How to Use a Scroll Saw



how to use a scroll saw

A scroll saw is a small machine-operated saw that can be used to make intricate or curved cuts. Its short and thin blade is excellent for delicate and detail works.

Scroll saws can cut through many different materials from wood and plastic to metals such as brass and copper. You can also use this saw to make interior cuts in these materials.

If you are new to the craft of woodworking, maybe you don’t know how to use a scroll saw. Well, I can help you understand more about this versatile tool by explaining how to use it. Let’s dive in!

A. Preparation

Scroll saw preparation

The first step to creating an intricate and beautiful design on your wood or metal projects is to draw your design. We recommend using a pencil for a design outline on wood, but make sure that the markings are easily visible.

If you’re a beginner, just go online and you can find various scroll saw patterns for reference. Once you’re ready to operate the saw, put on your goggles and other safety equipment.

Next, you have to make sure that the scroll saw is properly secured and installed on your worktop. You can refer to the product instructions for this. Then choose the correct blade size for the material you’re working on.

Use a bigger blade for thick materials and a smaller blade for thinner ones. Small blades are also slower, but they can give you more control to cut complex designs.

After that, you should adjust the tension on your blade by applying some pressure on its midpoint with your finger. If done correctly, it shouldn’t be able to move around more than 3mm.

It should also be tight enough for accurate cutting, but not too tight that it will break. A large blade can withstand higher tension than a smaller one.

The last thing you should do before actually using the scroll saw is to plug it in and power the machine on. Make sure to turn on the light so you can create more accurate cuts.

If your scroll saw doesn’t have a built-in light, simply use an overhead or mountable lamp. You should also switch on the dust blower if your saw has it.

B. The Cutting Process

Cutting process with a scroll saw

Before you cut directly on your main material, test your scroll saw on a scrap material. This allows you to check if you have the right blade size and tension level.

Then set the speed to the correct and desirable setting, in which thinner and denser materials require a slower speed.

If you’re working on soft woods like maple, use a faster speed. Remember to start out slow and speed up once you get a hang of the scroll saw.

To make a precise cut, use both your hands to bring the material towards the blade and guide it through. Adjust the project when the design curves using your fingers and thumb, but keep your other thumb away.

Remember, watch where you place your fingers near the blade so you won’t accidentally cut them. However, always hold the wood as steadily as you can to avoid uneven cuts.

Another tip you might want to keep in mind is to never force the material faster than the machine’s speed. Stick to however slow or fast the blade is cutting. Otherwise, you could risk cutting your fingers or having a deformed design.

Read also: 10 Best Miter Saws for Furniture Making

C. Finishing Up

If you need to make right-angled cuts, remove the material from the blade and adjust its position before continuing. This shouldn’t be a problem if you have a spiral blade.

Once you’ve made all the necessary cuts along the design outline, detach the blade from the project. Then, use the switch control or press the power button to turn the scroll saw off.

Make sure to remove the blade from the scroll saw and store it away in its designated storage container. You can leave the scroll saw on the worktop if you are planning to use it again soon.

Alternatively, we suggest putting it away to prevent any accidents or damage to the scroll saw. This will also ensure that your tool stays clean while being more long-lasting.


Ultimately, knowing how to use a scroll saw the right way can really improve your woodworking skill. This fine tool will enable you to work on more detailed and intricate projects, therefore allowing your creativity to truly shine through.

Don’t forget that practice makes perfect. Happy crafting!