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What is a scroll saw?

An extremely small and compact gadget, a scroll saw is basically a tool to cut intricate curves and patterns into a variety of materials, such as wood, metal, plastic, shell, bone etc. It can be both manual or pedal-operated, or electric/battery operated. It works with a blade, the size, type and quality of which will determine the use of the scroll saw.

The delicacy of its cutting ability comes from the fineness of the scroll saw’s blade, which makes it a perfect alternative to a power jigsaw or a hand coping saw, both of which stand at a marked disadvantage as compared to a scroll saw. While using a hand coping saw can be somewhat complex, and causes stress on the hands, a power jigsaw lacks the finesse of the scroll saw.

The origin

In use for the past several centuries, a scroll saw gets its name from making scroll-head designs as in sculptural ornaments and from making traditional scrollwork. In its earliest documented form, it can be traced to the 1500s, when a German craftsman made a tool to develop fine narrow saw blades. This was followed by the invention of a frame, by a French workman, to hold these blades together for cutting intricate patterns. What the Frenchman developed was a Buhl saw—a frame that’s quite like the fret and coping saws used today.

Even the use of thin blades in a reciprocating machine, as is done in the modern scroll saw, dates to before 1800s. In fact, the first recorded patent for such a machine was reported in 1892, when a Mr. M’Duff received it for his machine, which was found to cut out Buhl-work with “more facility and accuracy.”

How it works

A pivoting table is what makes a scroll saw deliver all those beautifully intricate lines, patterns and designs, which can easily become your neighbor’s envy. The pivoting table helps create curves along the edges, giving any material an amazing depth and beauty.

The reciprocating blade used by a scroll saw makes it possible to remove the blade and place it through a pre-drilled hole, which means you can actually use a scroll saw to make interior cutouts without going through an early slot.

Amazing variety

Yes, surprisingly for such a small little tool, the variety a scroll saw comes in is quite amazing. The basic classification of scroll saws relates to the throat size—the distance between the blade and the rear frame. Eventually, it’s the throat size that determines the size of the wood or other material you can cut with the scroll saw.

From commercial use to hobby

An interesting facet about a scroll saw is that it is as widely used for commercial cutting of intricate patterns as a hobby tool. Since it’s small and compact, affordable, and takes very little space, besides not requiring too many accessories, a scroll saw can actually be put to excellent use by someone who simply enjoys wood cutting as a hobby. The inherent accuracy of a scroll saw as a cutting tool makes it perfect for a beginner.

Types of scroll saws

Apart from the blade type, the main attribute that defines the type of a scroll saw is its arm. The parallel arm design, which has two arms that are consistently parallel to one another with a motor attached to their back, is a common variety. Then there’s the C-arm type, in which the arm is shaped as “C” and the blade is fixed between the two ends of the “C.”

Another common type is the parallel link scroll saw, which is fitted with rods in the upper and lower arms, pushed by a motor. Though there was another earlier type—the rigid arm scroll saw, which was made of single-piece cast iron frame—that’s now become defunct.

The scroll saw type also depends on the blade, which may be skip tooth, double skip tooth, crown/two-way, spiral blades, metal cutting blades, diamond blades etc. The weight of the blade also makes a difference to the type of the scroll saw and its function.

You may also come across a reverse tooth blade, in which the bottom ¾” of the teeth is reversed, preventing reduction in splintering on the bottom edges of the cut. The modern version of it is the ultra-reverse, in which the blades are configured in such a way that 4-5 teeth are down, followed by one up, with the same pattern repeated through the length of the blade.


Safety is yet another attractive feature of a scroll saw, which makes this tool one of the safest for its purpose, despite the thin blade that usually comes with it. So the chances of a scroll saw leading to inadvertent injuries are quite small. That probably is an additional reason for the growing popularity of a scroll saw as an artisan’s tool. It also explains why the latest scroll saws come equipped with a host of new features, such as variable speed control to cut through different types of materials. Some of the better models even have a dust clearance pipe to help blow the dust away from the cut point.

The website offers good insight into the modern features of the new scroll saws on the market. So check it out and see what suits your needs, after taking your budget into account, of course.

Uses for Scroll Saws

Uses for a Scroll Saw

Basically, a scroll saw is used for making intricate patterns or designs in wood, metal and other materials. As a precise and accurate tool, a scroll saw does an excellent job of creating both simple and complex patterns with equal ease. It’s easy to use and easier still to store and maintain, since it’s quite a compact little tool, requiring very little space to set up.

From curves to joints

A scroll saw is used to cut both curves and joints to deliver beautiful and intricate patterns in wood, metal, hard plastic and even certain other kinds of material, such as bone, shell, etc. You need to be sure that you’re using the right kind of blade with your scroll saw, because the blade is what will decide how well your scroll saw can do a certain job, with accuracy.

Ideal for pierce cutting

Unlike other varieties of saws, a scroll saw can actually handle pierce cutting quite well. That’s probably why it’s so popular these days to create wood handicrafts for decoration etc. With its ability to drill a hole at the center of the material that you’re planning to develop into a special artifact, a scroll saw helps create intricate patterns better than most other tools available on the market.

It’s all about detailing

Naturally, you can’t really think of a good intricate design unless there’s some amount of detailing associated with it. And that kind of detailing is possible only with a scroll saw, mainly on account of the precision and accuracy with which it works.

