A scroll saw is without a doubt a favorite amongst professional woodworkers, yet that does not mean that you must be highly skilled to enjoy one. In fact, quite the contrary, most younger children use a scroll saw to learn about power tools and eventually become interested in woodworking. So if you’re wondering what a scroll saw does or how it works, you’re in the correct place. Scroll saws come in all different shapes, sizes and configurations. Whether you are looking for a compact design, or a larger unit, there is a scroll saw pattern that will meet your needs.
The most basic scroll saws will allow you to cut horizontal. These saws are often made of aluminium and feature either a fence or a blade to help you cut along a straight line. Horizontal cuts can be made at a slower speed than vertical cuts, which can be desirable if you are working with large pieces. These types of scroll saws are great for large trees or other large pieces that you would like to cut accurately and evenly. If you are just starting out, it is also possible to get circular patterns, which can cut out circles in different shapes. These are often used to outline areas in building and other similar projects.
Another variation is the variable speed version. This has a built-in variable speed motor that controls the speed of the blade. Because variable speed motors can make noise, some scroll saws do not have this feature. Some models will have a hand wheel attached to the handle of the saw; however this is easily adjustable by removing the hand wheels. Most scroll saws will have a built in fence, which allows you to adjust the cutting height on your machine.
The third type of adjustment that we will discuss is the scroll saw blade tension knob. This is a very important piece to the scroll saw itself as a poorly set tension knob can result in inaccurate cuts. The scroll saw blade tension knob is usually screws into a sleeve which fits into the scroll saw itself. It is important to loosen the screw before tightening the knob so that you don’t cause damage to the saw. Loose tension results in less accuracy, so ensuring that it is properly adjusted is vital.
Another common feature that many scroll saws will have is a big notch. This is a slot in the side of the blade that allows you to use a handy jigsaw to cut small pieces. These are ideal for precision cuts and can be helpful for woodworking beginners who aren’t sure how to identify the correct cut. The biggest issue with these is that they are easily defeated if you don’t pay enough attention to them. Cutting your wood with the wrong jig slot can mean that the cuts you make are inaccurate, messy and require an extra fine of smoothing to get them right.
The final type of adjustment that we will talk about is the table adjustments. This is a series of holes which allow the scroll saw blade to glide over the workpiece. These adjustments are most commonly used by professionals to ensure that their cuts are straight and perfectly-cut. Although this can make the workpiece extremely heavy, as many woodworkers prefer their cuts to be as light as possible, it can also be useful for inexperienced woodworkers as the ease of tightening these adjustments makes it much easier to work with.
If all the other pieces of my scroll saw technology seem difficult or confusing then I wouldn’t worry too much about this. Although I’ve included a short description of each adjustment below, I encourage you to read the rest of this article to get a better idea of what you need to know when it comes to your power saw and scroll saw maintenance. Although you may find that your saw doesn’t need any additional tools to perform these functions, they are still useful to ensure that your projects are as perfect as possible. In the end, we all want to feel proud of the woodworking project that we build!
One of the most important factors when determining how well a scroll saw and power saw work is the operation of the blade and the foot pedal. Both saws require the operator to use their foot to slowly close and open the blade; this is known as ‘back and forth’ operation. On scroll saws, this is performed by rotating the blade so that it is perpendicular to the user’s hands and cutting depth as the blade rotates. On power saws, the blade is moved in a circular motion across the work piece; these are known as ‘Cipro knives’ and require the operator to keep both feet on the work surface during use. To measure how well your saw operates, attach a screw to the underside of the blade and use the screwdriver to tighten and loosen the nut on the blade, and the same for the foot pedal.