For many DIY enthusiasts, a scroll saw is an absolute essential. Once used to carry out scrollwork, hence the name, scroll saws are utilised for making delicate cuts and curved edges with a wide variety of materials. The best scroll saws provide superior levels of precision for making controlled cuts over power tools such as jigsaws. They’re also a more resilient choice over other varieties of hand saw, such as coping saws.
Scroll Saws Explained
The defining feature of a scroll saw is a reciprocating blade. Unlike the similar band saw, scroll saws allow the user to remove the blade with ease. Because of this, the user can carry out cut-outs without having to make an entry slot in the material beforehand. Furthermore, the finer blade you’ll find with a scroll saw allows you to carry out very intricate work, making this tool an incredibly versatile addition to your line-up. Looking to add one of these handy tools to your collection? Below, you’ll find our go-to guide on picking out the best scroll saws the UK market has to offer.
Key Factors to Consider
There’s a handful of crucial points to keep in mind when buying a scroll saw. For starters, you’ll want to pay special attention to something called the throat length. This refers to the measurement of the rear of the blade, located at the back throat of the saw. Picking the right throat size will determine the materials you can work with. If you’re looking to work with a specific type of material, an effective scroll saw purchase will be determined by throat length. Generally speaking, the smallest throat length measurement you’ll encounter will be 12 inches. For most everyday applications, you will probably find a throat length of around 18 inches will suffice. However, if you are seeking something to accommodate industrial applications, a throat length of anywhere up to 30 inches may be called for. Another chief factor to bear in mind is thickness of cut. When it comes to scroll saws, depth capacity ranges from around 1.75 inches to more than 2.5 inches. This depth capacity determines the overall thickness of material you can hope to cut and work with.
The overall performance of a scroll saw will be determined by the cutting speed provided. An overall lower speed will limit you to the materials you can work with and effectively rule out being able to work with harder, more robust ones. The slowest speed you’ll generally encounter will be around 400 strokes per minute. At the other end of the spectrum, speeds of up to 1800 strokes per minute can be expected. If you expect many changes to your working requirements, variable speed is something you need to seriously think about. As a general rule, slow cutting speeds will be enough to handle cutting of thin materials, such as soft and brittle woods. Medium cutting speeds will be enough to handle more thick varieties of wood, while fast cutting speeds are best suited to cloth, paper and leather materials.
Scroll Saw Blade Basics
When it comes to scroll saw blades, there are two varieties to think about. These are pinned blades and pinless blades. Pinned blades are the better choice for handling woods with greater thickness, but they are not ideal for making more intricate cuts requiring more detail. However, pinless blades are the go-to for this exact application, allowing you plenty of fine detail and precision.
If you’re looking to cut wood, always opt for standard blades with larger teeth. If instead you intend to cut metal, opt for smaller blades with comparatively smaller teeth. Other types of blades can also be utilised with a scroll saw. So-called skip tooth blades can be utilised for cutting plastics and wood, while spiral blades are a good choice if you’re working with types of wax, metal materials and various types of wood. Two-way blades can be used to handle cutting of softwood and hardwood materials, while more robust metals and hardy materials can be cut with a metal scroll saw blade. Finally, there’s reverse tooth scroll saw blades that can be used to make cuts with plywood and other hardwood materials.
Drives for Scroll Saws
A great deal of scroll saws you’ll encounter today will utilise a parallel arm drive. In this instance, the scroll saw motor will be mounted at the rear of the device, with the arms of the scroll saw sitting parallel. This isn’t the only type of drive you can expect to find, however. The other common form you can encounter is a parallel link drive. With one of these, both arms have rods within them. This type of system is a good choice if you’re looking for something with lower overall operational noise and less vibration when working.
Keep it Simple
When working with a scroll saw, you’ll want a system that is simple to operate and offers a lot of user-friendly functionality. With such a device, precision and accuracy when working is of key importance, so you will want to ensure the system you pick allows for fuss-free operation and easy to access to all controls. As such, picking a scroll saw that has all key controls located in a central location is always a good bet. To make life even easier, it is worth looking for a scroll saw that also utilises a pedal control. With a pedal control integrated into the overall system, you can enjoy the benefits of being able to keep your hands free as you work with material.
You will always want to maintain adequate degrees of adjustability when working with a scroll saw system. A scroll saw that features a table with tilt adjustment is one such feature to look out for. You’ll find a great variety of tilting ability with scroll saws, so take some time to thoroughly assess the requirements important to you. Other handy features include units for dust collection, ensuring you can operate a scroll saw in a safe and comfortable working environment.
