Many people are intimidated by how to choose a scroll saw because they think it’s much different than a regular machine. The truth is, scroll saws have evolved so much in recent years that they can be used like regular machines with the same effectiveness. It just takes a little bit of practice to get the hang of using one.
What exactly is a scroll saw? A scroll saw is basically an electrically operated, thin-cutting saw that utilizes a small foot pedal for its operation. Like the regular band saw, it does not cut with a uniform blade circumference. Instead, it cuts using a variable-shaped blade wheel that is hinged between two rails. This means that the width of the teeth can be varied, which makes it useful for many woodworking applications.
As far as the scroll saw patterns go, there are actually quite a few out there. The most common ones include beveled edges lapped edges, and a combination of both. The two types of beveled edges are referred to as “diamond and square” bevels. Lapped edges consist of sloping grooves down the length of the blade (on both sides) while the combination bevel consists of evenly spaced grooves.
One of the most popular scroll saw projects is making hardwoods. These include maple, ash, birch, oak, Aspen, cherry and many others. If you’re looking to cut hardwoods at home, you should know that every single one of these has different grain patterns. The grain of each wood will determine how light or heavy the wood will feel when it is cut.
I recommend only working with softwoods when building scroll saws. Of course, you’ll also have to consider the cost of purchasing the machine and the cost of the wood as well. Although some hardwoods can be very expensive, they are still relatively inexpensive compared to hardwoods like oak and cherry. Choosing a cheaper saw will ultimately make it much more economical to get started with your woodworking project. Of course if you want to purchase a commercially produced scroll saw, you can always start with a softwood saw and upgrade later.
Another factor to consider when it comes to how to choose a scroll saw wood blade is the thickness of the blade itself. Some scroll saws will only accept certain thicknesses of wood, while others will accept virtually any thickness of wood. I recommend purchasing a saw that accepts the widest possible width of blade. The thicker the blade is, the less intricate patterns and cuts you will be able to make.
Another factor to keep in mind when it comes to how to choose a scroll saw wood blade is the amount of flexing the saw’s metal frame is capable of. A scroll saw will generally be most efficient at cutting hard wearing, solid woods as well as softer woods, but some scroll saws are made with softer plywood in order to provide users with a more detailed cut. Although plywood is very strong and durable, it is still susceptible to nicks and cuts. The best solution for cutting plywood is to purchase a plywood frame that is as rigid as possible, and then use a heavy duty aluminum or steel blade along with a polymer front and back plate to create a rigid framework that is nearly indestructible.
Whether you’re starting out on a budget or just looking for a more versatile saw, it is important that you know what kind of wood and which blade type to get. When it comes to scroll saw wood blades, oak, maple, birch, katana, and cypress remain the most popular options. While each of these wood types provides different characteristics that are sure to help you when cutting, some saws are more suited for specific uses than others. For example, an oak scroll saw will cut beautifully straight and even, but on the other hand, a maple scroll saw can be expected to cut smoothly and evenly, while a katana is better suited to intricate detailed work.