A scroll saw is a small power tool that is used to cut intricate curves in wood. This saw has a fine, short reciprocating blade against which you can move your workpiece to make the cut. The blade can be removed and then placed through a pre-drilled hole to cut internal profiles when you do not have an entry slot.
Even though it requires a certain degree of skill and patience to achieve optimal results, the scroll saw is not hard to use. In fact, you only need to follow these 5 short steps:
- Draw the outline of your design onto the wood with a pencil.
- Put your safety gear on and secure the scroll saw on your work surface.
- Choose the correct blade for the thickness of your material and make sure it is sharp.
- Set the tension on the blade and select the speed. Keep in mind that you should use a higher speed for soft materials, and a lower speed for harder materials.
- Turn the scroll saw on and guide the design through the blade by gently pressing the material down and forward with both hands. Do not rush the wood faster than the cutting speed to avoid any accidents.
If you are a beginner, you can practice cutting simple designs on pieces of scrap wood to get used to the different speeds. Once you are comfortable handling the scroll saw, you can progressively move onto more complex works.
Besides knowing how to effectively operate your scroll saw, there are other things you should be mindful of such as safety precautions, any additional equipment you might need, proper storage conditions, and so on.
Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about how to use a scroll saw!
What safety precautions should be followed when using a scroll saw?
Scroll saws are not as dangerous as other saws. However, your hands and fingers will be very close to the blade when you are working with this tool.
Because of that, it is essential to wear protective gear. It does not matter whether you are only going to use the saw for a short time or give the final touches to a project. Accidents can happen in a matter of seconds, so it is always better to be safe than sorry.
A complete set of gear to safely operate your scroll saw includes hearing protection because the saw can be loud, a face mask to protect your lungs by preventing the inhalation of sawdust or any other kind of particles, and safety glasses to protect your eyes from those same particles. Gloves are not recommended because they could get caught in the saw blade.
You should avoid wearing loose-fitting clothes or jewelry such as necklaces, bracelets, and rings. Anything that could get in the way or get caught in the tool is prone to causing an accident. On that note, you should also tie up your hair or keep it out of the way.
Keeping your work area clean, tidy, and well-illuminated is also important in order to ensure a risk-free environment.
As regards the tool itself, you must make sure your blade is sharp and rust-free to cut through wood easily and safely. A dull or rusted blade can tear through your workpiece, which could send debris in your direction, or make uneven cuts.
Do not forget to always read the instructions manual before operating your scroll saw for the first time. The manual is there for a reason, so make sure you read it carefully because the instructions in it were specifically written for the saw you are going to use. Even if you are an experienced user, there might some safety tips you are not familiar with.
Do you need any additional equipment to operate a scroll saw?
Other than a blade, you do not need any additional equipment to operate a scroll saw. However, there are two accessories that can improve your experience and efficiency.
The first of these accessories is a foot pedal switch. It is pretty intuitive to use, you have to press down on the pedal to start the saw and release it to stop. This extra piece of equipment provides hands-free operation so that you can focus only on your workpiece.
If you have run out of space on your worktable, then you can get a scroll saw stand. The stand provides stability and adjustable height to set the tool at a comfortable height for you. Just keep in mind that stands are made for specific scroll saw models, so make sure you get one that works for your saw.
If you have already bought your new scroll saw, you do not need to worry about acquiring extra equipment unless you want to work more comfortably.
Do you need any qualifications to use a scroll saw?
You do not need any special qualifications to use a scroll saw. It is a safe tool that’s very easy to use, so beginners (and even kids!) can use it without any worries as long as all safety precautions are followed.
How should you store a scroll saw?
Since the scroll saw is a stationary tool, you cannot simply remove the blade and put everything in a case as you would do with other tools.
However, you still need to protect it from dust, so it would be a good idea to unplug it and then cover it with a cotton sheet, for example, after you have finished your work. Moreover, remember to always keep it in a cool and dry area to prevent water and humidity damage.
What does need more special storage conditions are the blades. Scroll saw blades wear out quickly, so to prolong their life a bit more, you need to remove them from the tool and store them in a cool and dry area to avoid rusting.
Furthermore, the blades are so small and thin compared to other saw blades, that they can easily get misplaced or lost. If you are a handy DIYer, you can make your own saw blade storage tubes out of small PVC pipes with caps on both ends. You can also find storage tubes available on Amazon or at some hardware stores.
A scroll saw can help expert woodworkers and beginners alike create many fun and intricate workpieces. It is really easy to operate since it only takes 5 short steps, and it poses almost no dangers to the user, as long as all safety measures are properly followed.
Now you are ready to down to work with that scroll saw!