Scroll Sawing is a wonderful hobby to get into and the versatility of the Scroll Saw is what makes it such an enjoyable tool to use, but what must initially be considered is your personal safety when you are using one.
Whilst the scroll saw is one of the safest woodworking power tools with a powered cutting blade it must still be treated with care and respect.
Make sure that you wear safety goggles or glasses and keep your fingers well away from the cutting blade, also consider the dust being generated and wear a mask or apply a extraction vacuum source.
If you are considering getting into Scroll Sawing then
consider these five points :-
Choose the right Scroll Saw: There are many scroll saws on the market but you need to consider the saw that is best suited to what you want to do with it. Go for a machine that will accept both pin end blades as well as pin less (the latter being used for extremely fine work). Look for an air blower that will remove the sawdust from the blade giving you good visibilty of the cutting line, which is made even better if the saw is fitted with a light source to illuminate the table area. I would recommend a variable speed unit, as it will give you far more versatility than a single speed unit. Also, I would recommend a 16″ or larger throat behind the blade, as this will allow larger items to be cut with ease.
Choose the right location for your Scroll Saw: The scroll saw will want to be mounted on a suitable bench or work surface that is sturdy in its construction. It will vibrate in use and you will not want your bench or table wobbling under the saw. Also, consider the height of the bench, do not have it too low so that you are bending over the saw as you could be using the saw for some time.
Choose the right blade for what you will be cutting: There are a plethora of different scroll saw blades on the market, the pin less blades for the finest of cuts through to the heavier pinned blades for deeper cuts in thicker material.
Initially, I would suggest that you buy a selection pack of blades so that you have a variety to try and then from there you can buy just the ones that you find yourself using most of. With scroll saws being able to cut plastics/non ferrous metals etc again get the appropriate blade for your requirement.
Before making your first cuts ensure the Saw is set up correctly: Is the table at 90 degrees to the blade and the table adjustment knobs tight? If fitted with one, is the dust blower positioned correctly? Then hold down to prevent the wood lifting, should apply light pressure to the material being cut to prevent too much force having to be used but adequately hold it down to stop unnecessary lifting of the work piece.
Make sure that the blade is tensioned correctly, it should make a sharp “ting” noise when plucked but not flex more than 1/8″ when pushed sidewards. The blades will brake from time to time but if over or under tightened they will break much more often.
Take your time: Take your time When making your cuts let the saw and the blade do the work, all you are doing is guiding the piece. If you are finding the cut is hard going you may need to adjust the cutting speed or the blade type in use. A well set up saw with the correct blade will cut with ease. To achieve the best cuts remember to keep the work piece moving forward smoothly to get the best curves, jerky movements will end up with an unpleasing/disappointing cut – Take your time.
Make sure you don’t miss Roger’s educational woodworking workshop shows this Sunday and learn a new skill or add to an a passion you already have.
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