That level of accuracy is just not available in a band saw, nor does the scroll saw end up vibrating like a jigsaw. What it does is give a smooth and pleasurable experience to anyone—from a beginner to a hobbyist to a professional—wanting to experiment with interesting patterns in wood, metal, hard plastic, etc.

Sheer design variety

This is probably the best part of a scroll saw. The small size of this compact little tool actually belies the sheer range and variety of designs and patterns it can help you churn out, with total ease and no hassle at all. From figurines and silhouettes to 3-D and 2-D patterns, from jewelry and ornaments to plaques and name plates, a scroll saw can create almost anything that you can envisage to decorate your house and hearth.

Miniatures, in particular, are easily and effectively made with a scroll saw, again because of its high level of accuracy and precision. So you’ll find this to be a common use for a scroll saw, especially by artisans who specialize in such creations.

As far as jewelry is concerned, the fact that you can use a scroll saw to cut through shell, bone, ivory, and a whole lot of metals too, makes it ideal to create attractive ornaments and jewelry, fit to wear on any kinds on occasions.

Other things you can do with a scroll saw is to use it for creating wood mosaic (intarsia) and inlaid veneer (marquetry).

The website provides details of some of the uses you can put your scroll saw to. As it shows, there’s actually an amazing variety of things you can make with a scroll saw, when it comes to attractive designs and patterns.

Amazing features for multiple uses

As a cross between a jigsaw and a band saw, a scroll saw is equipped with some amazing features that enable it to provide quite a few unique and out-of-the-ordinary uses. A wood maker’s pride and a jewelry maker’s passion—you’ll find a scroll saw creating some of the best inlaid patterns and intricate designs you could ever imagine. Given the simplicity of its use, it’s remarkable what a scroll saw can really do and how useful it is as a true artisan’s tool.

The advantage it has over other power tools in terms of its ability to create pierce cuts adds to the universal appeal of a scroll saw. So, all those beautifully designed creatives you see with that attractive hole in the center are the handiwork of a scroll saw. The same holds for all those intricately designed jewelry pieces that you simply can’t resist holding in your hands and trying out at least once, even if you’re able to keep yourself from buying them.

The multiple uses of this small and compact tool need to be seen if they are to be believed, and till you’ve personally enjoyed the pleasure of holding a scroll saw creation in your hands, you’ll find it difficult to believe it’s actually capable of doing all that it claims to do.

Uses for scroll saw


While it’s been around for a few centuries, the scroll saw is now making a comeback as an artisan’s special tool that can be used to create a great variety of items for ornamentation and adornment. You can use these creations to beautify your home, or even yourself (as with ornaments and jewelry).

Apart from the uses you’ve seen above, you can also check out ( to come out with some more unusual and appealing patterns to make new kinds of things for yourself or your family. Perhaps it’s a cute little dollhouse you want to make for your daughter. Try making it with a scroll saw and see how your little one will simply love it from the word “go.”

Patterns for Scroll Saw4

Patterns for Scroll Saw

While your own imagination and creativity will eventually guide you through the process of making exciting patterns with a scroll saw, there are websites galore to offer you numerous options, which you can simply adapt to your own taste and needs. The range and variety of innovative patterns they give you is amazing, to say the least.

So whether your taste veers around the simple or intricate, or is more aligned to the complex intricate, you’re sure to come across something that matches it, when it comes to designs and patterns for scroll saw. And with just a little bit of ingenuity, you can turn any of these patterns into showcase products for your home.

Patterns galore

Among the various websites offering scroll saw designs and patterns is the website, which claims to be the “home of all scroll saw patterns.” It’s not at all a tall claim, considering the sheer number of patterns it provides and the variety it gives in terms of the skill levels required to create those patterns. Hence, you’ll find a pattern or more to match virtually every skill level—from beginners to the more advanced. What’s more, it provides tutorials for creating the patterns too.

As for the patterns included, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the sheer diversity. The site has virtually everything, from animals, insects and birds, to boxes, flowers, cats and dogs (why that is kept distinct from animals is a mystery of sorts), clocks, handy items, holiday themes, mythical and religious, nature and outdoor, inspirational, lighted projects, nautical/fish/fishing, plaques, special occasions, wildlife, sports and recreation, word art, and transportation.

From chessboards to large chess pieces, birthday hangars, bird houses, and even air plant holders, there’s a lot on this site to keep you happily engaged as you experiment with your personal scroll saw to create your own special patterns.

Patterns for scroll saw

Making it easy

Another website that makes creation of scroll saw patterns quite a game is the It doesn’t just offer you patterns and designs, but also tells you how to go about making them, and the best kind of wood for different patterns. You can use these reference designs and the guidelines to create boxes, shelves, decorative items, and much more.

The pattern variety includes, but is not restricted to, ancient Greek and Roman ornaments, animal designs and silhouettes, art noveau designs, architectural 2D patterns, band patterns, builder’s hardware designs, Celtic patterns, decorative flourishes, famous people vector patterns, floral designs, and geometric vector patterns.

Other designs include Heraldic 2D design elements, interlace patterns, mathematical 2D patterns, molding profiles, Oriental ornaments, circular/rectangular/square ornament vectors, other forms of ornament vectors, ornamental border designs, ornamental design elements, repeating patterns, ribbons and scrolls vector packs, scroll saw and fretwork vector patterns, sign and sign end patterns, silhouette vector, stained glass patterns, stencil designs, symbols and historic illustrations, vectorized illustrations, and wood carving patterns.

