what does a scroll saw do

What Does a Scroll Saw Do: Getting to Know This Handy Tool

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When accomplishing household projects or woodworking jobs, you have to find the tool that fits exactly what you need.

Cutting, sanding, and polishing wood all require different tools, and the scroll saw is one tool you might need.

Most likely, though, you haven't used this type of tool before since it is not a typical household woodworking option.

So, what does a scroll saw do, and when should you use it?

Those are the questions we'll answer for you to determine whether or not the scroll saw is a good addition to your tool arsenal.

What Does a Scroll Saw Do?

A scroll saw is a pedal-operated or electric saw that can cut through metal, wood, and other materials.

It got the name “scroll saw” because this tool was meant for scrollwork.

It was used mainly for doing scroll-head designs on the top of sculptural ornaments.

Nowadays, a scroll saw's primary use is cutting angles and curves since the pivoting table allows for turning the material easily.

It is often used for household projects because of the versatility that the tool provides.

Its thin blade cuts easily through the material. That makes it an ideal choice for woodworking projects like cutting out detailing for doors, cabinets, and pieces of artwork or décor for the walls.

You can also use a scroll saw for larger projects like making wooden furniture and creating pieces that will fit together to make larger items.

It is also often used for hand-carved furniture pieces or those that have an intricate design.

It's also best for sculptures made from wood that needs to be trimmed or cut.

With the saw's slow speed, it's ideal for creating consistent and clean line cuts.

Three Creative Items You Can Make With a Scroll Saw

Now that you're familiar with the general uses of a scroll saw, here are some cool projects you can accomplish with it, whether you're a novice or experienced woodworker or artisan:

  • Intarsia

This ancient craft requires several types of wood and other materials that you need to fit together to make intricate shapes and create a depth illusion.

  • Fretwork

This type of project can intimidate most woodworkers because of the delicate and intricate patterns it has.

However, with the help of a scroll saw, the right choice of blade, and a good understanding of the material you plan to use will make the task easier.

  • Jigsaw Puzzles

Do you have young kids or teenagers? A jigsaw puzzle is a cool game every member of the family can enjoy.

Make it more enjoyable and unique by creating a large jigsaw puzzle using wood and the scroll saw.

The jigsaw puzzle can also serve as a cool outdoor decor and conversation starter!

Advantages of Using a Scroll Saw

If you choose to use a scroll saw to do the work for your current project, then you should know the advantages that come with using it.

Not only do you get a tool that works for multiple types of lines, but other advantages make it an excellent option for you.

  • Makes Precise and Detailed Cuts

The first major advantage that you get by using a scroll saw is the reciprocating blade instead of a continuous loop.

As such, you can remove the blade and place it in the middle of a pilot hole.

That means the blade can cut the wood piece's interior, not just from the outer edge.

With this saw, you can cut more precise and intricate patterns into the wood and other materials. That is also thanks to its blade.

The blade of this tool is thinner than other options; in fact, it's even thinner than the blade of the narrowest band-saw.

That only means you're getting the best blade for this type of work.

  • Several Blade Options

Another major advantage of using a scroll saw is that there a lot of blade options that you can choose and use.

It goes without saying that the blade selection is broader than that for other tools.

The blade options for the scroll saw include:

  • Metal-cutting blades for hardened steel 
  • Skip tooth 
  • Double skip tooth 
  • Diamond blades, mainly for cutting glass 
  • Crown or two-way blades 
  • Spiral blades
  • Pin end blades
what does a scroll saw do

Thus, you can choose which option will be the best for the project or job you're working on currently.

It also gives you options to try different blades for new projects.

With so many options, you will also have a blade that works for every project you will have in the future.

  • Adjustable Speed and Cutting Bevel

Most modern scroll saws you'll find in the market have a knob designed to help you adjust the machine's cutting speed.

It usually ranges from 400 to 1,800 strokes per minute. This means that the saw can make several types of cuts into various materials.

Additionally, you can tilt and lock the scroll saw table to create achieve the bevel angle you need for a specific cut.

  • Powerful but Quiet Operation

Most scroll saws have powerful engines that allow them to cut materials quickly.

As powerful as they are, though, they don't usually make loud noises, so you can work in your garage without worrying too much.

Similarly, most of them are vibration-free, especially those with power link arms.

As such, they're easy on your arms and hands, or won't exhaust you that easily when using the tool for extended periods.

Disadvantages of a Scroll Saw

Though there are many reasons to use a scroll saw, there are some reasons why you would not want to use it.

So, let's go over the drawbacks of a scroll saw and what options may be better for certain situations.

  • Not Very Multipurpose

The first disadvantage of this machine is that if you're not using it for a specific project requiring you to cut intricate shapes, there is likely a better tool to use for the job.

That is because a scroll saw is such a tool used only for certain types of projects.

Though this doesn’t mean it is not useful, you will probably not need to purchase a scroll saw.

That is unless you're handling detailed design work or in-depth wood cutting.

  • Expensive

Scroll saws are also quite expensive. Their price ranges from one to a few hundred dollars.

In fact, you will find high-end models of the scroll saw in commercial shops, which cost upwards of a thousand dollars.

That can also be a big purchase for business owners.

If you're not going to use the machine that often, it could feel like you are paying too high a price for something you won’t use that much.

Hence, getting a cheaper option, if possible, is ideal.

Are There Different Types of Scroll Saws?

Though the scroll saw is only made for specific work, the range of types to choose from is more extensive than you might expect.

The different types of scroll saws are categorized based on their:


The scroll saw's size is measured not by the machine's width or height but by its throat's length.

The longer the machine's throat, the bigger pieces of wood and other materials it can cut.

These options are the pricier of the available choices and will cost around $1,000.

Arm Styles

Scroll saws are also categorized based on their arm styles that can change how you work with the tool.

The most common of all the arm styles are the parallel link arm.

It uses a pulley system to operate the blades.

It is the most extensive scroll saw system available on the market today.

The scroll saw with two arms for separate reciprocating blades is popular, as well.

Another type called the C-arm, which is pretty self-explanatory: it comes with a large C-shape arm.

Should You Get a Scroll Saw?

Deciding whether or not a scroll saw is ideal for you should be a fairly easy decision.

If you deal with intricate work that requires cutting materials into certain designs and curved shapes, then getting a scroll saw will be very beneficial for you.

If this is not something that you normally do, then you will probably not need this machine.

That said, if you intend to begin doing this type of work shortly, then purchasing a scroll saw will do you a lot of good.

Additionally, if you typically stick with cutting straight lines to make basic furniture, cabinets, and décor, you will not need a scroll saw.

With the cost of these machines being a bit high, you only need one if they become necessary for your woodworking projects or jobs.

So, take a look at the work you do regularly to see whether or not the cost would be worth it to have this tool.


Knowing what jobs a tool can handle will let you see if you need a certain tool for the job or if you can do without and just use another option.

Whether you are working out of your garage or a rented workshop, you don't want to spend good money on tools you don't or won't need.

So, what does a scroll saw do? The scroll saw is made for detailed cuts and intricate woodworking.

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, Owner: (Registered business address: Germany), processes personal data only to the extent strictly necessary for the operation of this website. All details in the privacy policy.