For the amateur woodturner, the axminster trade scroll saw is a tool of choice for many different types of woodturning applications. The scroll saw is more compact and easier to store than the larger machine versions and the scroll saw patterns are simple to learn and use making it a perfect choice for beginners. However the axminster is not suitable for projects requiring complex detailed cuts as the fine detail is usually achieved by the machine. This is especially true of detailed moldings.
Most scroll saw patterns employ the use of miter slots to provide for a more accurate cross cut. This results in a cleaner and straighter cut with fewer chips from the end result. The miter slots themselves are very close together and the angle they cut are precise. The size of the slot can vary and will depend on the project. This provides the opportunity to create intricate cross cuts and to scale the pieces perfectly.
In general a miter slot is a straight slot that is drilled at the base of the scroll, right where the joinery begins. It then runs along the outside edges of the piece and cuts along the inside edge of the slot. The depth of the slot cut will depend on the design of the scroll saw and the material being cut. This will result in a more accurate and clean cut, but at the expense of producing a more angled cut. This can cause chipping if the materials being cut are stiff or have a high sheen.
Another benefit of the scroll saw patterns that is often overlooked is the ease in which they can be used. All that is required is a flat and level surface upon which the scroll can be slid down the slot. There is no need for any tools other than a level and a small screwdriver to accomplish this task. The flat surface can even be made into a stool by using an appropriately sized wood stool.
The ability to use a scroll saw allows a craftsperson to eliminate a huge number of potential problems. One of the first major problems that can occur when a hand scroll saw is in use is the backslope of the scroll. If not controlled properly, it can result in the scroll making a “backslope” turn while being used. The result is that the wood on the far side of the backstop will be cut more accurately than the one on the near side. A far-off piece could potentially damage a closer piece while in the process of cutting. This is why many craftsmen prefer to use them under the supervision of a professional.
Another major benefit of using a scroll saw is that it provides ease in accuracy and speed. Because all cuts are made on a flat plane, the scroll saw can move along a very consistent path making it ideal for cross cuts. Using a hand saw for cross cuts is often inaccurate and can lead to poor cuts.
While using a scroll saw that has an automatic cross cut feature, you will find that accuracy is improved as well as speed. One of the most difficult things to do as a wood worker is to cross cut a piece of wood and make sure that all of the pieces are perpendicular with each other. You will find that using a scroll saw makes this task much easier because the depth of the cuts is consistently greater than a hand saw. This accuracy allows for accurate cross cuts.
Because the saw is stationary when in operation, you will also find that the size of cuts is consistent. With many hand tools, the angle of the cuts are not always uniform. This leads to a wide variety of different sizes when using different hand saws. This uniformity in sizes means that woodworkers will be able to produce high quality pieces of wood with little guess work or wasted material. In addition, because the scroll saw is stationary the cuts can be done very quickly, allowing the woodworker to move on to the next project.