Among the popular patterns are the furniture scroll saw patterns and the door hinge plate patterns, indicating how useful scroll saw designs can be to decorate the house. Then there are some really modern ones, such as stencils of flowers in baskets, a collection of rose designs, picture moldings, two hobgoblin illustrations, seashell design elements, 28 patterns of human heads with various facial expressions, strap work ornaments, medieval maze patterns, geometric tracery pattern and spiral hepta 2D design.

scrollsaw patterns

Of figures and faces

What makes unique is that the focus of the patterns here is on figures and faces—human, animals, birds, and more. The free-for-use patterns available on this site have a special appeal to them, with their sketch-like look to engage your heart and mind. What’s more, they’re pretty easy to create, if the creator of the site is to be believed (and there’s no reason not to).

The stark black and white effect of the patterns contained here is bound to make you look at them at least twice, if not more. And if you really have a penchant for good designs, you’re going to find it difficult indeed to move on from this site without trying out at least some of these exotic creations.


If you can imagine it, you can create it—that seems to be the premise on which most scroll saw patterns are made. Looking at these patterns, it’s clear that there’s really nothing that you can’t make with a scroll saw when it comes to attractive and intricate designs. Actually, if you look around you, you’ll see scroll saw patterns in almost anything and everything. The designs are inspiring and something you’d like to have around you, whether you’re working or simply chilling at home.

Apart from the links provided here, you’ll find a whole lot of other options out there, on the World Wide Web, from which you can choose. Your ultimate choice would, of course, depend on various factors, not the least being the skill set for which the patterns are provided. In fact, you’ll find certain sites providing patterns only for beginners, while there are others that do a more exhaustive job by giving designs for all levels.

And then there’s the “free” aspect, which you’d naturally want to be sure of, before going for any particular website for your favorite patterns. After all, who wants to spend a lot of money on buying patterns when there’s such a huge variety of free patterns available to choose from!

What is a scroll saw used for

What is a scroll saw used for

Who doesn’t love intricately carved woodwork or even intricate patterns etched in metal? Ever wondered how it’s done? Does it take a real artist to manage it? What kind of tools and equipment are needed to deliver fancy patterns, which can woo even the most non-creative of persons with their attractive appeal?

You’d be surprised to know that there’s actually a small tool that can do all this, and with a minimum of effort. It’s called a scroll saw, which is basically used to cut intricate patterns and curves in wood, metal, hard plastic, or even other materials. Now that, of course, is a very simplistic way of putting it.

Here, we’ll take you through, in some detail, into the uses of a scroll saw. We’ll try to answer the question of what a scroll saw is used for in a simple and easy-to-understand manner for your convenience. (

Of course, take into account that not all scroll saws can do all these jobs as effectively. It depends on the kind of blade used, the price bracket of the saw, and its other features. So the high-end models will probably have all these uses, or at least the majority of them, while their poor cousins will have limited uses.

what is a scroll saw used for

It cuts intricate patterns and more

While cutting intricate patterns is the key use of a scroll saw, which may be electric or battery-operated or even manual/pedal-operated, there are more fancy uses of it that you won’t find much talked about. But this little fact doesn’t make the importance of using a scroll saw for these other things any less.

So you’ll find it a useful tool for cutting not just close and complex curves, but also pierce cuts, which any person working with wood will tell you, is not something that many saws can do. And it does a much better job of it than other power tools can do.

Artisans’ special tool

Even though you generally will not find it to be part of a wood worker’s tool kit, a scroll saw is actually a great tool for artisans. Unlike a band saw, which can cut curves into wood, but lacks accuracy, a scroll saw is wonderfully precise in cutting intricate designs and patterns, and does the job in considerable detail.

Further, it can go where a band saw can’t, quite literally. That is, you’ll find a scroll sawpretty useful for cutting through harder materials too, and with great accuracy at that. The fact that it doesn’t vibrate like a jigsaw also adds to the appeal of this little tool, which can deliver some of the most delicate design inlays in wood, metal and even hard plastic.

What is a scroll saw used for

Product showcase

The product show case you can get with a scroll saw is widely impressive, indeed. And mind you, it’s not just about wood, with which you make not only intricately designed furniture and large pieces, but also small figurines etc. You can use a scroll saw to create beautiful designs even in metal, shell, bone and stone. This means it’s an excellent tool for jewelry makers, who love working with a variety of materials and trying to create designer pieces from all of them.

As fancy as it comes

As mentioned earlier, a scroll saw is all about creating fancy designs and patterns, mainly in wood but also in other material. So you can use it to cut through ivory, plastic and more, with its special edge lying in creating pierce cuts (a donut kind of a hole in the center).

Miniatures are just great with a scroll saw which is also used extensively for wood mosaic (intarsia) and inlaid veneer (marquetry). So the next time you see a fancy little miniature statue or an intricate piece of jewelry designed to near perfection, it’s probably the handiwork of a good quality scroll saw.

Check out the link ( to embark on your journey of discovery into all the fancy things a good scroll saw can do for you. The list is impressive, to say the least, and it will send you rushing to buy a scroll saw, if you haven’t already done so.


