Woodworkers use numerous power tools to cut and shape wooden planks. Among these tools, scroll saws are the best for working on an intricate design cut. Woodworkers are mainly sold on a scroll saw because of its ease and precision. The thin yet efficient blade allows precise cutting no matter how complex the shape or design is.
Scroll saws are available in the market at different price points and depths, depending upon the length of the wood you’re working on. Several brands are also specifically popular for their quality woodwork equipment. Nonetheless, the true art lies in knowing how to use a scroll saw.
Using a scroll saw isn’t too complex. Following some simple steps and consistent practice can help you operate a scroll saw perfectly.
What You’ll Need
- A scroll saw
- A blade (small or large depending upon the size of the wooden plank)
- A wooden plank
- A hard copy of the design you’re cutting out
- Any trusty glue
- A Sharpie
- A sandpaper
- A drilling machine
- A power socket
- Safety gear (goggles, gloves, etc.)
Clear out your workstation and set up the scroll saw on the elevated station. The station height should be well suited for your height depending upon whether you’ll work standing or sitting. Either way, the flat surface of the scroll saw where you’d be adjusting your wood must be below eye level.
Make sure that the power connection isn’t running through the scroll saw to safely perform the next few steps of setting up the saw. Switch off the power button situated somewhere at the front of the saw.
Turn the tension knob situated on the farthest corner of the arm. This way, you can adjust the blade quickly. Also, loosen the knob near the blade’s clip to make room for the blade.
Insert the blade in the clips on the bottom first and slide it through the hole on the scroll saw. Use the clips on the top to lock the blade in place so that both ends of the blade are stuck at their respective clips. Ensure that the teeth of the blade are facing you for effective wood cutting.
Tighten the screw near the blade’s clip to fasten the blade. Tighten the tension knob to create tension in the blade. This step might be tricky as less tension can make the blade wobbly, whereas too much tension can cause the blade to snap.
You just want a perfect amount of tension in the blade. To ensure that, pluck the blade while you’re tightening it. The plucking should make a sharp ping sound similar to a guitar cord, indicating that you have fastened the blade in its place.
Now that you have completed the scroll saw setup, prepare the wood for cutting. Take the printed design you want on your wooden plank and stick the design to the wood using trusty glue. If you don’t have a print or want to freehand, you can use the sharpie and draw on the wood.
When using an outline, you must also decide whether you’ll make cuts through the inside boundary, outside the boundary, or exactly on the line. Deciding so is crucial for precision and consistency in the cutting.
Connect the scroll saw to the power socket and switch the tool on. The machine will start making a noise and vibrating, indicating it’s powered on.
Adjust the speed through the knob beside the on/off switch. The speed should neither be too high nor too low, as both extremes can ruin the cut work. Adjust the blade speed slightly higher than average.
Wear your safety gear, such as gloves and goggles, to stay safe from the debris that can harm your hands or fly into your eyes and cause irritation.
Once you’re ready, gradually push the plank in front of the blade and start cutting the outline of the design. Make sure to cut the large wood into a small one first if you’re going for a singular design instead of a continuous pattern.
Once you have completed the shape cutting, turn off the scroll saw. Remove the printed paper from the wood and use sandpaper to smooth out the edges.
If you want to cut on the inside of the shape, here are some additional steps to get you started.
Drill a hole in the previously cut shape or a blank new plank depending upon your preference and design plan. Use a drill machine for an easy and efficient hole.
Loosen the knobs on the blade and take the blade out from the top clip.
Pass the wooden plank through the blade using the hole you had made in the previous steps.
Clip the blade back in and readjust the tension.
Turn on the scroll saw and start cutting out the shape or design you want to make. You can use another stencil or outline for the design or go freehand.
After cutting, turn off the scroll saw and allow it to cool down. Meanwhile, clean up your workstation to get rid of any debris.
Stash the scroll saw away in a safe corner so that the tool doesn’t go through wear or tear and is perfectly ready for its next use.
Our Final Thoughts
Scroll saws are the most efficient tools for cutting an intricate design on a wood plank. The beautiful pieces prepared using scroll saws are often used as signature pieces in interior design. Using a scroll saw isn’t rocket science, but the safe and effective setup can save you from any possible incidents.
Read the steps above the next time you’re curious to know how to use a scroll saw. Hopefully, following the correct order of steps with utmost care and attention will give you a precise and detailed cut when you use the saw.