Scroll saws are one of the most versatile woodworking tools you can get your hands on. They’re perfect for cutting intricate designs, like those in furniture or musical instruments. Scroll saws also allow you to cut through thick pieces of hardwood, which makes them ideal for creating signs and other outdoor projects.
With so many scroll saw models out there, it’s difficult to decide which is best suited to your needs. This blog post will teach you all about the different features available with today’s scroll saws and help you find the right model for your specific project.
Top 7 Scroll Saws Comparison Table
|Image||Name||Variable Speed||Table Bevel||Rating (1-5)|
|1. WEN 3921 16-inch Two-Direction Variable Speed Scroll Saw||400 - 1600 strokes per minute||0 - 45 degrees||4.5|
|2. ShopSeries RK7315 16" Scroll Saw||500 - 1700 strokes per minute||0 - 45 degrees||4.5|
|3. DEWALT DW788 Scroll Saw, Variable-Speed||400 - 1750 strokes per minute||0 - 45 degrees||4.8|
|4. BILT HARD 16-inch Scroll Saw||550 - 1600 strokes per minute||0 - 45 degrees||4.2|
|5. WEN 3922 16-inch Variable Speed Scroll Saw||550 - 1600 strokes per minute||0 - 45 degrees||4.5|
|6. Delta Power Tools 40-694 20 In. Variable Speed Scroll Saw||400 - 1750 strokes per minute||0 - 45 degrees||4.6|
|7. Shop Fox W1872 16" VS Scroll Saw||550 - 1600 strokes per minute||-5 to 45 degrees||4.5|
Things to Consider When Looking for the Best Scroll Saw
Before buying a scroll saw, you need to confirm if it comes with a warranty. You should get a scroll saw that comes with a warranty of at least two years. Since a scroll saw is quite expensive, you should get one that comes with a warranty.
Dust Blower and Collection
A dust blower is an important factor to consider when buying a scroll saw. The dust blower will eliminate all the dust that has accumulated from the surface of the material you are working on. That prevents excessive build-up around the blade that could have easily blocked the view of your cutline.
Some models come with a dust collection port to collect the residuals generated as you cut through the materials. Starting the shop vac right before you begin making cuts will suck up the dust as you go. What a dust collection does is that it keeps dust out of the air in the woodworking shop.
Task lighting is an important part of a scroll saw that must be considered. You will see a small tube that snakes around to the edge of the blade. That is the LED designed to light up the exact spot on the material that you are cutting. It enhances your precision while cutting.
You should go for a scroll saw that comes with task lighting which is flexible and will provide sufficient light that will allow you to make precise cuts.
Bevel cutting is an important factor to consider while choosing a scroll saw. Many scroll saws that offer tilting tables allow you to cut materials at different angles. This is important especially when you are working on a project that requires you to create some beveled edges.
Most of the table saws available will tilt up to 45 degrees mostly towards the left side but some can tilt at that angle in both directions. If you get one that tilts both sides, you are lucky. In addition, a newer type of scroll will give you a head that tilts instead of a table that tilts.
Consider the speed options of the scroll saw before settling one by one. A scroll saw is rated by the maximum number of up and down blade strokes it can complete in a minute. You need to understand that it can range from as low as 400 strokes per minute to as high as 1800 strokes per minute.
For softwoods like cedar, a scroll saw with 400 strokes per minute (spm) will get the job done. However, when it comes to hardwoods like walnut, you will need a scroll saw that that cuts at a higher speed.
What you need to go for is a scroll saw that runs at variable speeds. It can be adjusted to suit the type of wood you are working on.
Blades and Blade Changing
This is a critical factor to consider before buying a scroll saw. Scroll saws will accept one of two common types of thin blades. There are the plain-end blades and pin-end blades.
- Pin-end blades. These feature small cross pins that effectively fit in hooks at each end. It is easy to change them because you do not require any additional tools to do it. However, there are fewer varieties available and, that affects the size of cut you make. A good example is that, if you need to make a narrow cut, the cross pin at the end of the blade may be too wide to fit through the slit in the material.
- Plain-end blades. These are held in place between jaws that clamp together tightly. They can be held at the top and the bottom part of the blade. It is the most common type of blade acceptance and, most of them will cut through different materials with ease. Most scroll saws will accept plain-end blades that require the use of a tool to loosen or tighten up the clamps.
Tension setting is a critical factor to consider when choosing a scroll saw. You must note that a scroll saw comes with a control knob. It allows you to increase or decrease tension on the blade while you are working.
If the tension is too strong, the thin blade may end up snapping. Alternatively, if the tension is too loose, the blade may twist during the cutting process and the material you were working on could end up being damaged.
In some other types of saws, you may have to move a lever to set the blade tension. Some saws are fitted with tension control knobs which do a wonderful job. Those located at the front of the saw are the ones that work best.
If your saw happens to have the control knob fitted on the back, you will be compelled to always move to the back of the saw every time you want to tweak the tension on a blade.
Before going ahead and buying a scroll saw, you need to have a look at its throat capacity. Throat capacity on a scroll saw is the distance from the saw blade to the back frame of the saw. Therefore, if the throat capacity is deeper, the material size that can be cut is wider.
We have saws that have shallow throat capacities measuring around 12 inches while others come with larger throat capacities measuring around 30 inches. For you to carry out most of the woodworking projects, you need a scroll saw that has a throat capacity of 16 to 18 inches respectively.
Commercial saws on the other hand will come with deeper throat capacities because they are handling larger materials.
It is important to remember that rotating the material you are cutting is possible. Doing this will enable you to cut material that measures twice the throat capacity size. For example, if your saw’s throat capacity is eighteen inches, you can cut the center of a 36-inch wide board.