As a cross between a jigsaw and a band saw, a scroll saw is equipped with some amazing features that enable it to deliver several unique and out-of-the-ordinary uses. A wood maker’s pride and a jewelry maker’s passion—you’ll find a scroll saw creating some of the best inlaid patterns and intricate designs. Given the simplicity of its use, it’s remarkable what a scroll saw can really do and how useful it is as a true artisan’s tool.

The advantage it has over other power tools in terms of its ability to create pierce cuts adds to the universal appeal of ascroll saw. It’s there for you to experiment with a whole lot of different patterns and designs, for use in a variety of places on various occasions.

The best part of using a scroll saw is that the effort required to create all those beautiful patterns, lines and designs is minimal. The scroll saw is designed to deliver a hassle-free experience to the user. It sits easy in the hands, and is not at all complex in operation. And with its precise and accurate functioning, the possibility of going wrong with the patterns really doesn’t exist.

what does a scroll saw look like

What Does a Scroll Saw Look Like?

Scroll saws can look intimidating. It’s huge and bulky. And when you operate it, the up-and-down reciprocating action can awe you.

But you would be surprised to know that this benchtop machine is considered a very safe tool. It also doesn’t make a sound noise unlike other power tools. These qualities belie the very intimidating look of a scroll saw.

Scroll saws are able to cut through various materials from wood, metal, and plastic. It can create intricate designs and curves.

Scroll saw size may be classified according to the size of the throat, or the distance from the blade to the end of the saw. Smaller saws have a throat of around 12 inches while commercial saws can have up to 30 inches of throat size.

Scroll saw sizes may vary but it’s bulky, to say the least. A typical scroll saw has a weight of more than 50 pounds.

You may find a scroll saw intimidating but the truth is that it’s relatively easy to use. It can be easily controlled by an ordinary Joe.


A scroll saw is mainly used for freehand cutting intricate shapes. It has very thin blades that let it cut very small radius curves. For most people, it can be compared to an upside down bayonet saw but with finer blade.

Due to its thin blade, it’s the only solution that woodworker and DIYers have when making very delicate cuts like for inlays.

what does a scroll saw look like


In order to better appreciate how a scroll saw operates, let’s look at the various parts of this popular workshop tool:

Blade — this is arguably the heart and soul of a scroll saw. Without it, a scroll saw won’t be able to cut any material.

The blades used in scroll saws are similar to those used in coping saws. Scroll saw blades operate through a quick, up and down motion.

Speed control knob -- the speed control knob sets the pace by which the blade goes up and down in cutting through a workpiece.

Speed control can either be single speed or variable speed. Many woodworkers suggest a variable speed control as it would let scroll saw users have better control over their designs.

Drop Foot — this is the part of the scroll saw that holds the workpiece down. Aside from ensuring that you can get an accurate cut by lessening vibrations, the drop foot also helps make sure you can finish your project quickly.

Sawdust blower -- aside from keeping the dust away from your face, the sawdust blower prevents dust from accumulating in the workpiece. It can thus help you finish your job on time because you can clearly see the marked lines.

Table lock knob -- this is the part of the scroll saw that secures it well against the table or the bench. It also lets users tilt the table and lock it up at a desired angle.

Throat plate — the throat plate is designed to accommodate blade changes and dados. It can also significantly reduce the chances of a kickback.

Blade storage case

Blade holder

Work lights -- provide enough illumination for you to see the marked lines.

what does a scroll saw look like

Choosing a Scroll Saw

Now that you have an idea how a scroll saw looks like as well as how its parts work, you may wonder—how do you choose a scroll saw?

With the many brands and models available in the market, it can really be challenging to find the right scroll saw. But you can be guide by the following considerations when shopping for one:

Variable speed or not -- you could be intrigued at the prospect of getting a scroll saw with a variable speed setting. After all, it can give you a lot of options as far as the cutting speed of the machine is concerned. However, if you are a beginner or foresee yourself to be a casual user, you don’t really need a unit with variable speed setting.

Simply get a unit with a two speed-setting (slow and fast). It would be enough to give you some flexibility without shelling out a lot of money.

Throat capacity -- this pertains to the amount of space between the edge of the blade and the mounting point. It determines the size of the workpiece that the saw can handle. You can settle with a saw that has a throat capacity of around 18 inches. Unless you plan to be a true professional, you won’t need a scroll saw with a throat capacity greater than 18 inches.

Table mounted or standalone -- both models will have the same features and throat capacity. Standalone models, though, can reduce the vibration thanks to their design. Table mounted scroll saws may vibrate more, which can affect your cuts.

Blade release/quick clamps — back in the day, scroll saws had a hex key or special wrench needed to operate their blade clamps. But toolmakers these days have models equipped with blade clamps allowing you to release or tighten the blades with your fingers. There are also lots of aftermarket parts that you can fit in your saw that don’t have this feature.

Blowers -- this is the part of the scroll saw that blow away the sawdust building up on the workpiece, particularly on the marked lines. It may seem unnecessary, but it can help you see the line well aside from sparing your lungs from a ‘workout’. At the very least, make sure that you wear a mask to prevent yourself from inhaling sawdust.

Work lights -- this is another accessory that can magnify the pattern lines so you will have an easier time following them and cutting. As any expert scroll saw user would tell you, good lighting is essential. Thus it is highly recommended that you get a scroll saw with work lights.


In conclusion, scroll saws is a relatively big and bulky power tool. It may look intimidating to most people but when you get to know it well particularly how it works, you’ll say that it isn’t as difficult to use as other power tools.

