Best Scroll Saw

Best Scroll Saw of 2019 Complete Reviews with Comparisons

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You can find various types of saws on the market, but scroll saws add style and artistic touch to the elements. Thanks to their unique design and mechanism, you can ‘draw’ distinctive lines and curves on your workpiece.

Choosing a good scroll saw can depend on various factors – the type of projects you’re working on, your experience, and your budget.

If you’re having trouble deciding between scroll saws, please read on. Here you’ll find the best scroll saws of this year, along with an extensive buyers and brand guide that may help you select the right one.

Best Scroll Saw
Comparison Chart

WEN 3921 16-inch Two-Direction Variable Speed Scroll Saw

DEWALT DW788 1.3 Amp 20-Inch Variable-Speed Scroll Saw – Yellow

Delta Power Tools 40-694 20 In. Variable Speed Scroll Saw

ShopSeries RK7315 16″ Scroll Saw with Variable Speed Control

Excalibur EX-16 16″ Tilting Head Scroll Saw

Best Scroll Saw Reviews

1.  WEN 3921

The WEN 3921 is probably one of the best value-for-money scroll saws on the market today. It’s not only a budget-friendly scroll saw (the cheapest on the list) but also packed with features that will satisfy both beginners and seasoned crafters.

Key Features

At first glance, you can tell that this scroll saw offers a lot. It has a durable cast-iron base with a spacious 16” x 11” table that you can tilt up to 45-degrees – allowing you to cut more complex angles and curves in your piece of wood. A sturdy base reduces the vibration and increases the accuracy of the cast. Also, table dimensions and the beveling table ensure that this isn’t just a regular ‘hobby-only’ scroll saw.

The potential of the saw is even greater when it comes to blade variety. The flexible assembly allows you to attach both pinned and plain-end blades so you can switch between more delicate workpieces and thicker hardwood. In addition, you don’t need any tools to change the blades – you can seamlessly do it even if you’ve never changed blades before.

The variable speed knob on the side just adds to the flexibility – the maximum speed is 1600 strokes per minute, but you can go as low as 550. Although it’s not the fastest blade around, it still allows you to cut small and intricate details as well as 2-inch thick wood.

When it comes to other accessories, two things are worth a mention – an LED lamp and an air pump. The worm-like LED lamp is attached to the top arm of the scroll saw and serves as a guiding light, assuring precision and accuracy of the cuts. You can manually adjust the direction of the light and bend it to any position. The air pump will clear away the sawdust from the table and prevent it from interfering with the blade and the workpiece.

The Good

One distinctive feature of this scroll saw is the possibility to rotate the blade 90-degrees to the side. This makes it possible to cut wood pieces that are longer than the throat size of the saw. Instead of moving the workpiece from the front to the rear end of the saw, you can move it across the width of the table, which just adds another level of flexibility.

The Bad

The only problematic thing about the WEN 3921 is its lightness. For instance, you don’t need to fix it to a stand or a tabletop, which means it will bounce around, making it difficult to cut with precision. If you don’t clamp it or bolt it to the table, you may get frustrated with the end product of your woodwork.

PROS

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    Cheap but high-quality
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    90-degrees blade rotation
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    Beveled table
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    Compatible with both blade types
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    LED lamp and air pump

CONS

  • Needs to be fixed to a stand
  • Vibration reduced, but still present

2.  DEWALT DW788

DEWALT is a well-respected manufacturer in the woodworking industry and their DW788 model scroll saw enjoys rave reviews. Price-wise, it’s in the medium-bracket and able to cut with finesse, both on the edges of a workpiece and from the inside, too.

Key Features

This scroll saw has a double parallel-link arm construction. Thanks to the horizontal link, the arm moves from the rear end to the front of the saw, significantly reducing the vibration. This is essential for making the most accurate cuts possible, whether you’re working on a large component or a small, hobby piece.

From the technical aspect, the DEWALT DW788 is in a higher bracket of scroll saws. The link arm isn’t only important for smooth cutting, but for the fretwork as well. You can lift the upper arm and place a workpiece with a drill hole underneath, so when you lower the arm the blade will thread inside. This allows you to cut some of the most delicate shapes without the need to cut an edge off the wood.

