A scroll saw uses an up-and-down reciprocating action, with its thin blades and ability to cut in fine detail it is really really a motorized coping saw. Scroll saws very in quality, features and price. What follows is an overview of common set-up routines and what you need to know to get started.
Before you do much else with a scroll saw, it’s necessary to get the correct tension on the blade. With nearly all scroll saws, 5″ plain end blades are the type most often used.
Setting Up The Hold-Down And Dust Blower
Smooth cuts are what you’re looking for on the scroll saw, so using the hold-down and the sawdust blower are nearly essential to doing the work right. The hold-down, set to barely touch the work surface, helps keep the work piece from catching a tooth on some quirky grain and jumping off line as you cut, while the sawdust blower keeps a clean line for you to follow. For a lot of work, aiming the blower just at the blade, pointing slightly to one side or the other seems to work best for many people.
Basic Speeds and Feeds
Set the speed for the material, if this is a multi-speed or variable speed scroll saw. The harder the material, the slower the stroke you want to use.
Holding The Work Piece
Even though you have a hold-down in place, your hand placement is important to correct feed and the ease with which you can follow your line. You use your hands to hold the work piece down, and, at the same time, to feed the work into the blade. The hands supplement the hold-down in keep the work piece from rising as the blade cuts. Actual hand placement depends a lot on the size and shape of the work piece, but whenever possible, both forefingers and the thumb of one hand are used to move the work through the blade, while keeping the cut on its line. Other fingers need to be kept away from the cut line, more or less splayed from the hand, instead of curled back towards the palm. This helps keep them away from the blade. Scroll saws are safe tools, but those little blades are sharp enough to cut sheet metal, so make certain your fingers are never in the cut.