Tips for Safe Operation of Scroll Saws
Unlike other types of power tools, scroll saws are generally quite safe. However, no power tool is without potential risk, so it makes sense to familiarise yourself with some general safety tips before putting yours to use.
Keep the basic safety measures in mind prior to operating your scroll saw. These include ensuring you are wearing suitable protective gear, including goggles, dust masks and ear protectors when necessary. When operating the scroll saw, you should always ensure your fingers are kept at a good distance away from the blade itself to minimise the chance of injury.
When your scroll saw is not in use, always ensure you turn off the system to ensure no accidents arise. You will also want to ensure the system is switched off when carrying out essential maintenance, or if you are carrying out any blade changes or tension adjustments.
On that note, remember to ensure that the scroll saw itself is always securely mounted to the surface you’re working on to avoid accidents and injuries. When it comes to changing blades, always insert the blade with teeth facing forward and pointing toward the table or workbench itself. You also need to ensure that blade tension is properly maintained at all times to allow for optimal operation. Once you’ve carried out such changes and adjustments, take a moment to ensure that all handles are securely locked in place before switching on the system again. Taking the time to properly light your work area is always advised to ensure you can carry out such activities correctly.
Scroll Saw Reviews
Feeling inspired now that you know what to look out for when buying a scroll saw? We’ve made life even easier for you and put together a premier list of great value scroll saws well worth considering. You’ll find models from some of the best manufacturers in the business, with a range of first-rate features on offer and models to accommodate all budgets.
You’re not short of quality features with the Einhell TC-SS 405 E. First and foremost, this premium scroll saw boasts an incredibly solid base, ensuring utmost sturdiness when put in place. The metal work table is also adjustable up to 45 degrees, giving you plenty of flexibility when it comes to getting stuck in. Looking for user-friendly design and quick access to blade changes? You’ll find it here, with a quick-release clamp that makes changing blades the work of moments. Overall sturdiness is further enhanced by the hold-down feature, keeping your workpieces firmly in place as you make cuts. There’s also a connection for a dust extraction unit, ensuring your workspace is kept free of debris and you’re not breathing in any harmful particles as you cut. This versatile scroll saw can be fixed directly to your workbench for convenience, providing you with an ideal working height as you saw.
Remember to check out our post on cordless chainsaws.
Dremel Moto-Saw MS20 2-in-1 Electric Compact Scroll Saw Set 70 W, 1 Attachment, 5 Accessories, Use as Table Saw, Bench Saw, Power Saw, Fret Saw
This Dremel MS20 2-in-1 Scroll Saw is definitely worth a second look if your after a sleek design and premium performance. Incredibly easy to use, this low profile tool offers the combined functionality of a scroll saw and fret saw in one neat package. You can look forward to incredible levels of prevision when carrying out straight cuts and curved ones alike, with guide rails and parallel guides on hand to assist in cutting at depths of up to 18mm. The user-friendliness of this multi-purpose scroll saw is further enhanced by the quick accessory change feature, while the compact nature of it makes it incredibly portable and simple to store discreetly. Need more convincing? The reduced vibration of this machine make it ideal for when you’re working for long spells at the workbench, while full variable speed control from 1,500 to 2,250 rotations per minute provide you with all the versatility you need. The Moto-Saw blades found here have been engineered to make quick work of all manner of materials, with laminate, soft wood and hardwood all easy to cut. What’s more, PCV and other soft sheet materials can be cut precisely and quickly. A slimline alternative to other scroll saws with added functionality you’ll struggle to find elsewhere for the same money.
What stands out about this Record Power SS61V Scroll Saw is the variable speed functionality, allowing you the freedom to make a varied selection of cuts to a wide range of materials. You can make use of slower cutting speeds to handle work with plastics and other non-ferrous material types, while the faster speed settings can be utilised to make quick and easy cuts of wood at thicknesses of up to 50mm. What’s more, changing blades is easy work, which is particularly useful for those who like to work at speed, or need the ability to swiftly swap out blades when working with more intricate material pieces. There’s also some handy safety features as standard here, with the hold down clamp and dust blower elements very worthwhile additions to the overall package.
This Axminster Craft AC405SS 405mm Scroll Saw is kitted out with a powerful motor and delivers variable speeds of between 550 and 1,600 rotations per minute. As such, you can make quick of cutting with all manner of materials, with cuts of up to 50mm in depth achievable. A more premium cut is assured thanks to the two independent blade arms, while 45-degree angle bevel cutting is also achievable. When it comes to making blade changes, the whole process is made simple thanks to easy access clamps and quick-release tension. This is also a very robust choice for heavy-duty applications, with the cast iron base providing plenty in the way of stability, while also minimising unwanted vibration while working.