What can i make with a scroll saw

What can i make with a scroll saw

When it comes to some real fancy items of wood work (sometimes even in metal and other material), there’s very little that a scroll saw can’t do. The range and variety of attractive products—from playthings to decorative stuff—that you can churn out with a scroll saw, is absolutely amazing.

So whether it’s a toy you want to make for your kid or a decorative name plate to hang outside the entrance to your lovely home, or even a nice bit of jewelry to wear on those special occasions that you wish to make memorable, the secret to all of it lies in a small tool called the scroll saw.

Simple to operate, with a high degree of accuracy and precision, backed by quality safety features, a scroll saw can be a useful thing to have around if you love playing with wood etc., and enjoy witnessing the transformation that can be brought to a piece of raw material with total ease.

We’ve listed here a few things you’re likely to enjoy making with a scroll saw. It’s all about how creatively you’re able to use your imagination and how effectively you’re able to operate a scroll saw. Some of these are inspired by, while others are sourced from different links.

What Can I Make With a Scroll Saw?

Wooden toys

We all, as children, have had our share of favorite toys, which, more often than not, included a small toy horse, complete with its four legs, tail, and the rest. While it’s difficult to say who could have made these little playthings all those years ago, one thing we can surely tell you—a scroll saw can do the job, and a great one at that.

Designer mirrors

A designer mirror, such as a scalloped mirror, can be a great addition to your dressing room, or alternatively, you can use it as a centerpiece on your dining table, where your guests will simply enjoy its looks. Here again, it’s a scroll saw that you need to create such a mirror.

Name plates

Fancy name plates, both in metal and wood, are becoming increasing popular the world over on account of their attractive and intricate designs. All you need to make your own special designer name plate is a scroll saw, and nothing more.

Maps and topography

Whether it’s geographical topography you want to show through a map or the various states in your country, a wooden map is a great way of going about it. The 3-dimensional effect of such a map, made of finely cut wood, is much more impactful than a map drawn in two dimensions on a piece of paper.

What can i make with a scroll saw


Like name plates, plaques also now come in an exciting variety, with great designs and patterns. They are an excellent gifting option too, apart, of course, from being a valuable decorative asset for your home or other property. So, pick up your scroll saw right away and make a nicely shaped plaque to stand out on the outside of your property.

And talking of plaques, you can make some beautiful customized ones too—as a special memento for some special person on a special occasion. It will always remain with them as a memento from the past, and they will never forget that you gave them such a special gift.

Sign boards

There are many kinds of sign boards, and not all of them need to be or are fancy. Most sign boards are, in fact, pretty straightforward, with no designing to augment their appeal. But sometimes, when you do come across a fancy sign board you’d be left wondering about the creativity that went into its making. Actually, it’s no secret that the creativity has probably come from a scroll saw, which means you can recreate it too, with total ease.


Somehow, a monogram, even the most prosaic, carries with it the image of royalty and class. So what lends it that classiness? Is it the wood? Yes, that’s definitely part of what goes into making a superb monogram. But an equally important, if not more so, part of it is the intricate fancy design that’s inlaid in the monogram. Need you even ask how that design was made? Of course not. We all know that only a scroll saw is capable to giving such a design.


Whether it’s ivory or bone or shell, or some nice piece of metal, these materials have the flexibility and capability of being easily transformed into glorious jewelry pieces that will adorn yourself or a loved one for any occasion. Exceptional as they are, not all these jewelry designs are really complex to create. Most of them can, in fact, be easily made with a little bit of effort and practice. All you need, apart from these attributes, is that small tool called the scroll saw.


​Clearly, there’s a lot you can make with a scroll saw. What you need is the tool itself, with the right set of blades to match your requirements. With a scroll saw in hand you can create some of the most imaginatively exotic patterns to enhance the appeal of your personal self or your home. A little bit of vision and a lot of imagination will help you do the rest.

scroll saw techniques

Scroll Saw Techniques

You may have learned the basics of using a scroll saw, from turning on the unit to using it in cutting various patterns. But there are still a lot of scroll saw techniques that you need to learn if you want to make projects easier and of course, more successful.

The following are some of the scroll saw techniques that you should keep in mind the next time you use this powerful working tool:

There should be enough lighting in your workplace

There’s really no reason why you would want to work in a low lighting area. Not only does lack of light put you at risk of getting into an accident, but it can also make it a lot more difficult to use a scroll saw.

Simply put, there should be enough light in your workplace when you are using a scroll saw. This would let you see the pattern line properly, so you can get a clean cut.

Poor lighting can also make it difficult for you to see the black blade and black lines visually merging. You may find it hard to tell the exact position of the saw blade along the line. It is thus recommended that you get lights which you can mount onto the scroll saw. An alternative would be to work in an area where there’s a lamp next to the saw.

Cut dry wood

Cut dry wood only. Cutting wet wood with a scroll saw can have an effect on the blade of your scroll saw. It can specifically wear down the blade and shorten its lift.

How to quickly change blades

One of the things you will have to learn if you want to make successful scroll saw projects in the shortest time possible is efficient blade changes. You should know that blades either become dull or broken after 30 minutes or so of use. Thus you will need a good supply of blades.

The best way to quickly retrieve blades is to place one on a magnetic strip which is then attached to the scroll saw stand.

How to prevent warping

Warping pertains to the deviation from flatness in wood due to stress and uneven shrinkage. It is very common in thin plywood.

