Home Builder Guide: Saw Selection

Thursday, January 04, 2018

The price of a scroll saw typically ranges from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars depending on the various factors including size, features and add-ons. However, the most expensive scroll saw is not necessarily the best scroll saw. In fact, as a beginner, you should look for a decent scroll saws that costs no more than $200. While these relatively inexpensive scroll saws may lack extra features and add-ons such as dust blower/collector, they are generally adequate for most scrolling projects. Once you learn how to use the saw properly, you can sell it and upgrade.

Important Features

According to many scroll saw reviews, one of the important features that you should consider as a factory option when choosing your first scroll saw is the variable speed control. This is an important feature, especially for a beginner. With that feature, you would be able to slow down your scroll saw, allowing you to make precise and accurate cuts without leaving burn marks on your projects. Unfortunately, you cannot add this feature as an aftermarket accessory. Another key feature to consider is the blade system. Some scroll saws take "pin-end" blades while others take regular "flat" blades. Each of these blades has its own advantages and disadvantages. The pin-head blade system, for example, has no clamp to work, making it easy to change and tension the blade. Because of this, it is popular among people who prefer not to change or tension the blade. However, the pin-head blade system lacks blade variety and cannot slip through very small holes, limiting its application. Moreover, the metal of the pin-end blade system has to be thick in order to receive the pin. Unfortunately, a thick blade creates several potential problems. Firstly, such a blade will break more easily on tight turns. Secondly, it cannot fit through small holes, limiting its capability.

Selecting the Best Scroll Saw Blades

A brand new scroll saw typically comes with a few sample blades. Often times, sample blades are of an inferior quality. Put another way, sample blades almost always have a short lifespan. For this reason, you should find a manufacturer that produces quality blades. The best way to do that is to experiment with various brands. In terms of size, blades range from 3/0 to 12, starting from the smallest to the largest. The smallest blades, which can be as small as a strand of human hair, are used for the finest work. They include 3/0, 2/0 and 1/0. The larger blades, on the other hand, are ideal for cutting thick and hard materials, such as ¾" stacked or unstacked material. The common types of blades of blades available on the market include non-reverse, double-tooth, skip-tooth and reverse-tooth blades.

Tensioning the Blade

You should learn how to tension your blade properly. Unfortunately, this is something that you will have to learn by yourself. If your blade appears blurry when the saw is running, you should tension it properly. When properly tensioned, the blade should appear as a single black line when the saw is running. In general, if the blade is too loose, it will pop out of the clamp. On the other, if it is too tight, it will break often.

Scroll Saw Project Ideas

As a beginner, you do not necessarily need patterns to have fun with your scroll saw. You can begin by learning how to make simple scroll saw cuts including straight and angled cuts. To cut a pattern, you would need to affix it to a wood stock using a spray adhesive such as 3M 77 spray adhesive. If you need to make an inside cut, use a drill bit that is slightly larger than the blade to drill through the stock, preferably close to a corner. Then, thread the blade up through the hole and make your cut.

Cutting and Safety Tips

When using a scroll saw, allow the blade to do the cutting. In other words, don't attempt to force it through the stock.


To enjoy scrolling, ensure you buy the right scroll saw.

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