Tips and Tricks for Learning the Scroll Saw
January 20, 2023

First and foremost, safety. The scroll saw is one of the safest motorized woodworking instruments available. Don’t be deceived, though; any power tool poses a risk. You should have adequate ventilation, a mask, and safety goggles on as usual.

Keep your fingers away from the scroll saw’s blade, and be careful around its reciprocating arm because it has the potential to break a finger or worse. Most scroll saws have a spring in the arm that prevents the broken top half from falling into the project or your hand when a blade breaks. In any case, it would be helpful to know whether or not your saw will respond in this manner.

To securely hold down your project while still letting it to move freely, use the work piece guard. As you gain experience, you might conclude that the guard is unnecessary or perhaps a hindrance. Use the guard if you’re just starting off.

A fantastic tool to learn carpentry with is the scroll saw. Because it cuts slowly, less “quick-thinking” is required. If you ever feel stuck, all you have to do is turn off the electricity and unwind. Anytime you’re dealing with a machine, you need always be vigilant, and appropriate lighting is crucial.

Selecting a Scroll Saw -There are numerous features to take into account when selecting a scroll saw that you might not think about before learning the “ins and outs” of the pastime, but once you do, you could fast wish you had considered these items before making your purchase:

Blade Suspension – How you use the machine, the projects you can complete, and the availability of blades will all depend on the blade suspension mechanism you select. The fundamental distinction between blade suspension systems, which only accept one of these two types of blades, is between pin-end and plain-end blades. Learn more about these differences below. In the field of scroll sawing, it is a well-known fact that Plain-End (or pin-LESS) blades are the greatest option

You’ll be changing blade types and threading blades through the stock for inside cuts pretty frequently, so quick-release blade clamps and a tension adjustment mechanism placed forward make these tasks much simpler.

Two distinct styles of blades Even though there are various blade types, all scroll saw blades share a number of traits. We’ll merely go over the gist of the features here. Making decisions should not be based solely on the advice of one source. You should experiment with a variety of blades to find the one that works best for y

Blades for scroll saws are all quite thin. Some resemble strands of human hair! Like any cutting tool, all blades feature a lot of teeth and cutting surfaces. The purpose of the blade determines how many teeth per inch (or TPI) it should have. The cut will be smoother and more accurate with higher TPI, but it will also be slower and more delicate.

Pin-End blades and Plain-End blades are the two types of blades that scroll saws will accept (flat blades). When you think of a general-purpose cutting blade, you think of plain-end blades. The scroll saw pins this type of completely flat blade in place between the jaws of tiny clamps. The scroll saw’s work table is secured by two clamps, one above and one below it, and the blade is threaded through a hole in the table to allow for free upward and downward motion.

The Plain-End blades are more widely available and are considered the standard for most long-time scroll sawyers. Many different varieties of Plain-End blades are available from many different stores, so you’ll always be able to get them.

Pin-End blades, on the other hand, have a tiny cross pin in each end. The cross pin is the main difference between the two types of blades. These pins rest in a hook-like holder. The upside and main selling point of Pin-End systems is that they are much easier and quicker to change. The downside to Pin-End blades is mainly two-fold: there is less availability and, as you get more ambitious with your choice of projects, the Pin-End blades (because of the pins) may not be able to be threaded through very small holes required by these projects.

Never purchase a tool without first watching it in action. Any well balanced instrument will vibrate sparingly, if at all. You should experience quiet operation from your scroll saw.

If a blade is there, it should look as a clean, thin black line moving upward and downward; if it is blurry, something is wrong (maybe it is easy to fix…maybe it is a permanent flaw).

Some people fervently believe that any respectable scroll saw must have a variable speed control. As we’ve previously stated in relation to blades, you should think about it and come to your own conclusion. A slower cutting speed may be necessary for some tasks than others.

It could be necessary to cut a particularly hard wood at a high pace (1,200–1,800 strokes per minute) or to produce a fine cut. To cut softer wood, a low speed (400–800 SPM) may be employed.

