When it comes to cutting wood, a scroll saw is one of the more unique and versatile options. Rather than providing raw power, this machine allows you to create intricate designs in your wood.
However, because of the delicacy of the scroll saw, you will have to change blades more frequently. Too often, the metal can break if you’re not careful (and even when you are), meaning that knowing how to change a scroll saw blade is an essential skill to learn.
Today we’re going to outline the best way to change your blades, as well as go over tips to ensure that you don’t have to do it that often. A scroll saw is a valuable tool, so it’s crucial that you understand how to care for it.
Changing Blades on a Scroll Saw - Step by Step Guide
Step One: Make Sure the Unit is Off
Because your scroll saw is designed for cutting, it’s imperative that you practice proper safety procedures. Thus, before you begin, you will want to unplug the unit to avoid any accidents during this process. If the saw does turn on while you’re removing or replacing the blade, it could be disastrous.
Step Two: Find and Loosen the Bolts
To keep your saw blade in place, there will be two bolts that you have to loosen. Typically, these are going to be located at the top and the bottom of the saw. If necessary, you may want to refer to your user’s manual to be sure that you’re loosening the correct bolt.
In some cases, you may need to use a screwdriver or an Allen wrench. When loosening the bolts, it’s crucial that you don’t remove them altogether. The reason for this is that most saw blades lock into place. This means that you can pull them out without removing the screws or bolts.
This kind of setup is beneficial because it ensures that you don’t accidentally lose a screw or bolt when changing your blades. It also helps speed up the process.
Step Three: Remove the Blade
Once again, you want to use safety precautions to ensure that you don’t hurt yourself when changing the blade. In this case, you will want to wear thick gloves when handling the metal. Even if the edge is dull, the ends of the blade (close to the screws) will likely still be sharp, so you have to be careful.
If the blade is broken or if it has snapped in half, then you want to remove each piece separately.
No matter what, you shouldn’t have to force the blade out. If it’s not coming off easily, then it could be because of one of these reasons.
You didn’t loosen the screws or bolts enough
You are moving it in the wrong direction (i.e., down instead of up)
The blade is stuck
You will want to refer to your manual to see if you’re removing it correctly. If you’ve tried every method and it’s still not coming out, then you may want to use pliers to get more leverage.
Step Four: Dispose of the Old Blade (If Applicable)
Due to its sharp edges, you don’t want to toss the old blade into the trash. Instead, you may want to wrap it in something thick (like a rag) beforehand so that it won’t cut through a trash bag. Overall, find a safe method of disposal so that you don’t encounter any problems later on.
Step Five: Choose Your New Blade
In some instances, you will be changing blades not because the old one is worn or broken. Perhaps you just want something thicker or finer to do some different cuts. In that case, you will want to be sure that you’re picking out the correct blade for your needs.
If you are replacing a blade that snapped, it may be necessary to switch to something thicker so that you don’t experience the same problem again.
When picking out the blade, you will want to examine it before you install it into the machine. You want to make sure that the edge is sharp enough to do what you want, and you should pay attention to the direction of the teeth.
In many cases, the saw teeth should be pointed downward. If they are pointing up, then it could damage not only the blade but the material you’re cutting. Also, it could jam the machine itself as it’s not designed for that kind of cutting.
Some blades, however, may have teeth that face up and down to provide a smoother, more refined cut. If that is the case, then it’s not as crucial to check the direction.
Step Six: Insert the New Blade
When you pulled the old blade out, remember the direction you had to move it in. When replacing it with a new model, you will have to do the opposite. For example, if you pulled the old blade up and out, then you will want to push the new one down to get it to lock into place.
If the blade doesn’t lock and it sits loosely, then you may want to use pliers to hold it in place as you tighten it.
Note: You can find the guide for choosing the best scroll saw blade according to your need.
Step Seven: Tighten the Bolts or Screws
One thing to remember about scroll saw blades is that they can be fragile. As such, you want to avoid over tightening them as that can create pressure points. When that happens, the blade is more likely to snap.
When putting the screws or bolts back into place, you want them to keep the saw from moving, but don’t push them in all the way. If necessary, refer to your manual to see if they mention anything about when to stop tightening.
Step Eight: Test the Saw
Before you get to work with your new blade, you will want to make sure that it won’t give you any problems. Use a practice piece of wood and make some cuts to see how the blade operates. If it isn’t working well, then you might have to change it again or adjust the tensioning.
Overall, testing will enable you to get back into the flow without damaging your final piece.
Always remember to wear safety gear when cutting as well, especially when you have a new blade in place.
Thanks for reading! We hope that you enjoyed this tutorial. Using your scroll saw can be incredibly satisfying, and we want you to use it for years to come. Be sure to use high-quality blades and always practice safe cutting!