are always pointing towards the table or workbench and away from you, and make sure to clear the table before you turn it on.
  3. Before you make any adjustments or change the blades, make sure the scroll saw is unplugged to prevent the saw from accidentally cutting you.
  4. Use the correct type of blade for your saw, and make sure you are using the appropriate tension too.
  5. Do not reach under the workbench when the saw is operational.
  6. Wear safety goggles to protect your eyes.
  7. Keep your fingers away from the workbench while the saw is running and avoid placing your fingers in the saw’s line of cut.

Conclusion

Scroll saws are used to make intricate designs, profiles, and patterns. They are commonly used by artisans, especially woodworkers, to produce carvings, create intarsia, lettered signs, etc. A scroll saw offers you the precision you won’t find when you use other saws.

As a woodworker or a craftsman working with wood, metal, plexiglass, etc. a scroll saw is an important addition to your collection. Scroll saws are easy to work with and are relatively safe to use as long as you’re careful handling it. Check out the Best Metal Cutting Saws‘ if you work with a lot of metals.