However, it’s not enough to only put the blade inside the drill hole. It’s important to adjust the adequate blade speed depending on the thickness of the wood and the depth of detail. This is possible by the variable-speed control knob. This knob is located within arm’s reach and has a sublime range – from 400 to 1,750 strokes per minute. Thanks to this and the 1.3-amp motor it can cut hardwood up to 2 inches without trouble.

The scroll saw has an easy mechanism for switching blades and you don’t need any tools – just loosen the blade-tensioning lever and take out the blade before attaching another. On top of these features, there’s also a powerful air pump that will always keep your work surface dust-free and clean.

The Good

The DW788 has a large cast iron table with more than 23” of depth, which allows you to effortlessly work with larger components. But the major upside of the table is the ability to tilt to both the left and right side. This further enhances the creative possibilities of your project.

The Bad

For a scroll saw that’s not so cheap, it lacks some accessories that are deemed standard. For example, you’ll need to buy the stand and the work light separately from the machine. This further increases the price, placing it in the higher end when it comes to affordability.

PROS

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    Extremely smooth cutting
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    Easy to thread through drill holes
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    A large iron table that bevels 45-degrees in both directions
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    Variable speed control (max speed up to 1,750 strokes per minute)

CONS

  • Lacks some standard accessories (stand, work light)
  • Not cheap

3.  Delta Power Tools 40-694

This model is often categorized as user-friendly and recommended for entry-level crafters, even if its price may tell a different story. Nevertheless, due to its features, this 40-694 model from Delta Power Tools is worthy of your attention regardless of your past experience.

Key Features

This saw from Delta Power Tools is a typical mid-range scroll saw with a parallel-link arm construction which will increase your cutting accuracy and prevent any under/overcutting of your workpiece.

Like the majority of scroll saws with a parallel link arm, this one is also ideal for fretwork. You can easily lift the upper arm and place the drill hole below the blade, so it inserts when you lower it.

Each cut and material require a different speed and this saw allows you to adjust it manually. You’ll find a variable speed knob on the construction and you can choose the blade speed depending on your project. For delicate curves and softwood, you can go as low as 400 strokes per minute, while the maximum available speed is 1,750.

When it comes to the types of blades, this saw is essentially made for plain-headed ones. These blades are meant for softer wood and detailed work. Combined with reduced vibration, the possibility of low speed, overall, the entire device works best with smaller projects – hence the ‘entry-level’ tag. On top of that, the table can tilt in both directions up to 45 degrees, allowing you to experiment even more.

The Good

What makes this scroll saw interesting is the air pump that comes with a hose. Instead of just blowing air from the port located in the lower area, you can maneuver the hose to blow additional dust that may gather in harder-to-reach places. If you’re looking for a tidy workspace, you should get the 40-694 model.

The Bad

Like similar models in this price range, this one also requires some additional investment. Accessories like an LED lamp and stand are optional and aren’t included in the price. If you want to buy them, the price will significantly increase.

PROS

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    Reduced vibration
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    Variable speed knob
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    Table tilts on both sides allowing angled cuts
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    Hose attached to dust pump for complete dust-removal

CONS

  • Only compatible with plain-end saws
  • Doesn’t include lighting and stand

4.  Shop Series RK7315

This model from Shop Series is one of the cheaper on the list. It’s smaller and more compact, making it ideal for startup workshops and hobbyists working on smaller items. If that applies to you, be sure to have a good look at this item.

Key Features

The Shop Series RK7315 is smaller than other scroll saws on the list. Therefore, it costs less, but it has fewer features too. The whole assembly is made from durable cast-iron, which provides the stability needed for intricate cuts. The light aluminum table bevels left and right on both sides. For a scroll saw that is mostly used for smaller, finer details, this feature shouldn’t be underestimated.

It’s ideal for small workshops and rooms as it takes up a tiny portion of the space. Made of aluminum, the table has 16” depth. Because of this, it’s extremely light and you can easily move it around, one thing less to worry about if you ever need to redesign your workshop or switch to larger space.