The best way to prevent warping when using scroll saw is to store the wood in a dry and flat surface. Then put a heavier piece of wood on top of it.

Warped plywood, however, should not be thrown away. You can remedy it by dampening its surface and then putting it on a flat surface. Then place another heavy wood on it before leaving it for a week or more.

Scroll Saw Techniques

How to achieve a successful drill pressing

One of the more common sources of frustration among novice scroll saw users is splitting, especially when drilling a hole through a thin piece of wood. You can avoid this by putting a scrap piece below the work piece.

If you are drilling through a thicker piece of wood, the key is to drill down until you are about to break through the bottom surface. Then stop drilling the wood and turn it over. Finish the job, so to speak, by drilling from the other side of the wood.

Avoid throwing away cutouts

Many novice woodworkers throw away their cutouts prematurely. But you shouldn’t do this especially if you are working on a detailed fretwork project with large cutout areas.

There’s still use for pieces of wood that have been cut out. For one, you can save the pieces you have cut out and then put them back in the work area. Just don’t glue them down. This way, you can provide extra support to the fragile pieces as you work on the rest of the piece.

How to prevent burning

Even the most experienced scroll saw users say that there are wood types such as cherry that are impossible to cut without burning the edges. The problem worsens when the blade of the saw starts to get dull.

So how do you prevent this typical problem? Simply put a clear packaging tape on top of the pattern. This will prevent the sawdust from gathering beneath the scroll saw. It also helps in lubricating the blade.

You can also set the scroll saw at a higher speed when you are working on a thicker and harder piece of wood. When you are dealing with soft and thin woods, then set the speed to low setting.

Taking care of the blades

The blades of scroll saws are very likely to rust if you don’t use the tool for a long time. You can prevent this by oiling them.

You must also check on the blade first before using the saw. It must be properly secured as well. Dull or bent blades can lead to uneven cuts which can ruin your project.

Ideal position when operating a scroll saw

You can stand or sit while operating a scroll saw. But since you’re an amateur, it is recommended that you stand in front of the tool so you can easily feed the work into the blade. It would also let you operate the saw without much effort.

Whether you stand or sit when operating a scroll saw, you should make yourself comfortable. Keep in mind that working on a project could go on for hours so there’s always the possibility of fatigue and stiff neck creeping in.

If you want to keep seated when operating a scroll saw, you may want to use a swivel chair. This would let you adjust the piece of wood comfortably without leaning over, or straining your muscles.

Let the scroll saw work for you

This means less pushing on your part, as it can lead to easier cutting. Pushing the wood too much into the blade can lead to broken blades.


Now that you know 10 techniques in using a scroll saw, you should be on your way to getting your projects done accurately and quickly.

Scroll Saw Safety Rules

Scroll Saw Safety Rules

It is hard to argue the contention that the scroll saw is the safest tool in a typical shop. In fact, the worst injury that you could get into when using a scroll saw can be dealt with a Band-Aid. This, however, doesn’t mean that you should get careless when using a scroll saw.

After all, getting a cut in your finger is still painful. It can also cause a temporary delay in your project, something you obviously don’t want to happen.

There are many safety rules that you should remember when operating a scroll saw. This article will enumerate some of these rules.

Wear proper clothing

As with operating other power tools, you should be mindful of the clothes you wear. Many experts suggest wearing tight fitting clothes.

Long sleeve shirts should also be avoided. Loose cuff on this type of shirt, for example can be easily caught on the moving arm of a scroll saw.

If you can’t avoid wearing long sleeve shirts, then you should roll it up first before using the scroll saw.

You must also be conscious of your hair. If you have long hair, tie it back with a ponytail to prevent it from getting entangled with the power tool.

Avoid wearing jewelry too as these can easily become caught in the scroll saw and cause an injury.

Scroll Saw Safety Rules

Wear safety glasses and dust mask

You should also make it a habit to wear safety glasses when operating a scroll saw. You may also wear a face shield. Both would protect your eyes against sharp blades, which can be very dangerous if they break off.

You’d also want to wear a dust mask especially if you are prone to asthma attacks. The very fine dust generated by the scroll saw can affect your health. While your scroll saw may have a dust blower, but it only blows the dust into the air and doesn’t really prevent you from inhaling those microscopic elements.

Ensure good lighting

Good lighting lets you see the marked lines well, resulting to accurate cuts. You should always work in a well-lit area. It also doesn’t hurt if you purchase lights separately that you can mount on the scroll saw. Or better yet, buy a scroll saw that has work lights.

Choose a spacious work area

The work area should be kept clean and uncluttered. You should also choose an area that is spacious enough to give you a two foot perimeter around the scroll saw. You must also place the scroll saw in a fixed and stable surface.

The work area should also have enough lighting. And the area should have no objects that can make you distracted or lose your focus, such as TV.

How to make blade changes

You should always make sure that the scroll saw is unplugged before you try to change the blade.

You should also replace the blade with the teeth facing down. You must also install the right blade for the job. Putting one with too few teeth in relation to the thickness of the wood will offer poor control, aside from the risk of it jumping around.

Turn off machine when making changes

Whether you are changing blades or making adjustments to the tool itself, you should always turn off the machine first. For example, you want to remove scraps. Before you do so, you should turn off the scroll saw first. The same goes for making adjustments to the scroll saw such as changing its speed settings.

