How To Use a Scroll Saw

Another machine and a very convenient workshop tool, used for working with thin wood, is a scroll saw. With the help of a scroll saw, you can create items like

  • Nametags
  • Clocks
  • Miniature furniture
  • Wooden crafts
  • Decorations with curves and joints

This intricate woodwork is known as Fretwork.

The scroll saw carves out pattern not only on wood, but also on metal and plastic etc.

Nowadays, scroll saw is available in above 50 models having features like variable speed, varying throat capacity etc. A best scroll saw is the one that enables you work smoothly, with no or less noise and a very less maintenance requirement.

I bring this step-by-step guide on how to use a scroll saw.


  • Scroll saw and blades
  • Wood
  • Scroll saw pattern
  • Goggles
  • Mask

Initial preparation

Whenever you are about to work with a cutting tool or an electric machine, in order to avoid a hazard, it is good to ensure a few protective measures.

Wear your work goggles and a mask to keep out the dust from getting into your eyes and breathe. Also, tie long hairs and don’t let any loose clothing near the saw.


Place your scroll saw on a smooth, straight surface and clamp it there. Now you have to determine the type of blade depending on the delicacy of the pattern you have selected. If you have a thin work piece, a blade with smaller teeth can handle it easily.

You have to set a suitable speed of the blade. Slower speeds are suitable for hard wood and faster ones for softwood pieces, such as poplar or maple etc. Some scroll saws include features like a flashlight and dust blower, etc. When you turn on the saw, switch theses on too, so that as you work, the workspace stays clean and lighted.


Select a suitable size of wood. If you are a beginner, I would suggest that you start with a small thin piece for practice. Now, take a piece of paper on which you have drawn the pattern that you want carved on the wooden piece. Either transfer the pattern directly on the wood by the tracing technique or place the same paper on it if it suits you better. Move the wooden block gently under the blade. Begin from where you want the first cut to appear.


Now begin moving the wood piece under the blade. Place the two forefingers, one of each hand and the thumbs to hold down the work piece. Push it forward slightly without hurrying, as you may end up hurting yourself. While pushing, move one finger out of the way just as you do in sewing, else if you remove either fingers or thumb, the piece will vibrate and get a wrong cut, which won’t be undone. Thus, rushing won’t do you any good; patience is the key to success.


Keep on adjusting the feed rate accordingly. If you see that the saw is making rough cuts, increase the speed. If the saw is noisy, try slowing it down. This may seem hectic at first, but once you get a hold of it, you will be able to work quickly and end up with a neater final piece. You can take quicker turns with a thin blade, which in turn depends on the thickness of the work piece. Thicker blades are not good for sharp turns; however, they can help you cut through thicker and durable work pieces.


I don’t advise you to finish the project in a single go. Keep on checking as you proceed. When you reach the first turning point in the design, stop the saw and carefully remove the piece to examine it. If you feel the job so far is well done, then proceed in the same manner. Otherwise, try different blade speed or holding the piece on a more accurate angle.


Keep on turning the work piece as you reach a new line. You needn’t turn off the saw every now and then, simply make the blade trace the already cut line and make it move to a new line by turning slowly just like you reverse and then turn a car on the road.

Proceed in the same fashion and cut away all the outer edges of the model. What you have now is an outline. Cut away the inner pattern in the same way.


You will see now that you have a finished piece under the blade. Stop the saw at once and remove the blade carefully. Pick up the wooden piece and use fine-grit sandpaper to rub away the crudeness of the surface and leave with what is smooth and fine looking wooden design.


  1. Before you start working on the actual piece, test the design on a dummy.
  2. Test the varying speed and blade thickness and select what best suites you.


  1. Do not forget to wear safety goggles and the mask, as they will save your eyes and breathe from the sawdust and broken blade pieces.
  2. Do not rush to complete the work, your finger may run under the blade, which can result in an injury.
  3. Be careful enough not to break the working blade by pushing the wood against it too hard.


I know now you would already be thinking to practice your own designing with a scroll saw. Yes! That’s how easy it is. Try it today and you will definitely be happy with the results. However, patience and caution will help you work safely. If you enjoyed reading this blog, don’t forget to share it in your circle. Also, leave your valuable comments and queries in the section below.

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