On the technical side, this model ticks all the boxes for a beginner’s scroll saw. The variable speed control allows you to adjust the speed from 500 to 1700 strokes per minute, which is an ideal speed for both softer and harder workpieces. The blades can seamlessly cut wood up to 2”, but if you want to improve on durability, try not to reach this threshold.

When it comes to additional features, there are two worth mentioning – the air pump and small storage. The small blade cabinet will keep your tools in one place, while the air pump will clean the dust from your workspace. On the other hand, the LED light isn’t integrated.

The Good

One of the upsides is the machine’s increased security feature. The plastic blade guard assembly will prevent any contact between the blade and your fingers.

The Bad

The important downside (besides lack of accessories) concerns blade types. The machine is only compatible with pinned blades. Since the pinned types are usually used for thicker wood, you’ll need to learn how to adjust the ideal blade speed at all times to keep all your items perfectly cut.

PROS

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    An affordable model
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    Great safety features
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    Compact, lightweight, and portable
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    Up to 1,700 strokes per minute

CONS

  • Only compatible with pinned blades
  • Not for larger projects

5.  Excalibur Ex-16

Excalibur saws are actually a branch of General International, a renowned tool manufacturer. Their Excalibur Ex-16 model is a real powerhouse when it comes to mid-range scroll saws. They’re reliable and come at a reasonable price (albeit higher than the entry-level saws).

Key Features

The Excalibur has a sophisticated design: a black cast iron construction, extremely sturdy and durable, and a large table surface with 18.5” depth. This surface should be enough for any small to medium-sized workpieces. There are upper and lower guards around the blade to prevent any accident due to contact of the blade and your hand.

The machine has a good range of variable speed – it goes from 400 to 1,400 strokes per minute. Therefore, it’s ideal for the delicate cuts. The maximum cutting depth mustn’t be more than 2”, so you shouldn’t use it for thicker wood. If you do, you may damage the machine permanently.

When it comes to blade types, the Excalibur is compatible with both pinned and plain blades. The tool-free mechanism allows you to quickly switch between blades depending on the project. This, and the speed control knob, allow for more variation.

This scroll saw has a unique feature – a tilting head. Unlike the majority of scroll saws on the market that can only bevel the table to one or both sides, the tilting head provides even better and more accurate cuts. The tilt of the head can provide even more cutting angles, while you maintain better control of your workpiece. The table can also bevel 45-degrees to the left, which adds increased options.

On the accessories front, this scroll saw has it all. A worm-like LED light will illuminate your work, improve work conditions, and can be pointed in any direction. The dust collection system is top-notch, as it pulls the dust and debris into the collection port, instead of blowing it around everywhere.

The Good

An underrated aspect of this scroll saw is its powerful motor. This motor has a long-lasting design and can work long hours. This can be great for full-time woodworkers that require machines to work for 8, sometimes even up to 12 to 14 hours.

The Bad

The major downside of the machine is its instability. If it isn’t bolted to a solid surface, you’ll have a hard time cutting with precision. Since it doesn’t come with a stand, you may have to pay more than you initially thought. On the other hand, you can easily fix it to any surface, since it comes with bolt holes at the bottom.

PROS

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    Tiltable head providing more cutting solutions
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    Includes LED light, dust vacuum, and storage
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    Long-lasting powerful motor
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    Neat design
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    Compatible with both blades

CONS

  • A bit expensive
  • Heavy vibration when not bolted

Buyer’s Guide

Scroll saws come in various shapes and sizes and not all are compatible with the same type of material. If you need a scroll saw it means you need to cut intricate elements and shapes. Therefore, choosing the wrong scroll saw can significantly impede your work.

That’s why the features listed below are something you should pay particular attention to. Hopefully, this buyer’s guide will help you decide which scroll saw to use. That is, if you know what you’ll be cutting.

Size

The dimension of your scroll saw is probably the most essential part. According to the size, you’ll know what type of work you’re able to do.

Also, for example, smaller and shorter throat saws are usually quieter and don’t cause as much vibration as the larger ones. That said, if you want to consider larger projects, you’ll need a bigger scroll saw.

There are two important things to consider when it comes to size: throat length and the thickness of the cut.

