Last Updated on June 7, 2023 by Georgie Smith
Have you ever wondered how people into woodwork create artifacts that look so perfect and intricate? Well, wonder no more, you are welcome to the world of Scroll Saws. They are responsible for creating wooden or metal masterpieces. This post addresses top-rated scroll saws money can buy and much more.
Scroll Saws are electric-powered saws used in cutting and making delicate designs on wood and any other materials. The scroll saws work like handheld saws but only that the former works faster and more accurately. The saw comes with a powerful motor with varying speed controls. To eliminate vibration, some absorb or reduce vibration and noise based on their unique construction.
Reduced vibration makes the machine cut effortlessly and with precision. The scroll saw as a tool has helped so many. As a beginner, you will enjoy learning with it, and as a home decorator; you need it for your home improvement jobs.
Furthermore, as a woodwork hobbyist or professional, this tool would assist you on various creative projects to produce intricate and striking artifacts. The scroll saw has many advantages, which we shall explore in the next section of this post. Please read on…
Advantages of the Scroll Saw:
The scroll saw compared to other cutting tools has many benefits. Those advantages make it unique and useful:
Complex Pattern Cutting:
It can cut extremely intricate and beautiful patterns. It can also cut patterns of small radius, make curves, and makes enclosed internal cuts and outside designs. It does not just cut these shapes but does with precision.
Creates Extremely Tiny Patterned Fretwork:
This saw can cut very tiny and delicate patterns which other saws cannot. With the scroll saw, you can use a thin and small blade to pass through a 1/32” hole – that is extreme! This handy saw creates beautiful dainty fretworks that its edges do not need sandpaper smoothing.
Speed Variation Features:
Most saws come with variable speed features. The feature makes it possible for them to operate at varying speeds; this makes it a versatile tool.
This saw creates clean and smooth cuts that require little or no sandpaper smoothing.
You can use this saw to create outstanding and appealing masterpiece fretworks.
Scroll saws cut without leaving grooves on the cut paths, which is peculiar to using conventional saws. This ideal cutting ability makes the scroll saw useful in cutting jigsaw puzzles, intarsia, and so on. Take jigsaws, for example, creating it requires precision, and no tool does it better than this saw.
This saw can make precise cuts due to the built-in air pump in the machine. The air pump prevents the accumulation of sawdust making the work-in-progress visible for further designing. Also, the tilting table aids in the making of precise beveled or angled cuts.
With this saw, space is not a problem because it does not consume much. If you are working on any project with this saw, you do not require any other thing, but this saw.
The scroll saw is simple to use and a fun piece of equipment. If you get to know how to use it, it can become a source of income for you. You can use it for a couple of projects that other tools cannot handle.
Speed and Efficiency:
This saw cuts wood and other material faster than any other handheld machine. It cuts thin slices of wood seamlessly and cleans out the waste. This saw produces high-quality cuts as a result of its minimal vibration.
It maintains a smooth up-and-down movement that affords it the luxury of producing quality works. Contrarily, front and back tools create lots of vibration that make their cuts less accurate.
Replaces other tools:
The scroll saw is such a utility tool that it easily replaces other tools. It can take up the job of other devices and does it perfectly. With this saw, you minimize the number of sandpaper you buy.
The price of the scroll saw depends on your pocket. The price ranges from $100 to $2,000.
The scroll saw accommodates the attachment of more than 150 rotary tool accessories for flexibility.
Top 5 Best-Rated Scroll Saw for the Money:
In this section, our team of experts researched and put together the best-rated scroll saws money can buy. This unbiased guide will go a long way to aid your buying decision. In no particular order whatsoever, here are the top-rated saws for your reading pleasure:
WEN 3921 16-inch Two-Direction Variable Speed Scroll Saw & SKIL 80181 Scroll Saw Blade Set, 18 Piece
The WEN 3920, gives you creative control over your designs, and its variable speed allows for versatility. It offers users the ability to change their cut direction and can cut in two different directions – that is versatility!
The blade holder of the 3920 accepts both pinned and pinless blades. If you wish to use a pinned blade, pop the pin out of the front holder and rotate the blade 90 degrees. With that maneuver, your cuts are no longer by the 16-inch throat of the machine. Furthermore, the pinless blade holder holds the blade securely preventing it from jumping out during use.
