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What Is a Scroll Saw?




What is a scroll saw

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A scroll saw is an electricity-powered table saw with a fine blade used to make intricate cuts and designs. It’s an essential tool in metal and woodwork, letting you add a creative touch without hassle.


Scroll saws are pedal-operated to keep the hands free. The control is also placed within the pedal so it can be adjusted to control the blade speed.


Unlike a band saw blade, a scroll saw cuts through a piece of metal, wood, plastic, or glass to make intricate patterns.


What To Consider When Choosing a Scroll Saw

You must consider several factors when choosing a scroll saw for the best results.


Throat Size


It’s measured as the distance between the saw blade to where the saw joins with the tabletop. When purchasing a scroll saw, check the throat size and depth. 


For better understanding, here’s an example. Let’s say you have a 15-inch scroll saw. It can easily make complex cuts through a 30-inch piece of wood with ease.


Scroll saws with long throats are feasible for cutting larger objects. The size of the throat starts from 10 inches and goes all the way up to 30 inches. On the contrary, industrial scroll saws can go above 30 inches and are tailored to perform specific functions.


Arm Styles


Different arm styles are also available to pick from. The parallel arm design is the most common variation. Other types include a C-arm saw, a similar link, and the scroll saw style.


The C-arm saw moves quickly and is mainly used to make curved cuts. This arm style is not suitable for cutting thick wood. Still, most users have developed specialized techniques, eliminating the adverse effects of the C-arm saw as it promises speed.


The parallel link type is the most advanced cutting system with a reciprocating blade. Despite having a higher price tag than other saws, the parallel link scroll saw edges make minimum vibration, allowing you to design intricate curves with utmost accuracy.


Blade Tension Mechanism


Most modern scroll saws have tension levers or knobs to control the blade tension. Make sure the scroll saw you choose has the tension control mechanism on the front of the equipment so the pressure can be adjusted on the fly.


Tile Angle


If you need to cut through a piece from a specific angle, look for a scroll saw that allows tilting tables for an angled cut. A blade tilt is also used, but it depends on the project you are working on. A blade tilt keeps the scroll saw blade in place and prevents damage.


Blade Changing System


Over time, the blade changes its performance and accuracy due to wear. A blade changing system allows the user to swap in various kinds of blades to make different types of cuts and patterns. There are two types of blade changing systems.


One system requires tools when you want to swap blades, whereas the other has an easy mechanism that doesn’t require using tools, allowing easy swapping. Unfortunately, no-tool blade changing mechanisms are unreliable and can break off instantly.


Variable Speed Control


The saw should have a variable speed option as different projects require you to adjust variable speeds. If you have started using a scroll saw, keep the blade to a slower speed until you have enough experience.


Collecting Saw Dust


Many scroll saws have some form of mechanism to gather sawdust. Commonly, a dust blower is attached to the tabletop to prevent sawdust from spreading. Getting a saw with an efficient sawdust catching mechanism will save you from the hassle of collecting sawdust from the surroundings after you finish your project.


Don’t forget to inspect the quality of the tabletop and choose a brand that has already made a name for itself by providing top-notch products and equipment. Dedicating some time to research can assist you in figuring out the available types of scroll saws.


Don’t forget to read reviews and testimonials from other clients to ensure you make the right choice.


Different Variations Of Scroll Saw Blades


A scroll saw blade is thin and has a length of around 5 inches. The width of the blade varies with the thickness of the material being cut. Cross-pins or knobs are used to clamp the blade onto the arm of the scroll saw.


Scroll saw blades have three basic variations. Let’s dig in to find out more.


Skip Tooth Blade: The blade is designed so that after one blade tooth, there is an empty space, followed by another blade tooth. The sequence continues until the edge is toothed accordingly.


Double Skip Tooth Blade: Likewise, a double skip tooth blade will have two edges teeth, and a space, followed by a pair of blade teeth.


Two-Way Blade: This blade type has teeth facing upwards and downwards, allowing the user to cut when the blade changes position.


Spiral Blades: These blades have teeth and are used for specific projects.


Pin End Blades: These blades can lock into position firmly and are easily removable. Pin end blades are primarily used for thick wood.


Flat blades: This blade type is unpinned and comes in various sizes. These fine blades are capable of delivering the most precise cuts.


Related Article – Best Scroll Saw Blades


How Does A Scroll Saw Work?


  • Place the blade on the saw’s upper arm and secure it in place before you switch on the equipment.
  • Now place the piece you want to work on and clamp it to the tabletop, so it doesn’t slip while crafting the piece.
  • A reciprocating motor moves the blade up and down, allowing the user to cut through and work on it from the inside.
  • Choosing the right blade type is crucial, as picking the wrong one will get you nowhere near your desired end results.
  • When selecting a blade, remember that a coarse blade works best for thick wood, whereas a thin blade produces the best results on standard pieces.
  • Keep a dust blower by your side to remove sawdust and secure the foot pedal in place for the best speed control.

What Is A Scroll Saw Used For?


As mentioned earlier, most scroll saws can easily cut through several types of materials, allowing you to make intricate designs with accuracy. Here are some areas where scroll saws are used the most.




The first thing most users make are wooden toys. Depending on the level of expertise, most artisans use scroll saws to make mesmerizing wooden toys that will surely put a smile on any kid’s face.


If you have just started using the saw, making a wooden puzzle will aid in understanding the connection between speed and the blade tension. Make sure to change blades according to the thickness of the wood you are working on.




Joints used to make cabinets are crafted using a scroll saw. Most commonly, dovetail joints are made, making the cabinets securely fit in place. Scroll saws can also be used to tweak up the cabinets. It’s easy to design inlay patterns, giving your cabinets a striking outlook.


Musical Instruments


Crafting musical instruments requires precision cuts. These saws are an excellent choice, from simple sound boxes to complex string instruments. Making precision cuts are crucial as cutting off even 1/8th of an inch changes the sound-producing qualities of the instrument. Craftsmen and music enthusiasts spend years improving their craft as it takes a lot of time and dedication.


Household Items


Plenty of household items like baskets, bowls, holiday decorations, and much more can be made using a scroll saw. If you are running low on ideas, search the internet, and you’ll find a plethora of DIY projects you can carry out to build your skills.


Decorative Items


These scroll saws can make inlays on furniture and several other materials. Besides making inlay designs on your furniture, the saw blades can be used to create shelves, craft inlay designs on several materials and even elevate the structures of your woodwork pieces.


Metal Cutting


The cutting capacity of an average saw blade is not enough for metal. Different blade types are available that can easily cut through metal and other hard materials. When cutting metal, use a lubricant for effective blade cuts.


Final Thoughts


If you’re a DIY enthusiast, purchasing a scroll saw will assist you in creating intricate designs and patterns. All you need to do is choose the right scroll saw that fulfills your requirements.


A scroll saw is a piece of handy equipment used to make precise cuts. Whether you want to cut straight through or cut the piece in a curve, the scroll saw has you covered.


When making designs and patterns, it is best to trace the way on the material or stick a thin paper on top of the workpiece for the best results. Lastly, always remember to wear safety gloves, don’t cut at extremely high speeds, and always avoid metals to keep you and everyone else safe from an unexpected hazard.


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2 responses to “What Is a Scroll Saw?”

  1. […] scroll saw blades are the ones which do not have pinheads and are flat throughout their […]

  2. […] the difference between a band saw and a scroll […]

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