What do you need a scroll saw for?
A scroll saw is used to cut wood or other materials. It is used for cutting small pieces of material which are too large to fit into a regular table saw blade. A scroll saw is very useful when you want to cut small pieces of wood, such as nails, screws, etc.
A scroll saw is used to cut thin strips of lumber, boards, and other similar materials.
Like many woodworkers out there, I use my scroll saw every day, sometimes more than once a day. Sometimes I have to make very small cuts for special interior molding and door casings. Scroll saws are not typically used to cut metal or other hard materials.
Scroll saws are similar to a bow saw in the fact that they both have a thin blade that is used for cutting. I have a huge drawer full of blades, mostly scroll blade variety, in many sizes. I use a dado stack for the bigger cuts. The difference is a bow saw typically has a wooden handle and is powered by the user’s arm/hand movement rather than an electric motor. A scroll saw uses an electric motor to drive the blade. I also use a fluting blade for cutting the fluting on my pilasters. I have a large number of blades that I use for special effects and artistic endeavors.
I’ve owned a scroll saw for years and it still gets a lot of use. I don’t think you could ever have too many blades, at least not in my line of work. A scroll saw can be used in place of a bandsaw in most instances due to the smaller size.
A scroll saw is also quieter and vibrations aren’t as dangerous when using one. Blades are very easy to change out on a scroll saw. The downside is that the blades can be expensive, especially the better quality ones. I need to buy more blades soon. Blades are smaller than those used on a bandsaw, making them easier to handle and store. A scroll saw is an excellent tool to use around the house and for hobbies.
I just used my scroll saw to cut up some pallet wood. I had a bunch of boards that needed to be cut down to size for some upcoming projects. I have a friend who is a professional interior designer and she uses her scroll saw constantly.
Metal blades are available for cutting metal and other hard materials. I just set the blades into the guide pins and pushed them into the wood. I made a few cuts at various angles to make it easier to pull the boards off of the saw later on.
The common purpose of all scroll saw blades is to cut tight corners and small holes. It is important that the scroll saw be properly anchored to a worktable to reduce shaking and vibration while in use. The pieces were still connected, so I just backed the guide pins out of the bottom of the saw. I have several jigs that fit onto the scroll saw frame for precision cutting.
After cutting each board, I’d remove the remaining pieces by hand. My saw has an issue with grabbing the pieces at times. If this happens, it could potentially yank my hand into the blade.
Scroll saws are not as powerful as band saws but can cut curves and shapes in wood, plastic, and metal. The blades are extremely sharp and could cause an injury. I have to wear safety glasses anytime I’m using the scroll saw or doing any woodworking for that matter. The small blade is also useful for intricate work.
I left the blades in while I was cutting, but it’s much safer to remove the blades before the cut. I try to always use a splitter whenever possible. A splitter is that little vertical blade that divides the teeth into two sides, this keeps the wood from cracking between the teeth and flying back at me.
If a blade breaks then you can be injured by flying blade pieces. The blades are extremely sharp and can easily cut skin. I have to wear gloves anytime I’m handling them.
I use an assortment of blades for my scroll saw. I have several blades in various sizes that are for wood cutting, metal cutting, and special effects. My scroll saw uses ATC (Angle Tooth Cut) blades.
There are different types of blades for different projects. Blades come in different sizes, numbers of teeth, and pitches.
Metal blades have a lower tooth count for a smoother finish. The blades are thinner for the same reason.
Special effects blades have teeth on one side and are flat on the other. Manufacturers make blades in different qualities ranging from cheap to more expensive professional quality.
Metal cutting blades have more teeth and are narrower allowing for the cutting of softer metals. This allows me to cut a shape out of wood and then turn it around to cut the inside portion out. My scroll saw has a blunt blade installed for safety reasons.
They are much longer lasting but produce a rougher edge. They also cost more than blades made for wood cutting.
Metal cutting blades have a blue coating on them to help with rust prevention. I have blades for special effects that are not necessarily metal cutting but still must be changed. Blades get dull with use and must be periodically replaced.
They require more frequent sharpening than wood cutting blades.
Blades are available coated in fiberglass, copper, and other alloys to give different cutting characteristics than the basic blade.
Metal cutting blades are a little wider than regular blades and are not as long lasting. They have extra large gullets to clear the dust out from the bottom side of the cut.
I spread the board out on my table and soaked it in the bathtub for about 7 hours. I took it out of the bath and cut the remaining pieces off. There is less flexibility in them than wood cutting blades, but they are very strong and can withstand a lot of pressure.
I left it to dry for a few days. I comes out really straight and smooth. There are several types of blades just for plastics. I have a cutting system for acrylic that works really well with my scroll saw.
The blades are not as long lasting as wood cutting blades. It feels good in my hands and the edges are very crisp. This is one of my favorite projects so far.
The blades are pretty easy to change. I have a little wobble when I cut, but it’s much easier than the scroll saw my mom used to have. It doesn’t take as much room on my table because it folds up nice and flat.
I have a few blades for my scroll saw and I use them for different things.
The main types of blades are wood cutting, metal cutting, and plastic cutting. They each have their own types for specialty jobs.
I finished the last cut out today and I’m really happy with how it worked out. I’ve never done anything like this before, but I’m glad I tried it. I use a metal cutting blade for my scroll work.
There are also blades for things like aluminum and copper, but I don’t have any metals like that around to cut.
I have several other blades for other things, but I will talk more about them another time.
I really enjoy scrolling and I’m glad I got this scroll saw.
I’ve cut out several things with this scroll saw but I haven’t tried anything too difficult yet.
I found a picture of a heart in a valentines card once and I traced it onto some wood and then cut it out with my scroll saw. I gave it to my girlfriend and she really liked it.
I also made a house shaped cookie once and cut that out with my scroll saw. It was pretty big and I almost broke my scroll saw, but I managed to finish it. I gave it to my Mom for mother’s day and she liked it a lot.
It’s really fun cutting things out with my scroll saw. I haven’t done too much with it yet, but I’m sure I’ll think of something.
I hope you have enjoyed learning about my scroll saw and I will write again soon.
Sources & references used in this article:
- The New Scroll Saw Handbook (P Spielman – 2002 – books.google.com)
- Scroll saw pattern book (P Spielman – 1986 – books.google.com)
- Southwest scroll saw patterns (P Spielman, D Kihl – 1994 – books.google.com)
- FVWWC Officers & Staff (M Brady, S Chairman, K Rosche, A Marck… – Hand, 2016 – fvwwc.org)
- Interview with Mary Schlariet (D Boelman – 2011)
- Fundamentals of Engineering Design, Product Design: Techniques on Reverse Engineering and New (T Zieg – 2009 – Fox Chapel Publishing)