The 3920 has a variable speed of between 550 and 1,600 strokes per minute. You can control the speed by a speed knob at the front of the machine. Equipped with an easily accessible tension-release switch, you can change the blade of the 3920 quickly. Its unique air pump clears sawdust from the working area during operation to aid accuracy.
Backed up by a 2-year warranty, the WEN 3920 will serve you for a long time.
- Variable Speed: With the simple tweak of a knob, you can speed up this machine. The 550 to 1,600 strokes per minute range makes it ideal for working with diverse materials.
- Cast Iron Base: The sturdy cast iron base keeps the machine steady when running thereby limiting its vibration.
- LED Work light: The machine comes with a flexible LED worm work light which aids illumination of the work area. You can adjust and move the light to any position to lighten up workpieces for improved accuracy.
- Pinless or Pinned Blade: the 3920 can use both types of blades and whichever one you choose the machine will work with it. It comes with one 5-inch pinless blade and two 5-inch pinned blades. It also comes with adapters for both types of blade usage.
- Worktable: The 16-by-11-inch worktable of this machine is spacious enough for your work size. It can tilt up to 45 degrees left.
- Blade Storage: The machine comes with extra blades for continuity of work for blade change when needed at any time.
- Air Pump: The 3920 comes with an adjustable air pump that clears sawdust from the blade’s path for visibility of the cutting lines or marking.
- Dust Port: A 1-1/2-inch dust port supports the air pump.
- Hold Down Clamp: The machine comes with a foot-lock clamp that keeps it steady when running. During operation, the device shakes and slides from side to side. The foot-lock when engaged holds the machine in position thereby preventing the workpieces from unwanted movement.
- Hex Wrenches: It comes with hex wrenches for maintenance purposes.
- Warranty: The 3920 comes backed by a two-year warranty. Above that WEN boasts of a nationwide of skilled service technicians and a friendly customer helpline.
Dewalt DW788 1.3 Amp 20-Inch Variable Speed Scroll Saw
The Dewalt DW788 comes with a tool-free clamp for smooth and swift blade change. It works quietly and effortlessly for accuracy. Features such as power button saw adjustments, dust blower, electronic variable speed, blade-tensioning lever, etc. all positioned on the front upper arm for easy accessibility. The spacious cast-iron table of the DW788 slants both left and right giving adequate material support.
It comes with a double parallel-link arm designed to reduce vibration and noise, needed for perfect and precise cuts. The arm construction aids better inside threading work. The arm of the DW788 pivots from the back of the saw to the front, and at the front, it lifts for easy threading. Not only that, the arm design keeps the blade perpendicular to the workpiece.
- Variable Speed: The DEWALT DW 788 comes with a variable speed ranging from 400 to 1,750 strokes per minute for application-specific performance.
- Cast Iron Base: The DW 788 comes with an oversized cast-iron table for perfect material support.
- Worktable: The 16-by-23-3/4-inch worktable of this machine can bevel up to 45 degrees left and right.
- Tool-free Blade Clamps: the DW 788 comes with stylish tool-free blade clamps that aid fast blade change.
- Double Parallel-Link Arm: the arm makes it possible for the machine to work with reduced vibration and noise, which is excellent for extremely accurate cuts.
- Special Arm Design: The arm of the machine keeps the blade perpendicular to the work area. Also, it prevents over or undercutting. The arm lifts afford the blade the ability to cut through the material for inside cuts.
- User-Friendly and Convenience: Purposely designed with the user in mind, the DEWALT DW 788, has all its essential features prominently located. The power switch, tool-free blade clamps, blade-tensioning lever, and others are all strategically placed on the front arm of the machine for easy access.
- Flexible dust blower: It comes with an adjustable dust blower that gets rid of sawdust for improved visibility of the working surface.
- Additional Accessories: The machine comes with hex wrenches and extra blades.
- Warranty: The DW 788 comes with a three-year limited warranty, one-year free service, and a 90-day money-back guarantee.