Inspect the workpiece first

Before cutting the workpiece, you should inspect it first. For one, there should be no nails or foreign object in the part where you want to cut it. This could cause a small projectile to launch and hurt you or other people.

You must also make sure that it isn’t too small for you to cut it through the scroll saw.

Follow the three inch rule

The three inch rule is simple—your fingers should be at least three inches away from the path of the blade. Since you are cutting intricate cuts with turns and angles unavoidable, there is always a chance that the wood will ‘jump’ if you are not careful.

This is one of the most important scroll safety rules you should remember as it can prevent you from getting nasty cuts.If the work piece is so small that you can’t follow the three inch rule, then you should use a push stick instead. This would help you cut the work piece without putting your fingers in harm’s way.

Plan your cuts

Plan your cuts well as making sudden twists can cause the blade to bind or brake. It is advisable that you saw curve gradually.

It is also recommended that you make a short cut first. You must also ensure that the blade is running at full speed before you start a cut. Moreover, you should avoid backing out of cuts with the scroll saw on as this can cause the blade to bind.

Use the hold down clamp

It is not uncommon for users of scroll saw to remove the hold down clamp. The usual reason is that it can get in the way especially when working on small pieces. But it should be left in place as it plays a very important role. The hold down clamp helps ensure that you won’t slip the fingers into the blade.

If you still find it a hindrance, simply lower it down as close to the wood as possible.


These are 10 of the basic scroll saw safety rules that you should keep in mind when you operate the said power tool. While scroll saw is generally considered a safe power tool, that doesn’t mean that you can be reckless in operating it. Be conscious of your safety as well as those of others around you so that you can finish your project without any hassles.

Scroll Saw Projects for Beginners

Scroll Saw Projects for Beginners

Investing in a scroll saw can be one of the best decisions you’ll make if you are interested in woodworking. The possibilities are endless as far as scroll saw projects for beginners are concerned.

From small puzzles that can amaze your kids to bird houses to home decors, there are lots of projects that you can complete with a scroll saw.

Plus there are lots of wood that you can use for scroll sawing such as plywood, red cedar, Spanish cedar, black walnut, American Holly, ebony, tulip wood, bird’s eye maple, mahogany, rosewood, cherry olive, and oak.

Learning on Your Own

Most people think that they need to enroll in a scroll saw class to be able to operate their tool. While that’s always welcome, the truth is that you don’t need to enroll in one. There are lots of people who were able to learn the craft on their own. Of course, you need lots of practice and patience if you want to learn scroll sawing on your own.

There are three types scroll saw work that you can learn on your own. These are:

  • Fretwork--- cutting small pieces of wood to produce a pattern
  • Marquetry--- wood inlays in which various shapes and varieties of wood are cut out and glued together to form a picture
  • Intarsia—wooden mosaic pattern wherein various pieces are glue together in a wooden support

Finding Scroll Saw Projects Online

The internet is the best venue to look for scroll saw projects for beginners. There are lots of websites that offer free scroll saw patterns. These patterns can be legally used by anyone for their scroll saw projects.

The patterns vary in design, from simple picture frames to plaques to clocks and handy items. These patterns also vary in cuts, from tight radius, sweeping curves, to long straight lines. Others have jagged edges and sharp corners.

If you’re a beginner, you should look for and use practice patterns first. Doing so will help you get acquainted with your scroll saw. It can also build your skills and confidence.

As mentioned earlier, you should be persistent in practicing your scroll sawing skills. This is the only way for you to improve your skills.

Patience is also important. Don’t get too frustrated if you are not able to follow the marked lines well. Correctly follow a pattern as best as you can. Once you have built up confidence, you can move on to a bigger project.

It’s up to you to choose a scroll saw pattern. You may simply choose a pattern depending on the design. Others choose a pattern that they feel is complicated enough to challenge them and consequently improve their skills.

You don’t even have to follow the pattern that you downloaded online. You can also add or remove elements. Like in any craft pattern, you can use your imagination to make a scroll saw pattern look like your own.

Regardless of the scroll saw pattern you find online, you can download the file onto your computer. Then print the file on a piece of paper.

scroll saw projects for beginners

Tips in Using Scroll Saw Patterns

Once you have it printed, apply the pattern to the wood piece. Spray adhesive or put glue to attach the pattern into the piece of wood that you will be cutting.

Rubber cement could also be an option as it can come off easily. It also doesn’t leave any marks on the surface of the wood. Others use a double sided masking tape to affix the pattern into the wood piece.

It is not recommended, though, that you hand-trace the pattern into the wood with a pencil or tracing paper. The reason is that the slightest movement of the pattern could be enough to weaken an area, or make it hard to cut. Even the act of tracing the pattern on the wood itself could move the line, which make it hard for you to get an accurate cut.

After attaching the pattern to the wood, you can then drill pilot holes at the start of each line as well as starting point for the shapes.

Sitting Down or Standing Up When Scrolling

Once you have started to cut the pattern, you may wonder if you are supposed to sit or remain standing throughout the entire scroll sawing process.

The rule of thumb is to stand directly in front of the scroll saw during the initial stages. Don’t avoid standing off at the sides as it would make it hard for you to feed the work piece into the blade.

If the project drags on for hours, you could get a high stool so you can work longer. This would enable you to sit down and continue working on your project.

Using the Right Blade

One of the most important tips when making scroll saw projects for beginners is to use the right blade for the design. The best blade can make or break the quality of design to be made.