Throat Size

The range between the back of the saw and the blade. The regular throat size (or depth) ranges between 12” and 22”. Most manufacturers offer 16” and 22”. If you’re working on smaller workpieces, you can save money and power by going for the smaller one.

Thickness of the Cut

The thickness of the cut is the height of the upper arm and your workbench (usually a table). This will show you the thickness of the material your machine can work with. This thickness is rarely more than 2” but some models can cut materials that are 3 ¼” thick.

Worktable

Another thing that you should consider (connected to size) is the dimension and structure of your workbench. The surface always needs to accommodate your workpiece and ideally be an inch or two longer and wider. For that reason, look for a worktable of at least 16” x 20”, if you’re dealing with a small scroll saw.

As well as the size, you should pay attention to the construction. The worktable has to be sturdy and stable as it needs to sustain force and movement. Your workpiece and saw will move over the surface and the vibrations can make the workbench unstable. To prevent this from ruining your precise cuts, look for a stable work surface.

Lastly, a lot of these workbenches are tiltable, meaning you can tilt them in a certain direction to make angled cuts. Some are only left or right-tilting, but there are tables that allow for both. If you want to experiment and cut your material in various shapes and at various angles, you should look for a tiltable table, too.

Type of Blades

The scroll saw blades depend on the mounting points, and generally come in two different types – plain-end blades (unpinned), and pin-end blades (pinned).

The pin-end blades come with pins sticking out from both ends of the blade. These pin-end blades are much easier to attach or detach from the saw; they just slide into place without the need for braces or clamps. However, these blades have their disadvantages, too. For starters, you won’t find the same variety of pinned blades on the market as you would pin-end blades. They’re also wider and thicker and less convenient for tilting and making sharper cuts.

On the contrary, the plain-end blades are finer and can make these delicate cuts. They need to connect to the clamping system to keep them safe and sturdy, but are more popular among woodworkers. They’re thinner and easier to pass inside drilled holes and perform the inner cutting.

Keep in mind that you may also find other blade types such as spiral blades, two-way tooth blades, wood, and metal blades, etc. You just need to know that large-teeth blades are better for heavy and thick materials, and smaller blades ideal for intricate work.

You can also consider if the blades can be changed manually or whether you’ll need to use additional tools. The newer scroll saws have easy methods of replacing broken blades (and you’ll break them a lot), so you should always pick some that are easy to switch.

Speed Control

You can measure the speed of scroll saws by strokes per minute. Older models invariably had a fixed speed without speed control, but today you have variable speed motors. On these models, the displayed stroke per minute value is actually the maximum value of the saw. However, you can manually control the speed depending on your requirements.

For example, projects that include thin material like softer wood, plastic, paper, etc. require a slow cutting speed. On the other hand, hardwood, metal, and other thick materials need higher cutting speed and more power.

If you get a scroll saw with adjustable speed control you can work on various projects and be much more flexible. You should also pay attention to the power of the motor as this combination is vital for smooth and precise cuts. For example, if you have a powerful scroll saw with adjustable speed and compatibility with both blade types, you can work on any type of project.

Light

It isn’t always necessary for a scroll saw to have an integrated light. However, it can make your job much more convenient. Even the most dexterous users would have trouble cutting with precision without adequate lighting.

In a detailed job like woodworking, an unclear view of your workspace can completely derail a project. For example, working in darkened workshops without natural light doesn’t only hamper your work, but may strain to your eyes, impacting upon your vision.

It’s nearly impossible to use a flashlight or a smartphone light in one hand to clear your view. That’s why state-of-the art scroll saws have a built-in LED light. These bright lamps will lighten up your workspace to ensure that you’re always following your designated lines and cutting according to plan. If you want to be prepared to work in all conditions regardless of the environment, you should select a scroll saw with an integrated light.

Link Arm

Users often mix the type of scroll saw and the type of link arm. And there’s nothing strange in that, since the link arm type defines the design and the look of the complete product. These link arms are also known as ‘holding arms,’ to keep your workpiece in place. Their main purpose is to stabilize the piece and to minimize the vibration so you don’t over or undercut your workpiece.

There are several different types of link arms.

