Learn The Effective Ways to Operate Your Scroll Saw

Sawing with a scroll saw

Knowing how to use your scroll saw is critical for its longevity and effectiveness. Good use of your scroll saw will see you use it for a long time.

The usage of a scroll saw follows specific steps, which includes drawing a design on the work piece. Next, you should ensure that you are wearing safety gear as you adjust machine settings. 

The working principle of a scroll saw allows it to reciprocate the blade from top to bottom. To make a superficial cut, you will have to move the material to follow an outline. It gets better when you practice with different wood pieces to increase your sawing confidence. 

Understand the Usage 

Before you start using a scroll saw, you should understand its features and usage. If you do, you are good to read the next section to get started. Otherwise, you need to check out this page to gain better understanding! 

Draw the Pattern on the Wood

Use the pencil to design an outline on the wood. Let these markings be visible as you add bridges to create allowances for negative and positive space. The positive space talks about where the wood is intact, while the negative space is where the piece is set from removal. 

The bridge is positive allowances on the wood that connect to different parts. If you are a beginner, it is critical to stick to a simple design. If unsure about the suitable scroll saw patterns, then you can check some of the designs online. 

Wear Safety Equipment

After creating the outline, put on some safety equipment such as gloves and glasses. The glasses protect your eyes from broken blades or any irritation that comes from the sawdust. If your hair is long, then tie back it. Wear a dust mask avoid wearing baggy sleeves or extensive jewelry, which can get hooked up by the blade. 

Use the Right Type of Blades

One aspect that contributes to the incorrect output is using the wrong blade. You can get overwhelmed by an array of options as you encounter eight options of a blade. The standard blade, for starters, is the regular tooth blade which is easily available.

One can identify this tool through evenly spaced distance along the blade. Such blades come from metal, wood and plastic materials.

Related: How to Install Plain End Scroll Saw Blade

Here are different blades that you are likely to encounter:

Skip-tooth blades: 

  • Such a blade has a design where every other tooth is missing. They are slower hence suitable for beginners. 

Double-tooth blades: 

  • A skip tooth blade features a wide gap between the two sets of teeth. They are slow to use but will provide a smooth cut. 

Regular-tooth blades: 

  • They are the primary saw blades with even placed teeth. One notable thing about such blades is they are noisier than other options. 

Precision-ground blades: 

  • They are unforgiving for beginners. One can use them for cutting straight lines effectively. 

Reverse skip-tooth blades:

  • They are similar to skip tooth blades, although the last few teeth point upwards. They are favorable to many woodworkers since the blades is vital in the prevention of tear-out. 

Spiral blades: 

  • It features teeth on all sides to allow the user to cut in all directions. The downside is they are hard to use and will not provide clean cuts. We recommend such in specific circumstances.  

Crown tooth-blades:

  • Consist of the second tooth pointing in the opposite direction. They are great for cutting plastics. 

Specialty cutting blades: 

  • They have dedicated teeth for use in special conditions. Not suitable for beginners. 

Adjust the Blade Tension

The blade tension refers to how tight or loses the blade ii when you mount it from top to bottom. Most of the models do not have a complex procedure for adjusting the blade structure. 

It is easy to know the blade’s tension by listening to the noise when you put a slight pressure. If it happens to be a high pitched noise, it means the blade tension is too high. A low pitch is an indicator that the blade tension is inadequate. 

Many scroll saws use a lever or a knob for loosening or tightening the proper blade tension. Alternatively, you can find the correct tension by using the available apps on the internet. 


Once you set the correct tension, it is now time to cut. First off, mark upon the material the outline of your design. If you have high drawing talent, you can use your free hand to do so. 

Then, switch on the scroll saw and begin to cut. You can perform either interior or exterior cuts.

Exterior Cut 

Such cuts begin for the outside of the work piece, and the blade makes contact with it. You should steer the work piece in the correct blade direction to follow the outline. If the blade is thin, it may wander at some point, so it is critical to push the wood in the correct direction to stick with your outline. 

Interior Cuts

Such is the exact opposite of the exterior cuts. It begins from a minor cut within the centre of the wood. As you locate the outline from the middle of the wood, follow a similar process as you would when making an exterior cut. Steer it in the right direction to get the highest quality design.

Speed settings

Set the scroll saw speed to slow down when you are working on thin material. Also, if you are a beginner, then maintain the slow speed so that you may stay in reasonable control as you learn. 

You can set the speed to move fast when you are working on soft material. Such could be maple wood. If unsure, you can test out the speed on different scrap wood first before gaining confidence to operate at higher speeds.


A scroll saw is easy to use when you follow the tips in this guide. If you are a beginner, ensure to take baby steps to secure them before performing complex designs. The saw comes with the user manual, which you should refer to at all times to make sure you are doing the right thing. 

Marcus Weldman

Marcus Weldman is the main author of WiseMakr.com. Marcus is a tool and DIY enthusiast. He spends his time discovering the comparative differences and practical limits for all kinds of tools.