Remember that when working with thin woods, you should use a number 3 double tooth blade. It can produce fewer chips on woods aside from lasting longer than other blade types.

And when you install the blade, make sure that the teeth are facing down. If the blade is installed with the teeth facing upward, it won’t be able cut the wood.

scroll saw projects for beginners

Finding Correct Blade Tension

Once you have inserted the blade, fasten the tension knob. It should be turned three quarters beyond the resistance point.

You don’t want the blade to be very tightly fastened as it would likely break and damage your scroll saw. A loose blade on the other hand won’t be able to cut a straight line.


The bottom line is that there are lots of scroll saw projects for beginners that you can find online. You can follow the patterns you find online to improve your skills, or get a better feel of your tool. You can then progress with scroll sawing after completing several projects or patterns.

Scroll Saw Blade Types

Scroll Saw Blade Types

If you’ve never used a scroll saw before, or you’ve used it occasionally, then it is likely that you have this conception that scroll saw blades are very much like one another.

However, the truth is that there are various types of scroll saw blades. These scroll saw blade types can have an impact on your next project.

With the numerous scroll saw blade types, you can’t really blame novice scroll saw users to buy the first blades they see on the shelves. Others also buy the cheapest blades.

Two Kinds

There are two major kinds of blades that work with scroll saws—plain end and pin end. The former is mostly used in modern saws, while pin-end blades are used in older saws.

Beginners are generally discouraged from using pin-end blades. While it is easier and faster to change pin-end blades, the main problem with this type of scroll saw blade is that it would require a 1/16” starter hole in the workpiece. On the other hand, a plain end blade can slip through a 1/64”inch hole. This can make a big difference especially when working on an intricate project.

Moreover, it is no longer that difficult to change plain-end blades. In the past, a special wrench was needed to set and adjust plain-end blades in scroll saws. But these days, quick release pads are now being integrated in newer saws. Thus, there’s minimal effort needed in changing and setting up blades.

Seven Major Types

scroll saw blade types

Then there are the seven major types of blades, to wit:


The major characteristic of this type of scroll saw blade is its simplistic design. The standard blade has teeth of the same size and same distance from each other.

Standard scroll saw blades are made of wood or metal. Wood blades have larger teeth that metal blades. These also have more space between the teeth. Wood blades are designed to clear the sawdust.

Skip Tooth

You may easily mistake skip tooth blades as standard too blades, until you notice that every other tooth is missing. This space between the teeth is designed to keep the blade cool even after long periods of use. This characteristic makes the skip tooth blade ideal for novice scrollers.

Double Tooth Blades

this can also be mistaken for a skip tooth blade. However, the difference is that it has a large space between sets of two teeth. Compared to the skip tooth blade, it can cut a bit slower. But it leaves a very smooth cut.

Reverse Tooth Blades

this type of blade has a skip-tooth configuration. However, the last inch of the teeth is pointing in the opposite direction. This is designed to cut on both the up and down stroke, and minimize tear out on the underside of the work piece.

Compared to a standard blade, reverse tooth blades cut slower. However, you can expect a smooth edge when you use this type of blade.

Precision ground tooth

this type is also very similar to the skip tooth blade. But it has tiny and sharp teeth made from fine carbon steel. If you are looking for a blade that can outlast and outperform other blade types, then this is the type you should get. It also has the ability to cut fast and smooth, in both straight and radius cuts. However, it isn’t recommended for beginners due to the sharpness of this type of blade.

Spiral blades

this is the type of blade that is best used for cutting very intricate portrait patterns. It has normal blades which have been together, resulting to all sides having teeth. With that teeth design, spiral blades are capable of cutting well in all directions. You don’t even have to spin the work piece to do so.

Crown tooth blades

as you would expect from its name, this blade has teeth shaped like a crown. Also, there’s a noticeable gap in between each crown. With its unique design, crown tooth blade can cut on both up and down strokes. In terms of speed it cuts slightly slower than regular blades.

Choosing the Right Scroll Saw Blade Type

With the various scroll saw blade types, a novice scroll saw user may get confused as to which type he should get for his project. Aside from knowing the characteristics of each blade type, the following factors can help him decide which type to purchase:

Kind of material to be cut

The kind of material that you intend to cut is one critical factor to consider in determining the kind of blade you would use. Standard blades, for instance, can be used in cutting most wood types. But for other materials like aluminum and plastic, special blades like spiral and crown tooth blades are more appropriate.

Blade measurements

Blades are available in sizes using numbers. The numbers range from as high to #12 to below #0, like #2/0 and #3/0. Generally speaking, the higher the number of the blade then the bigger it is. It also has a lower number of teeth per inch.So a #12 blade has fewer teeth than a #7 blade. It also has thicker and wider blades than the #7 blade.

Moreover, you would need thicker and wider blades when dealing with thicker and harder materials. Going back to our example, a #12 blade can achieve cleaner cuts than a #7 blade.

The intricacy of your patterns

Finally you should also look into the intricacy of the pattern that you are to work on. You should use a blade with small teeth when you are to do complex patterns. Keep in mind that bigger blades won’t be able to cut tight corners.


In closing, it is important for any novice scroll saw user to know the different types of scroll saw blades. This would help him or her find the right scroll saw blade for a particular type of project, and increase the likelihood of completing the project without any hassle.