Are you excited to break into the world of scroll sawing? There are so many awesome projects that you can create using a scroll saw.
How do you know which is the best scroll saw to use? A good quality scroll saw is a strong foundation. Here are a few other tips for picking out the best scroll saw setup for your particular project.1.
1. Know the Safety Rules
First things first. Whenever you are working with power tools you should know the safety rules. Also, try to avoid breathing in the dust as much as possible.
Brands can be different so know what will happen if a blade breaks in your scroll saw. That’s the best way to protect yourself from getting hurt by it.
A foot switch provides extra control and an extra layer of safety, so be sure to use it. You can also get a work hold-down that we recommend using as a beginner.
2. Don’t be Stingy
Even though you may be able to find a ‘cheap’ scroll saw, we don’t recommend it. As with most things, you pay for what you get.
If this type of woodworking project interests you, it’s worth it to make the investment. A cheap saw will not deliver and you will not be as happy with how your projects turn out. You don’t have to buy the most expensive scroll saw on the market, but get a decent one.
Read through scroll saw reviews to get an idea what others think of the machine you are considering. Find a mentor or a good teacher. Money spent learning from an expert is a wise investment and will save you a lot of frustration.
3. The Type of Blade
The right blade may be the most important thing to think about when beginning a new project. There is a huge variety of blades to pick from and each provides a slightly different cut.
Some are better for beginners than others. Let’s look at a few of the most common types. Of course, there are tons more blades than what we’ll talk about here, but this will give you an idea.
Standard Tooth Blades
The standard tooth is a very uniform blade. All the teeth are the same size and the space between them is exactly the same. Standard tooth blades fall into two major categories–wood and metal.
The ones for wood have larger teeth and the spaces between them are larger. This helps to clean away the sawdust as you’re cutting.
Imagine a standard tooth blade but every other tooth is missing. That’s what a skip-tooth blade looks like. This type of blade doesn’t heat up as fast as other types and is an excellent beginner’s blade.
A double-tooth blade is like a skip-tooth but there is a larger gap between each pair of teeth. Because of the extra spaces, the blade will cut slower than other types. But it leaves behind a nice, smooth cut.
Reverse Skip-Tooth Blades
On a reverse skip-tooth blade, the bottom half of the teeth point in the opposite direction. This is very useful when you want to prevent tearing or splintering on the underside of your cut. This can often happen when working with a material like plywood that isn’t as sturdy as solid wood.
Precision-ground blades are in essence skip-tooth blades. The difference is in how they’re made. The manufacturer grinds them down rather than filing them like other blades. They also have very small teeth.
This makes this blade super sharp with a super smooth, straight cut. This blade works best in the hands of an experienced craftsman. Its sharpness makes it pretty aggressive and it is too easy to make quick mistakes.
Spiral blades have teeth sticking out in all directions. The nice thing about this is that you can make cuts in multiple directions without having to turn the wood.
But, the cut is not very precise. These blades are only useful in a small range of special applications.
Crown-tooth blades have a double-pointed, or crown-shaped, tooth. There’s a space between each little crown.
The double edge is nice because you can use them in either direction. Once it gets dull, flip it around and keep right on cutting!
4. The Size of the Blade
The size of the blade may be even more important when choosing the best scroll saw for your project. Blades sizes range from 3/0, the thinnest, to 12, the widest.
Most experienced scroll saw folks prefer the thinnest blades. These deliver the most precise cuts.
The trouble is that if you don’t have a steady hand you can easily snap them off. They are very thin so just moving the wood wrong can break them. Because of this, they can be a very frustrating blade for a beginner to work with. It’s better to stick to wider blades until you get the hang of scroll sawing.
5. The Thickness of the Material
The type and thickness of the material you’re using is another important piece of the puzzle. In general, the thicker your material, the wider a blade you’ll need.
To give you an idea let’s look at a couple. Crafters often use a size 2/0, one of the thinnest blades available, with softwoods. This blade is precise and makes a fine, clean cut.
A Type 1 thickness is a good size for beginners when they want to create fine details. It’s thick enough that it won’t break easily, yet thin enough to still deliver good results.
Type 5 is a great all-purpose size. You can even cut raw lumber with this size. And when you want to cut thick materials a heavy-duty Type 12 is useful. This is anything 1 inch or thicker.
The Best Scroll Saw
As you can see a lot goes into choosing the best scroll saw for your craft. Not only is the machine important but also the blade you choose. Each has a different purpose and will work with your material differently.
For more fun, crafty projects, be sure to check out our do-it-yourself section. If you don’t see an article about what you want to learn, contact us with your idea! We’re always looking to add new, informative articles that people want to read.