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How to Use a Scroll Saw

How to Use Scroll Saw
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With so many saws available for different projects, you probably think that they are all the same. Well, it’s true that many saws have the same functions, and overall, work the same. However, scroll saws use different tools to create different designs into wood. They work on a finer level than other saws. Instead of using a scroll saw to cut through wood,

you would be better off using a scroll saw. Not only can you can create designs in the wood, but they’re perfect for creating curves and joints for furniture. Now that you know what a scroll saw is, you’re probably wondering how you can use it.

What You Will Need to Use a Scroll Saw

Once you found the best scroll saw for you, there are some things you will need to purchase and have on hand before starting on any project. Before you can start “scrolling” you will need these items.

Extension cord

  • Helps you reach outlets that are far away, and gives you some extra space.


  • Protects your hands and gives you a better grip. You should find gloves that fit snugly around your fingers, but not too tight or too loose.

Safety goggles

  • Any time you’re working with wood or any material, you should make sure your eyes are protected. You can find some that will fit around your eyeglasses, if you need to


  • You won’t get anything done if you don’t have the wood with you.


  • You will need to consider what type of scroll saw blades you need. You can choose smaller blades for more detailed work, and larger blades to cut through thicker wood.

Fine Grit Sandpaper

  • This will help when you are about to finish up, and clear up any edges you created while you were cutting.

Step by Step Instructions - How to Use a Scroll Saw

So, you’ve got your scroll saw set up and just about ready to go, but you’re not sure what to do next. Here are the steps you will need to take to make sure you get every cut precise and perfect.

Turn it On

  • After the saw has been connected to the power, you will need to turn it on. You can flip the switch, and start cutting. You should make some rough cuts around the design. Don’t worry if you’re not getting them cut perfectly. You will work on the details later on. Depending on the type of wood you are using, you may need to use a different type of blade than you will when you get to the finer details. Right now, you’re just trying to get rid of as much excess wood as you can around the design.

Adjust the Speed

  • Some models of scroll saws will allow you to adjust the speed of the blade to help you cut through the wood. One thing to remember is that you will need to use a slower speed for harder wood. Maple and poplar are good woods to use at higher speeds. While you’re adjusting the speed, you should keep an eye on the blade to make sure it is cutting properly through the wood. If not, you may need to go faster, or slower, depending on the blade and the wood. You should monitor the blade to make sure it doesn’t break while it’s cutting.

Aim Toward the First Line

  • Once you know how the blade is cutting the wood, you should start aiming the blade to the first line you want to cut. You can move slowly, and since you’re working on the outer line, you can leave some rough edges. One thing you need to remember, is that you don’t need to go too fast while you’re cutting. The last thing you want to do is go too fast and cut through the middle of the design. Make sure you’re following the lines like you drew them up.

Use Both Hands

  • As you’re cutting the first line, you should keep both hands on the wood while you’re cutting. You should gently push the wood through the blade, and not force it through. Forcing the blade can cause it to snap, or you could get your finger caught in the blade. You don’t want this to happen, so the best thing you can do is take it easy, and take your time. It’s not a race, so make sure you’re being safe as your hands will be near the blade.

Use Your Fingers

  • Moving the wood through the blade should include your forefingers and thumb to ensure you can push the wood through the blade. You want to make sure you hold down the wood and push it gently along the cutting line. As you’re working your way along the design, you should make sure to lift one finger at a time. While it might be tempting to take your whole hand off the piece, this can create a jagged edge because it might make the wood jump. You could also have your finger get caught in the blade, and that would make the project worthless.

Adjust the Feed Rate

  • While you’re cutting along the cut lines, you may need to adjust the feed rate to what feels right to you. You can watch the blade to see if it is bending while you’re cutting. If it looks like the blade is bending too much, or having difficulty getting through the wood, you may need to slow it down a bit. You can also listen to the saw, and hear how it is working to make sure it is cutting properly.

Remove Cut Parts

  • Once you’ve gone over your cut lines, you should remove the parts you’ve already cut. This will help you have a good sense of how your cutting is going, and gets the loose parts out of the way. This will help as you get to the interior of the design. The best time to remove the cut parts of the wood is when you reach a turning point. If you’re cutting circles, you should make sure you’ve cut the wood through the whole circle. You can then remove the loose wood easily, and continue on to the next part of the design.

Turn to the Next Line

  • As you get to the interior of the wood, you should make sure the blade is aligned with your cut line. You want to guide the blade into the cut line, and make sure it meets with the first cut. You can back the blade out of the cut, and turn the wood to your next cut. Ensuring the lines meet where they are supposed to will help keep the design in perfect condition. It will also help you when you need to file down the edges, especially if you want to keep the integrity of the design in place.

Turn the Wood

  • One thing you will need to keep in mind when you’re cutting to make sure you’re turning the wood. You can turn the wood slowly. You want to make sure you keep the same pace to ensure the wood doesn’t get misaligned while you’re cutting. You should also keep your hands on the wood. Yes, it will seem like it is taking a while to cut through the wood, but it will ensure it looks good when you’re just about done.

Cut off the Outside Lines

  • As you’re getting closer to finishing, you should cut off the remaining edges of the wood. You should wind up back where you started, and if you used some patience, and practiced good techniques, the cut will wind up where you started. It’s good to know how you’re doing by following your cut lines. If you notice any time you’re drifting a little bit, take a minute, relax, and try it again. Getting the cuts along the lines will make finishing the project easier.

Use Sandpaper

  • Now, you will need to take the sandpaper and smooth out any rough edges. There will be rough edges, so evening them out, and creating a smooth edge will make your project look sharp. Even if you have some uneven edges, you can use the sandpaper to make them look good. Getting them even and looking good is the main goal.


A scroll saw is the perfect complement to cutting wood, and creating your own designs. There is a lot more detail you will need to focus on when you’re using a scroll saw, but with some practice, you can create extensive works of art only you can create. We hope you enjoyed this article, and if you have any comments, suggestions, or recommendations, feel free to leave a comment below. 

Even if you’re sharing your own projects. it’s nice seeing if the article helped you learn how to use a scroll saw. If you want to share this article with your friends, go ahead. They might appreciate the help.

6 thoughts on “How to Use a Scroll Saw”

  1. I really like your writing style Gary. The way things are formatted on your site makes it very easy to learn how to scroll saw effectively. Thanks again!

  2. Hi and thanks for this awesome guide. For someone who isn’t very conversant with using saws, what type of saw would you advice such a person to go for? This is for clearing bushes and occasional trees in the backyard.

  3. Hi there!
    Wonderful presentation of step by step process, it was a really helpful one. As an expert in this line, I suggest you to Add some safety tips for users while using it.

    Um going to publish a top web article writers list and surely going to add your name there

    Keep helping people!

    James V. Jordan

  4. How about a question?
    I put two 1/4 ” oak pieces together, tape method, and used #5 blade. I was sawing a simple bird but the wood was jumping so much I never got an even cut. I tried increasing and slowing the speed, held on tight, tried moving slowly, changed tension but never solved the problem. What was wrong? I’m using a Scroll Saw Workbook for directions.

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