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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.

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