What Is A Scroll Saw Used For | How To Use It Safely?

A scroll saw in a table

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Scroll saws with a paddle or electric-powered saw have a variety of uses. With its thin blade, it can cut ultra-complex shapes across a wide range of materials. The marquetry, intarsia, zigzag, circular, and angled cuts that can be made with this saw also come in handy for carving various domestic crafts like toys and home decorations.

However, the purpose of a scroll saw is a genuine mystery to most people, but we will answer all your questions about it, such as what it is used for and how it works. What are the tips and tricks for using it? Let’s jump into the article to get the answer to all of your queries.

What Can the Scroll Saw Be Used for?

Scroll saws are specialized tools used to make intricate cuts in small, delicate parts, so most DIYers and woodworkers do not have one in their toolboxes. Cutting with scroll saws is the same as drilling a hole and drilling inside or cutting from the outside and working inward. However, if you are new to using it, there is much to learn about using your scroll saw. If that is the case, you must first understand what a scroll saw is.

What is a Scroll Saw?


Scroll saws look a lot like sewing machines. A small saw is made with a thin and narrow slotted blade mainly used for intricate cuts in woodworking or fine work of wood or many other materials. It is similar to a powered bench-top coping saw with a pedal-operated machine and a pedal that can be adjusted hands-free.

Uses of Scroll Saw

As you now know, scroll saws serve a variety of purposes. Now, we will highlight its specific uses below to give you a complete idea.

1. To Cut Dovetail Joint When Manufacturing Small Furniture


Carpenters and woodworkers use scroll saws to cut dovetail joints while they make small furniture, like jewelry boxes, cabinets, etc. There are many types of wood joints, but the most common is the dovetail joint, which allows a woodworker to connect two perpendicular pieces and glue them together. As well as making joints, they design inlay patterns to separate small furniture pieces using scroll saws.

2. Home Decoration


This device is excellent for decorating your beloved home. Carpenters see no substitute for a scroll saw to decorate the home with small crafts such as coasters, bookends, baskets, bowls, and all holiday decorations.

3. Musical Instruments


Constricting a musical instrument with precision is essential to get the desired sound. A scroll saw is the perfect way to shape the instrument to its perfect cut.

If you are a beginner, you might want to start by constructing a simple sound box and then move on to simple string instruments and ensembles.

4. Making Toys


Beginner woodworkers typically make toys during their first practice using a scroll saw. That’s not to say that making toys is easy or uncomplicated. On the contrary, the work is quite intricate when it needs to give the fine details of various toys. It is also hard to get many details or do smaller pieces.

5. Non-Metal Materials


The scroll saw is usually used on wood, plastic, and metal for cutting complex profiles, patterns, and joints. Woodworkers new to woodworking should avoid hard metals, but mild metals such as copper and brass are easier to work with. Use lubricant when cutting aluminum to prevent damaging the blade or the object you are cutting.

How To Use a Scroll Saw Safely: Tips for Beginners


The scroll saw is useful when cutting wood or other materials into smaller pieces for fine art. Be sure you understand what the scroll saw does before using it. So, follow the instructions bellowed.

  • First, cut or draw marks on your wood with a pencil to get the size you want. 
  • Now cut the line that you have marked and then reverse the blade back into that line and cut at a different angle. Again, reverse the blade back and follow another line until it joins a point, and you will get a precise and accurate sharp cut.
  • There is a low and a high speed. So, you can keep the speed high and low as needed.
  • Make sure that you are applying firm pressure to hold your board tight against the base of your scroll saw so that you will not have vibration and movement and will get a cleaner cut when you are cutting.
  • Keep practicing. Once you do more practice, you can go around the bend.
  • Notice how your fingers move closer to the blade as you cut the wood. Since you are a beginner, you must focus more on this aspect. So, don’t put your finger any closer.

Advantages of Using a Scroll Saw

  • If we compare the advantages of a scroll saw, there is no doubt that a scroll saw is a much more precise cutting device than a band saw, even if the band saw may be more adaptable.
  • Compared to other sawing techniques, a scroll saw cut produces an edge with a better polish. Usually, only a little sanding is required to reach the desired finish.
  • There is a foot pedal so you can control the motion of the saw blade using. 
  • A scroll saw needs less floor space.

The Disadvantage of Using a Scroll Saw

A scroll saw’s thin design can cause the motor to work harder and result in poor quality and speed of cut because thick wood is challenging to cut. It is also difficult to make straight cuts with this saw since it has a small blade. Therefore, when doing this type of work, it would be best to use a different saw each time.

Best Scroll Saw for Your Consideration

Be sure that the model you choose is appropriate for your needs and skill level before investing in a tool like a scroll saw. Based on precision, use, strength, versatility, and added features, almost all experts ranked a few scroll saws as the best after testing and evaluating numerous scroll saws. They are equally appropriate for woodworkers of any experience level, from beginners to experts. So, let’s check them below.

  • DEWALT 20-Inch Scroll Saw
  • Dremel Moto-Saw Variable-Speed Scroll 
  • Delta 20-Inch Variable-Speed Scroll 
  • Excalibur 16-Inch Tilting Head Scroll Saw at Amazon
  • WEN 16-Inch Variable-Speed Scroll Saw
  • Jet 22 in. 120-Volt Scroll Saw JWSS-22B
  • ShopSeries RK7315 Scroll Saw
  • Shop Fox W1713 Scroll Saw

Final Tips

The scroll saw is a delightful instrument. You will get a lot of fun using it to create highly complex woodworking projects. They work best when you either trace a pattern on the object you are cutting or draw one on paper and position it over the top of your workpiece. They are perfect for both straight angles and curves.

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