Rigid Arm Scroll Saw

The rigid arm scroll saw is the traditional type of scroll saw that’s almost disappeared from the market. With its simplistic design, the entire machine was made from one big cast-iron part. A fixed upper arm contained a spring with an attached blade, while the moving bottom arm pulled the blade away, thus making continuous cutting movements. This type of link arm was most popular in the middle of the last century,

Parallel Arm Scroll Saw

The parallel arm scroll saw is currently the most widespread scroll saw type. Both arms have synchronized movements to pull the blade up and down. The speed usually depends on the user, as modern scroll saws come with variable speed control. The switch is usually located on the top arm. These scroll saws have perfect vertical blades that move at high speeds so you can make bends and angular cuts easily.

Parallel Link Scroll Saw

This link arm type is essentially an upgrade to the regular scroll saw. It contains a horizontal link, in addition to arms which create a rather complex system to improve the arms’ motion. Because of this system, there are effective scroll saws with shorter arms today. These parallel link arm types are the most silent and vibration-reducing saws around.

C-Arm Scroll Saw

The C-arm scroll saw has one ‘C’-shaped arm instead of two parallel arms. The blade is attached at the ends of this C-shape to create a specific axis. The difference: The whole machine moves around this axis, cutting the workpiece. Whereas with the parallel saw, the blade only moves up and down, while you move the workpiece around on your own. It’s better for cutting bigger, thicker pieces, but far more inaccurate.

Brands

The majority of the brands listed in this article are renowned manufacturers. Some have a century-long history in the business, which adds to their reliability. Let’s find out a bit more about them below.

WEN

With almost seventy years in business and over fifty million sold products, WEN is a big-name in the power tools world. At first, this company produced electric (until then) hand tools, and therefore directly influenced the evolution of the industry.

Nowadays, their major HQ is in Elgin, Illinois and you can order any product from their website. If you’re in the US – the shipping is free. Currently, their only scroll saw is the one listed in this article.

DEWALT

This multiple award-winning brand will soon reach a century in the tool manufacturing business. They maintain a positive reputation and their products are consistently praised by seasoned professionals.

What once started out as assembling a woodworking machine in 1922, is now a huge company with thousands of products. Ranging from power tools, hand tools, to working gear and equipment – you can find anything that you need on their website.

Delta Machinery

Another favorite among crafters and an old-timer in the business, Delta Machinery only manufactures woodworking gear. This, along with a century of history adds a certain prestige to the company.

Their latest scroll saw found a place on our list. Besides that, they offer over 30 models of different saws – from huge table saws to miter saws. You can find all the products at their online shop – each product has its designated online retailer, including Amazon, Tool Marts, etc.

There’s also a dealer locator near you, where you can look for official stores to go and inspect the products in person.

ShopSeries

Unlike the above brands, ShopSeries is a newcomer to the business. In fact, they’re so young that they’re yet to launch their official online store. Nevertheless, their products are selling well on online at retail stores and are destined to have a great future if they keep going.

Currently, you can find various ShopSeries products at different retailers and online stores. Their official Amazon store doesn’t have all their products, but you may find them at other renowned brand stores like Rockwell.

General International

General international started out in Montreal, Canada back in 1946 and today the brand epitomizes quality. They’re one of the largest woodwork and metalwork manufacturers in North America with a large network of facilities and stores all around the continent.

Their Excalibur Scroll Saw received many positive reviews. Its combination of neat design and high-performance makes it appealing for workshop owners. You can find all their products on the online store. They also have six warehouses – four on the continent, and two abroad in China and Vietnam.

Shop Fox

The Shop Fox is a special branch of Woodstock International that primary manufactures woodworking products. It offers a wide range of top-quality saws that are the most attractive for hobbyists and do-it-your-self operators.

Most of their products are listed on Amazon and other online retailers, but you can also find their catalog on the Woodstock website.

Skill

The Skill scroll saw didn’t find a place on our list, but they’re also one of the old-time manufacturers. They deserve a mention due to the innovative battery system featured in all their tools.

Their products include woodworking to hammers, drills, housing accessories, and various other items. You’ll find an abundance of different saws on their official website. They don’t have a store locator, but they ship worldwide so you can get your items almost anywhere across the globe.

