I was searching for a table saw the other day when I stumbled across a scroll saw. Not that I didn’t know the tool, but I never gave it a thought. But that day, while looking at it, I was thinking, “Hmm, that looks cute, but what is a scroll saw used for?”
Even though it wasn’t relevant for what I was looking for, my curiosity got the best of me, and I searched about the scroll saw. What I found out made me really interested.
At first look, a scroll saw seems kind of odd with a blade like a thread. For the most part, the blade gives the idea of the saw being nice and cute. Oh boy, does the blade make a scroll saw special!
A scroll saw is a highly specialized specialty tool. It is designed to do some very specific tasks. It is not your jack of all trades, but it is the master of what it does.
Even after knowing about the capability of the tool, a scroll saw is still weird to me in the sense that it is just as useful and user friendly to a newcomer as to a veteran with decades of experience. So-
What Is A Scroll Saw?
A Scroll saw is a small electric power saw used especially for sensitive and delicate cuts. It has a very thin and fine-toothed blade. The blade is not circular, like other popular saws. It is long instead. The kerf of the blade is negligible, and so is the width.
Besides that, the common feature of the tool is that the blade can be freed on one end, allowing you to insert the blade through a pre-drilled hole right at the center of the piece.
This is big because this way, you can access the center of the piece without cutting any of the edges. As the name may suggest, this type of saw was very popular for making scrolls and similar intricate arts.
This tool was popularized because of the level of accuracy and intricacy it can deliver, which was compulsory for the type of work it was used for.
Scrolls are a topic of history books nowadays, but the tool lives still making fine arts with wood.
Popular Uses Of A Scroll Saw
Due to the extraordinary power of turning as you please, no wastage for the kerf, and getting right at the center of a piece without cutting an edge, a scroll saw is exceptionally good at-
- To make intricate patterns, joints, and profiles. You will usually not leave dead spaces between two pieces as long as your calculations and markings are perfect.
- Jigsaw puzzles, 3D puzzles, wooden rubik’s cubes, and similar puzzle pieces, which consist of many small and moving parts. The finer your cuts are, the better of a quality the toy will be, and in the long run, the longer it’ll last.
- To make sculptures, statues, scrolls, carvings, or similar artworks where you simply need ‘the perfect edges and corners. No other saw will let you reach those corners as easily as a scroll saw. Not to mention the piercing cuts.
- Intarsia, template, lettered signs are a few of the items, where even if you miss or overcut a corner, that will effectively ruin the whole piece. There is nothing more reliable than a scroll saw for such sensitive and awkward shaped pieces.
- A scroll saw is an excellent starting tool for newcomers and even kids. You can hardly go wrong with a tool that’s so slow and spacious. And even if you mistakenly put a finger at the face of the blade, It’ll just make a small graze with fine edges. 😀 It will bleed, but it will not blow your finger away.
The Specialty Of A Scroll Saw
For saying, A radial arm saw is nearly as good as a circular saw, and a circular saw can replace your miter saw. But a scroll saw is a thing of a separate universe. Let’s see why it is so different, and if it is a good or bad thing.
A scroll saw is relatively on the smaller side amidst other tools of one’s garage. It usually does not need a dedicated workbench/table attached. The base it comes with will suffice for the most part because the tool is seldom used on big boards.
The pieces it works on are no more than a few inches in size. As a plus, you can either tilt the upper part of the saw or the base part of the saw to one side to make angled cuts.
Lower RPM And Torque
The motor used in the majority of the scroll saw is On the weaker edge as well. The reason being the tool is supposed to be used for sensitive and delicate cuts. You will surely be taking your sweet time and never be chewing through wood with it. You are never going to tap the full potential even if a powerful motor were used.
Nearly Non-Existent Blade
The blade used in this machine is so thin, you actually do not need to account for the kerf of the blade. The blade is also ultra-thin along its width. You can even take a 90-degree turn on the spot without having to worry about damaging either of the piece or the blade.
The blade of the saw is thin and long. It is connected with the jaws on either side. But it is very easy to detach one end. This is crucial for reaching the core of the piece, with the edges intact.
All you need to do is just to drill a hole in the middle, loosen the blade and insert it through the hole. Just like that, you are ready to curve the middle part out without making your way from one side as traditional saws must.
The Perfect Finishing
The finishing of a scroll saw is nearly perfect. Thanks to the tiny teeth of the mini blade. While cutting, edges are oftentimes so fine that you will not need a sanding to make it shiny. This is a bonus point for a scroll saw.
Slow Cut Speed
Yes, I will give you this; even a tortoise moves faster than a scroll saw’s cut speed. But as I mentioned before, this machine is not used for fast cuts.
If you hope to cut fast with a scroll saw, you are weird. I bet you are one of the people who complain about not being able to go off-roading with their Lamborghini.
Okay, that’s the lame joke of the day. However, the idea is the same as off-roading with a fine car. They are simply not meant for it.
To Sum Things Up
A scroll saw is a tool that’s been around for centuries. It is a tool tested by time, and it has proven its value for generations. Very few other tools can offer you the level of detail and reach as a scroll saw can.
A scroll saw is one of the best tools to start woodworking with. It will teach you patience and control, which will serve you down the road.
Whenever you have a complex task in hand, you can rely on the good old scroll saw. It may take some time, but surely it will get you out of the situation. In my opinion, a scroll saw is a must to have in all hobbyist’s garage.