Top 3 Best Scroll Saw Reviews
The WEN 3921 16-inch Two-Direction Variable Speed Scroll Saw is one of the best scroll saws available in the market. It features a unique design that accepts blades in two directions thus enabling it to have infinite ripping capacity.
It runs at variable speeds ranging from 400 to 1600 strokes per minute. It comes with a spacious 16-by-11 inch table that bevels up to 45 degrees to the left enabling you to make angled cuts.
It has the capacity of cutting wood of a thickness of two inches with a sixteen-throat depth in its standard position.
It features a thumbscrew blade adapter that allows you to change the blade without the need of tools, three blades, onboard storage, a foot lock clamp, a dust port, a flex light, an air pump, and a cast iron base.
The ShopSeries RK7315 16″ Scroll Saw is incredible and every woodworker would love having it. It is lightweight, powerful and that makes it ideal for a variety of woodworking projects. It features a die-cast aluminum table bevel ranging from 0 to 45 degrees effectively.
It comes with two durable five-inch tungsten carbide blades that have a throat depth of 16 inches and a cutting depth of two and a half inches. The scroll saw can run the blade at variable speeds depending on the hardness of the material you are working on.
It comes with a two-year limited warranty that protects the buyer against any kind of defects that one finds on the workmanship and materials of the machine.
The DEWALT DW788 Scroll Saw is one of the best in the market. It features a double parallel link arm design that curbs the vibration effects of the machine thus allowing you to make some accurate cuts.
The blade clamps enable one to change the blade quickly without needing a set of tools to do that. It features a blade tensioning lever that sits on the front upper arm, a dust blower, electronic variable speed, and an on and off switch.
Its arm design pivots from the back of the saw to the front thus shortening the arm movement for quieter, smoother operation. The arm lifts and that makes it easy to thread through the material especially when making inside cuts.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Best Wood to Cut on a Scroll Saw?
Hard and softwood are the two types of wood available. Softwood is not that useful when dealing with scroll saw projects. This is because softwood bends more under the blade, making it hard to keep the pattern consistent.
Softwood should be used for practice purposes. Use Cedar, plywood, Baltic birch, and poplar for your practice, and avoid pine when you need fine work.
Hardwoods tend to be resilient and strong and keep the shape of the pattern. You need to be experienced to work with hardwoods. Ash and maple, red oak, birch woods stand in the scroll saw art.
Can a Scroll Saw be Cut 2×4?
Scroll saws in general work on thinner wood pieces, however, they can be cut on 2×4. To have a successful 2×4 cut is patience, not pushing the wood hand. Using the correct blades and understanding tips to handle scroll saw can be helpful to cut 2×4.
What Size Wood Can You Cut With a Scroll Saw?
In general, scroll saws can cut wood up to 2 inches thick. You need to be careful when dealing with deep woods to avoid blade damage.
Are Scroll Saw Blades Universal?
Well, no. this is because there are no blades that fit perfectly in different circular saws. In some cases, blades only work in one model of a circular saw hence not interchangeable.
Can a Scroll Saw Cut Leather?
A scroll saw can cut leather. The main issue is that the fabric needs to be stiff to make the preferred cut. Dealing with delicate will only snag. Leather lends itself to be used in scroll saw projects. Ensure you have a sharp and thick blade to cut a success.
Can I Cut Plastic With a Scroll Saw?
Yes, you can. The scroll saw is versatile and can be used to cut plastics too. Softer plastics are hard to design or shape. Stiff plastics, on the other hand, retain their shape and got resistance hence easy to pattern. Acrylic and plexiglass are some of the recommended plastics for projects.
What Can I Make With a Scroll Saw?
A scroll saw is an excellent tool for making curved and intricate cuts. Thus, you can use the tool to make puzzles, toys, jewelry boxes, and most detailed work from woodcuts. The saw is the best in creating pieces of intarsia.
Apart from woodcutting, scroll saws also cut through plastics, thin metals, form, and Plexiglass
Can You Cut Acrylic Sheets With a Scroll Saw?
Yes, you can. The versatility of the scroll saws tool enables it to cut materials such as metal, wood, and acrylic. To get a perfect cut you would need a tool designed for plastics. However, there is the trick to use the scroll saw to cut acrylic successfully.
The main thing is to prevent heat accumulation. The friction generated by saw blades makes the acrylic melt a bit and reseal almost immediately. When this happens, the cuts are uneven. To counter this, use a fan directly to the working bench while cutting.
Only remove the protective backing paper on the acrylic after cutting and set the saw at the lowest speed. Finally ensues you lubricate the blade before cutting.
Why Do I Keep Breaking Scroll Saw Blades?
The reason why one may keep breaking the scroll saw blade may be as a result of using too little or too much tension when you are sawing. Using improper and unbalanced tension will end up breaking the saw blades.
What is the Difference Between Pinned and Pinless Scroll Saw Blades?
Pin-end blades come with a tiny cross pin in their end. Changing these blades is quicker and faster. The pins rest in a hook-like holder making it difficult to thread through tiny holes. They feature small cross pins that effectively fit in hooks at each end.
Pinless blades are what someone may think of in terms of a generic cutting blade. The blade is flat and is pinched in place between the jaws of small clamps on the scroll saw. That said, one clamp is located right above the work table and the other one right below the table.
The blend is effectively threaded through a cut in the table and thus may reciprocate up and down freely.
A scroll saw is an important tool for a woodworking project. If you are looking for a scroll saw, consider the ones we have reviewed in this article. They are the best in the market and are a worthy investment.