Scroll Saw FAQ

What is a scroll saw used for?

A scroll saw is used to cut delicate curves or angles in various pieces of material (plastic, metal, wood, etc.). The majority of carved woodwork and metalwork you see on furniture, housing accessories, wooden sculptures, is possible due to this type of saw.

The structure of the scroll saw and the shape of the blade enables you to rotate and move your workpiece around and perfectly cut it in any shape that you want.

There’s no need to worry about jamming – everything moves smoothly. That’s why scroll saws are mainly used for drill hole cutting and inside cutting. If you see a wood piece with a hole neatly cut through the middle, there’s a big chance that the woodworker used a scroll saw.

What can I do with a scroll saw?

Whether you’re a hobbyist or a seasoned worker, you’ll almost certainly find a use for a scroll saw. With this device, you can shape your pieces in different ways rather than just regular straight-line squares and rectangles. That’s why a scroll saw is among the most popular tools for woodworkers who want to add a creative touch to their work.

A scroll saw requires little space compared to other machines like table saws, for example. That’s why they’re a regular feature in tiny workshops working on smaller, more creative projects (wooden accessories workshops, intarsia workshops, etc.).

You can cut curves of utmost finesse with this tool. The structure of the machine allows you to thread a blade inside the drill hole and start cutting from the middle of your project – there’s no need for an entry point in the edge. That’s if you’re interested in cutting those shapes, of course. Then you’ll need a drill or a drill press. Otherwise, you won’t need to purchase any additional items to start cutting with a scroll saw (besides an extra blade of two, in case they break).

These saws are much safer compared to table saws, chainsaws, and those used for different purposes. There’s a minimum chance of contact between your fingers and the blade, especially contact that may severely injure you. The blade is smaller, thinner, and relatively slower than the huge blades on the aforementioned tools. Also, the handling on this machine is more secure compared to the others.

What scroll saw blade to use?

You should use a scroll saw blade depending on your project and other preferences. If you want to cut wide and thick material such as hardwood it’s better to go for pin-end blades. Essentially, they’re way sharper and wider than the regular flat blades, but also much less effective for making curves and delicate shapes.

On the other hand, the plain-end blades (which come in regular-tooth, double skip-tooth, or spiral shapes) are commonly used in cutting various pieces of wood. They’re thin enough to place inside the drill-hole, and their finesse allows you to smoothly move and tilt the workpiece in any way you want.

The reverse tooth is another blade type used in woodworking. This blade is specific since the bottom ¾ of the teeth are pointed up (reversed). The cutting is less smooth and produces more heat (which increases the risk of blade breaking) but it’s extremely useful if you want to cut plywood or softwood.

Also, the blades made out of hardened steel are used to work with metal pieces and diamond blades (wires made out of diamond pieces) to cut glass.

How thick of wood can scroll saw cut?

Most scroll saws can cut wood of medium thickness, up to 2”, but it’s not recommended to use the thinnest and finest blades for it (unless you’re cutting softwood, that is).

For the thickest hardwood, you should look to use stronger, thicker blades even at the expense of losing a bit of the finesse. Cutting thick wood with a regular scroll saw blade can lead to various accidents – you can sustain an injury to your fingers by pushing material too hard, a blade can easily break, and the machine could also get damaged.

A wood of ¾” thickness is optimal for all types of a scroll saw. Note: Scroll saws are used to add decorative touches and curves to smaller elements. A thicker blade can’t accomplish this detailed pattern. However, if you need to cut harder and thicker wood, it’s recommended to use a band saw.

Final Verdict

When you consider the price-range between scroll saws, picking the right one isn’t an easy task. Some cheaper saws could be better than the more expensive ones. If you’re looking for an affordable, feature-rich scroll saw, go with WEN 3921. It’s also the cheapest on our list.

On the other hand, the Excalibur Ex-16 may be a better choice if you’re planning on doing serious, full-time work. The DEWALT DW788 is an optimal pick if you want something a bit better than WEN, but still not as expensive as the Excalibur.

Remember, just pay attention to the buyer’s guide and consider what kind of scroll saw you really need. The rest is easy.

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