How to Use a Scroll Saw – Tips and Techniques

Power saws are always tricky to use and need a bit of practice before using. The scroll saw is one such power saws and used to cut and shape complex designs on woods and metals. Here we are going to explain how to use a scroll saw in details.

How to Use a Scroll Saw- Scroll Saw Tips and Techniques

 Applying a few tips and techniques makes the work easier.

Draw Your Design First

First, draw your design. It is a very crucial step for getting the perfect shape. Starting with a simple design is a must for a beginner as using a scroll saw in itself is a matter of constant practice.

Whatever design you have in your mind, just draw that on the wood with a pencil. Your pencil marks must be visible enough to be easily seen.

You need to add bridges within the pattern. The bridges connect the different portions of the wood and create zones of positive and negative space.

The wood remains intact in the positive space and needs to be removed in the negative space.

Choose the Right Blade

The next step is to choose the correct size blade, and it depends on the density of wood you are going to cut with the saw.

Thick woods need a large blade, and thin woods need small. The same applies when you are cutting a stack of thin wood; it requires a larger blade.

The lower number of the blade decides how small it is, and the higher number decides how large it should be.

Cutting with smaller blades is quite obviously easier, as it is cutting a thin plank and cuts slow. You need to have a firm control on the scroll saw which is perfect for accurately shaping complicated designs.

Test the Saw by Cutting a Scrap Wood

Don’t make a mistake of cutting your project at once. Before cutting your main project, it is better to practice on a block of scrap wood.

It has several benefits. It determines whether the blade size, the tension, the balance of the surface, the lighting are perfect or not.

So, start with a small cut on scrap wood.

Set the Saw Speed

The next step is to set the speed of the saw. Just like the blade size, speed of the scroll saw also depends on the density of the wood.

Set a slow speed while cutting thin and dense woods. Hardwoods also need to be cut at slow speed.

Set a high speed while cutting softwoods like maple, conifers, and Amborella.

A beginner must start using a scroll saw at a slow speed. You can also check the speed on scrap wood before cutting the main project.

Make the Final Cut

Time for making the final cut. Set your blade on the first line of the project. Bring the wood forward and press it with hands. It helps to guide the blade.

Use your forefingers and either thumbs to make small turns for adjusting the wood.

Always keep an eye on the thumb and fingers that are not in action. It saves your hands from an unwanted casualty.

Have a good hold on the scroll saw and stick to the same speed. Don’t bring the wood towards the saw hurriedly. It might cause cutting off fingers or hamper the saw.

Draw the wood back towards you, once the blade reaches a turning point. The turning point might be 90-degrees or more. The purpose is to move the line that is already cut down.

Turn the wood around accordingly and start cutting it following the previous procedure.

How to Use a Scroll Saw Safely- Safety Preparations

 Following tips and techniques is not enough. Safety preparation is equally significant.

Wear Safety Equipment

Wearing safety equipment while working is essential for one’s own safety. Invest in some high-quality safety equipment and make sure you wear it all the while you are working.

Wear goggles, dust masks, hearing protection, and make sure your eyes, ears are safe from the dust and noise.

Do not wear long or baggy sleeves. Avoid wearing rings or other jewelry.

Check if the Saw is Placed Perfectly

Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions, be it adjusting the speed, tension, or learn how to set the scroll saw on the working surface. Do what the manufacturer asked you to bolt, screw, or clamp the scroll saw.

Check the Blade Tension

Working with the right tension on the blade is very important to have a safe and proper cutting experience, so make sure to check it.

The ideal tension of the blade is all about balancing, where the saw blade while cutting the wood is neither too tight nor too loose.

You can gauge whether it is in the right tension by slightly touching the blade at the midpoint. A saw blade with the correct tension will not randomly move in any direction. It always remains in one direction and moves within 3mm.

Check the Connection

Be observant and alert while connecting the electrical scroll saw in the socket. A bit carelessness leads on to grave casualty. Check the electric switch whether it is on or off before switching on the machine. If your scroll saw is cordless then also make sure you are safely turning on the device. Never playfully turn on the scroll saw, the sudden jolt might end up cutting your fingers.

Use Light to Get Better Vision to the Cut Line

Whenever you are working with an electrical saw, make sure to work in proper lighting. Working in broad daylight is the best option.

Then there are scroll saws with light source available in the market. You just need to turn on the light while cutting your project. It will give you a proper vision while working and the pencil marks will be in a better sight.

Or you can simply use a well-lighted room or bright light lamps while working. To cut the line accurately, you need proper lighting.

Turn the Switch Off While You Finish the Cut

After you are finished cutting your project, you need to do two things religiously.

First switch off the scroll saw. If it is an electrical one, then take off the cord from the socket. After switching it off, take out the blade and keep it in the storage container. Storing sharp objects is always rational.

If you are not going to use the scroll saw any sooner, then detaching it from the workbench and storing it is the best option.

To have a safe usage follow the techniques of using a scroll saw. The tips will only make your job easy. Using such a device is risky, and unless you are more than confident about knowing how to use it, continue practicing. Much practice will result in perfection.

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