Scroll Saw 101: Everything you want to know about a Scroll Saw

The scroll saw is used for cutting a wide range of things. It varies from making wood pieces to cutting through a metal pipe. Now, the scroll saws come with a knob that allows you to regulate the speed. Generally, most of them produce 400-1,800 strokes/minute! Do not get confused between a scroll saw and a jigsaw. A scroll saw is more heavy-duty and cuts a wide range of materials. The saw’s table can be tilted and locked to several angles for making a cutting slope. It cuts more efficiently than another type of saws due to its small blade. See my comparison between scroll saw vs band saw here.

What are the Types of Scroll Saw?

delta_scroll_sawThe below is a list of the scroll saw types that are widely used in different projects. The main specialty of these scroll saw is that they are able to cut things smoothly and efficiently. So, let’s read more and enlighten ourselves by getting first-hand information about these scroll saws.

Standard Tooth Blades

The standard tooth blades contain small teeth of the same size. The space between two teeth is small and every tooth has a common distance from others. They are available for both wood and metal. Wood blades have large teeth and the interspace between the teeth is large enough to clear out the sawdust while cutting.

Double-tooth Blades

A double-tooth blade can also be called a skip-tooth blade that has large space between two set of teeth. It does not provide a quick output but cuts very smoothly.

Skip-tooth Blades

Skip-tooth blades are similar to standard tooth belts, but they have every other tooth missing. The space between two teeth can be extended to let the blade cool down after cutting. They are very efficient for toy making.

Reverse Skip-tooth Blades

Reverse Skip-Tooth Blades are similar to skip-tooth blades including a selected number of bottom teeth upwards. The design of this blade does not allow splintering on the underside of the cut. If your saw permits, place the blade in such a way that two/three teeth are above the table top and the saw arm is in the highest position. Reverse Skip-Tooth blades are very suitable for cutting plywood.

Crown-tooth Blades

Crown-tooth blades come with innovative designs. The teeth of is blade are crowned and there is a space between each crown. The blade can be placed in either direction of the saw and it does not need to go up or down when installed. Crown-Tooth blades are suitable for cutting plastic or Plexiglas®. It is slower than regular blades and it can be reversed if one side gets dull. It will provide sharper sawing.

Precision-ground Blades

The precision-ground blade is similar to the skip-tooth blade. It has small teeth that are ground to shape instead of being filled. It is used to get much sharper finishing, cut a precision line, or making a smooth surface. People like using precision-ground blades as they follow a specific pattern line while cutting.

Spiral Blades

The spiral blade is made of twisting a group of blades to get teeth all the way around. The advantage of this blade is, you can cut the wood from any direction without displacing it. But, spiral blades cannot give a smooth surface with a plain finishing. It gives a wide cut surface, blunt corners, and tend to stretch upon using it. It is better not to use this blade without special applications.

Specialty Blades

Specialty blades, as the name suggests, are designed specially to cut metal, plastic, and glass. There is some blade-type scroll saw inserts for sanding and filling. It allows specialty cutting.

What are the Rules of Using a Scroll Saw?

If you are working with a scroll saw, you should follow the standard rules of using a scroll saw. So, here is a list of rules that you should be following while working with a scroll saw

  • At first, start the machine and engage the blade into the workpiece along the marked line. Hold the workpiece on the table and keep moving it steadily to get a smooth finish.
  • You may need to pull the workpiece towards you slowly so that you can negotiate sides, especially tight corners. Upon turning it towards you, it will stop the blade from cutting anymore.
  • Do not give extra force on either side of the blade! If you feel the necessity of reversing the blade, turn off the machine and carefully change the direction of the blade.
  • Light touch and patient sawing are the secrets behind successful scroll saw cutting.
  • Be careful of the tension every time you cut things with a scroll saw. To set the perfect tension, place a wood in front of the blade first. Then tighten the blade so that it can only move about 1/8 inches.
  • The stamped scroll saw blade may suddenly change its direction to the side. To avoid this problem, place the wood at an angle from the right to get a straight cut.
  • If you want to cut the corner sharply, give a little pressure on the side of the blade and spin the wood around the blade.
  • Try to use new and sharp blades so that it gives a smooth finish while cutting. Scroll saw blades cost 15 to 75 each which is pretty cheap.
  • Pull out the blade by unlocking the tension and putting down the chuck to remove it.
  • Use turpentine or steel wool to clean the blades.

How to Install a Scroll Saw?

The installation process starts with unplugging the saw. After unplugging, release the tension on the upper wheel. Slip the new blade around the wheel with all the blade guides backed off. Start tensioning the blade and when the tension is enough, track it by turning the upper wheel using one hand. Use another hand to fix the tilt of the wheel’s axis. The blade should be placed at the middle of the rim. Adjust the thrust bearings (upper and lower) and then the left-side guides to fix the blade guides. I recommend you to use a square while adjusting as it helps keep the blade within the line. Clearance should be provided by placing a piece of white paper between the blade guide and the blade. Do not touch the blade before stopping the motor and removing the cover!