How to use a scroll saw? Step by Step Guide!

Woodworking Power Tools - Why You Need a Scroll Saw

This is a saw that works by either being pedaled or it is powered electrically. It is used to make and cut out curves in materials such as wood, metal, plastics and other materials. This saw was first used in early times to make designs for scrollwork and other sculpture thus deriving its name 'scroll saw'. Its speeds are relatively slow and the blades smaller as compared to other saws.

Therefore, they are less likely to cause any serious cuts as you cut with them. In addition, they are very reliable since they can cut out wonderful patterns and shapes on most materials. Using this saw is easy though it may at first seem complex, let's dig deep on how we will use it!

How to Use a Scroll Saw?

First and foremost, you have to come up with the design of your pattern then sketch it out on the material. You have to ensure that you are safe by putting on protective gear. Depending on the task's expectations, you adjust the saw's settings such as the suitable speed. Then, turn on the saw and direct the material around the blade to start cutting. After you've cut out the desired patterns, switch off the saw and smoothen the pattern's edges which might have come out rough.

Setting Up Your Scroll Saw

You first have to clamp it on the surface you are working on. You then put the suitable blade depending on the nature and size of the pattern that you wish to cut out. Then you are ready to go ahead and turn it on.

Drawing out your desired pattern on the wood

If it is your first time, I recommend a simple design to start you off, probably a simple flower design. A normal sharp pencil should be used to draw out your design on the wood. You then create spaces where there is wood and spaces where it has to be cut out, referred to as positive and negative spaces respectively. Ensure they link perfectly.

Safety wear and measures

In order for you to ensure no sawdust nor broken blades injure your eyes, put on safety goggles. Put them on before you start the machine and while you are cutting. Remove any long necklaces or other jewelry and put on short fitting sleeves to reduce the chances of anything being pulled by the blades. If you have long hair, tie it neatly too.

Ensuring your scroll saw is well secured on your work surface

Ensure you purchase your scroll saw from a genuine and trusted manufacturer. In order to clamp or screw the saw, follow the manufacturer's instructions correctly.

Use a #2 or #3 blade for 1/8 in thick

The lower blade numbers, #2 and #3 are smaller than the higher ones. Thin wood, about 3.2 mm thick requires a small blade .this is because the use of thin wood brings the expectation of a finer and very accurate design.

Use a #5 or #7 blade for wood that is around ¾ in [19 mm] thick

A thick and dense piece of wood, maybe wood laid in stacks requires a large blade to cut through it. This high blade number #5 and #7 are therefore large and suitable.

Set the tension on the blade

Larger blades obviously can withstand higher tension than the smaller ones. The tension standards are generally set by the manufacturer in the consumer's manual. A blade should be set to be tight enough to ensure it is accurate but not extremely tight. A sharp sound should be produced by a blade with correct tension should it be plucked like a guitar.

Turn the saw and light on

For clarity with your work, turn its light on after you have connected it to electricity and switched it on. Should the saw not have a light, get a special lamp, bright enough, and place it just above your saw.

Cutting Out Your Project

Before cutting out your pattern, you have to first set the scroll saw's speed. This speed depends on the material's thickness [wood for this case], the thicker the material the higher the speed required to cut through it. When cutting out, use both of your hands to guide the saw but ensure they do not move very close to the blade.

Testing the scroll saw by cutting a piece of scrap wood

This is very essential because it ensures you produced wonderful designs and patterns using the wood. This scrap to be used should be similar or almost similar to the one you are using for your project. This paints a good picture of what you aim at producing.

Set the scroll saw to a slow speed if the wood is thin

In order to ensure you do not cut the wood wrongly, at first set the speed to be slow. This enables you to adjust as you move on and learn more about the material you are using. Slower speeds are required for thin pieces of wood but the thicker and denser ones require faster speeds.

Choose a faster speed if the wood is a softwood

You might find it difficult to operate the scroll saw at fast speeds at first. I recommend that you try operating at these speeds with a scrap wood first so you do not spoil your final wood thus spoiling your patterns. Softwoods require to be cut at high speeds so as to increase the accuracy of your patterns.

Guide the design through the blade using both hands

You direct your design on the wood to the blade on the point you wish to start. When cutting, adjust the working surface using one thumb and the forefingers; ensure the other thumb is away from the blade path.at all times, look at your fingers to ensure they are not very close to the blade. Set a constant speed, varying the speed might make you end up cutting your fingers.

Remove your project from the blade when you need to make a quarter turn

 You should turn your project to you and then turn the blade into the line already cut. Forcing the saw to cut when making a quarter turn without moving the project results in poorly cut shapes.

Turn the scroll saw off and remove the blade when you are done.

After completion of the task, switch the saw off and remove the blade from the saw. Place the saw in your safe room and the blades in their containers.

Final Verdict and Recommendation

It will always be great that you purchase your scroll saw from a known, trusted and genuine manufacturer. This ensures that the saw and its components are of high quality and will serve you for a long time. Also, operate and store your scroll saw and you will see it stay longer and you also won't suffer from cuts and injuries resulting from carelessness.

About the Author James Robert

I am James Robert, a licensed Tools expert passionate about all things, tools and machinery. From the very begging, I love to deal with machinery things. Now I share my opinion and experience in the tools and home improvement industries. In this blog, I provide unbiased reviews in the form of Top 10 Lists.

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