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What Is Scroll Saw Woodworking?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari

Scroll saw woodworking is the process of using a specially designed saw to make wood cuts. The scroll saw is useful for making intricate cuts, and woodworkers will use this saw to make complex designs that require small cuts or curves. Hobbyists often use scroll saw woodworking to create toys, puzzles, games, and decorations, and furniture makers may use this type of cutting process to create decorative pieces of a table, chair, bureau, and so on.

Such cutting is suitable for exceptionally small pieces of wood, so toys are often made with scroll saw woodworking. Dollhouse furniture, for example, can be cut from thin pieces of wood with intricate designs and specific shapes on a small scale. The scroll saw's blade operates at a high speed, and it is thin enough that tight curves can be cut without marring the wood or breaking the blade. A deck, or table, is used to stabilize the piece being cut, which makes the cutting process exceptionally easy. Like other types of woodworking equipment, the scroll saw can be dangerous to use and practice will be necessary before the user will make smooth, fine cuts perfectly.

Man with a drill
Man with a drill

Different blades can be used for scroll saw woodworking. The thickness of the blade will have an impact on what kind of cutting can be done; thinner blades are exceptionally useful for thin cuts, tight turns, and intricate patterns, while thicker blades are useful for straight cuts, thicker wood, and less intricate patterns. Thinner blades will also be more likely to break quickly, while thicker blades may last longer. If money is a concern, thicker blades may be suitable, but they may not be the best choice for all projects. The tension of the blade will also have an impact on the accuracy of the cut as well as the life of the blade, so the person doing the scroll saw woodworking will need to learn how to properly mount and tension the blade before use.

The "throat" of the scroll saw will also have an impact on its usefulness. This distance is measured from the back of the blade to the rear frame; this distance will dictate how large of a piece of wood can be cut. The saw is operated with a foot control so the user can keep both hands on the piece of wood being cut; this enhances the worker's control on the piece and increases the safety of the woodworking process.

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Discussion Comments


I use my scroll saw for making sword props for medieval fairs. I use a scroll saw pattern and just cut out the shape of the blade and sand it into a bladed edge. For safety reasons, metal swords and knives aren't allowed at most conventions so I get a lot of people asking me to re-create their metal swords in wood.

Using a scroll saw really make it pretty easy to imitate curved and complicated blade designs. Mine is designed to cut pretty big pieces of wood -- but it was expensive. If anyone wants to make wooden props, there are tons of free scroll saw patterns online! Dig in!

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