A saw may have one speed, two speeds, or be completely adjustable to almost any SPM. Our opinion is that a scroll saw with two speeds, slow and quick, is the greatest option for a beginner who is concerned about cost because it will provide you some versatility without really costing you anything.

The distance between the reciprocating arm’s front swivel or mounting point and the blade’s cutting edge is known as the throat capacity. The size of the work piece the saw can handle depends on its throat capacity. The work piece starts to move toward the back of the saw where the arm swivels as you start to drive it into the cutting blade. In contrast to a table saw, the wood will eventually reach its limit. All scroll saw designs have this built in. 18 is a good neck capacity “. If you’re not a true professional with specific requirements, a saw with 18 “will almost ever be an issue. Noteworthy is the fact that the scroll saw is not made for all jobs, because it is a specialized tool.

Optional Extras – There are countless add-ons for your scroll saw that you can purchase. Some items are more useful than others, as you might expect. Some are gimmicks, while others are useful.

Quick clamps and blade releases — The blade clamps on the majority of scroll saws in the past had to be operated with a hex key or other unique wrench. More tool manufacturers today are providing models with blade clamps you can loosen or tighten with your fingers. You can definitely update your saw if it doesn’t already have these features because there are so many aftermarket components available. highly advisable.

Blowers—Exactly as their name implies, these tools are air hoses that can be placed where the blade makes contact with the wood stock, blowing away the accumulated sawdust. Not actually required, but if you don’t have one, prepare for a lung workout.

Magnifiers/Lights: As you work on more complex projects, a magnifier and a lamp are frequently combined, and both are quite helpful. This add-on enlarges the pattern lines so they are simpler to see and cut. There are other head-mounted devices available. The importance of lights outweighs that of the magnifying feature. Excellent lighting is crucial!

Foot-activated Power Switches – These devices, as their name so aptly describes, sit on the floor and allow the operator to shut the machine down by simply tapping the toe. Tap it again to start back up.

A Little More About Blades – We’ve already discussed the two main blade types, Pin-end and Plain-end.

Let’s now discuss the best sort of blade to utilize for various projects and types of wood. The ideal TPI will vary based on what you’re cutting, since we’ve already addressed T.P.I. (teeth per inch). Again, the general rule is that the more teeth, the slower and finer the cut will be, whereas the less TPI, the more aggressive and rough the cut will be. Odd numbers are used to identify blades, such as 1, 3, and 5, among others.

It’s truly up to the user; there is no definite blade guide that will specify precisely which blade to use for each application. However, here is a quick illustration:

1/4″ birch = No.3 blade

1/2″ poplar = No.7 blade

1″ oak = No.9 or No.12 blade.

You will learn the blades as you become more comfortable with the scroll saw. Here, we are providing you with broad information, however although one scroll sawyer may advise a No. 7 blade for 3/4” oak, another scroll sawyer may advise a No. 5, while a third may advise a No. 9 or 12. Use the information provided here to begin going, but we strongly advise you to experiment.

Standard blades have teeth that point in one direction.

Reverse-teeth Blades – Reverse-teeth blades, like the Flying Dutchman we sell, have most of their teeth facing one way, just like a conventional blade, but they also have a few teeth facing the other way, allowing for a smoother cut when the blade cuts back up through the wood. You’ll spend a little less time sanding with these blades.

Spiral blades. These blades are covered in teeth all the way around. Imagine a cylindrical shredder with infinitely variable cutting angles. They sound fantastic, but issues like breaking, difficulties controlling cut, quick dulling, and weak cut are frequently noted. Maybe give them a try. No matter which blades you select, you should determine which are finest for your preferred scrolling technique.

You don’t need a huge supply of blades to make nice projects. Starting with a set of No.3’s, 5’s, 7’s and 9’s is great. There is a lot to know and learn about scroll saw blades, so just jump in and get started feeling out what works best for you.

Keep in mind that leaving the saw running while the wood is still in place could result in burns. The feed rate is essential. Never insert wood too quickly. Slowly and gently apply pressure. You’re traveling too quickly if the pressure causes your blade to bend.

The finest piece of advice is to take your time, enjoy the tool, and exercise patience.

Thank you for visiting the great scroll sawing hobby.