Hegner 18” Variable Speed Scroll Saw
The compact and reliable Hegner 18” Scroll saw, cuts almost any material and thus making a wide variety of projects. The machine is quiet, accurate, and flexible and comes with a massive 7-year manufacturer’s warranty against defects. The device cuts with smooth edges that do not need sanding. It comes equipped with long-lasting blades, superb cutting control, seamless, and quiet operation.
The Hegner is a standard device that can survive years of projects. The machine affords effortless blade installation and change. The final products of this device come out perfect with smooth edges that do not need sandpaper smoothing.
- Variable Speed: It comes with an electronic variable speed induction motor
- Blade Tensioning System: It comes with a double quick-lock tensioning system for speed and a firm grip of the blade.
- Sawdust Management System: This new sawdust management system of the Hegner 18-V offers users sawdust remover options. You have the choice of either blowing away sawdust or sucking it into a separate dust collection device. A third option exists of the combination of the first two options.
- Warranty: The Hegner 18-V comes with a seven-year Manufacturer’s warranty, which covers the machine from all defects.
General International 21-Inch Scroll Saw with Stand
The General International with stand comes with a tilting head, which moves the blade 45 degrees both the left and right. The General International is a user-friendly machine that has enough table space for your entire tasks. The device comes with an onboard dust blower that keeps the cut line clean for visibility and accuracy during operation.
- Variable Speed: It can run from 400 to 1550 strokes per minute.
- Speed Controller: The General Int’l comes with an electronic speed controller fitted at the front of the machine.
- Worktable: The worktable stands at 13-1/2 x 23-1/2-inch table surface making enough room for creative work.
- Swift-Blade Change: The machine has a quick-blade change feature with finger-operated blade clamps. Changing the blade does not require any tools.
- Blade Guard: Because accidents are inevitable, hence this device comes with upper and lower blade guard assemblies that prevent accidental hand contact with the blade.
- Switch Protection Device: At times, one can accidentally touch the power button. To guard against such unintentional start-up; this machine comes with a switch protection device.
- Dust Blower: It comes with an onboard dust blower to keep the work surface clean.
- Blade Storage: This machine comes with blade storage space under its base.
- Dust Collector: The machine comes with a dust collector hook-up kit for direct dust removal.
Dremel MS20-01 Moto-Saw Variable Speed Compact Scroll Saw Kit
The Dremel MS20-01 proffers a compact and easy solution for making detailed cuts on diverse materials. It can cut wood, plastic, laminates, and metal. Concerning storage, you can easily store, set up, and use the MS20-01. It comes with a tool-free blade mechanism for quick blade change.
Although this scroll saw functions as a stationary tool, you can easily remove it from its base. It can be moved to become portable motorized coping saw.
- Variable Speed: It can run from 400 to 1550 strokes per minute.
- Auto-Tensioning Feature: The MS20-01 comes with an Auto-Tensioning quick-change mechanism, which aids seamless accessory change. It also affords optimal tensioning.
- Variable-Speed Control: Speed without control equals error, because of this, the MS20-01 has a variable-speed control for optimal cutting on various materials.
- Fast-Clamp Base: The fast-clamp base makes the machine attachable to various support platforms, e.g., tables, benches, desks, etc.
- Detachable Coping Function: The detachable function transforms the saw to a portable motorized coping saw (for handheld use). With this function, you can remove the machine from its base to the workpiece itself.
- Dust Port Adapter: the machine comes with a dust port adapter that maintains a clean and sawdust-free work surface.
- Warranty: It comes with a two-year warranty.
How to Pick the Right Scroll Saw
There are varieties of models and brands of scroll saws and picking the right scroll saw is imperative. Choosing the right one entails knowing the significant features is the principal thing. These features will help make your experience with the tool a worthwhile one.
Here the features to consider when picking the right scroll saw:
The power button controls the machine; hence, it must be easily accessible because the switch is vital in emergencies. Therefore, choose a device with a well-located power switch.
The Work Table
To start with, you need a good table on which you can work comfortably. Your kind of work determines the size of the table you will require. The table should be smooth and made from durable materials to last long, e.g., cast iron and aluminum materials.
Scroll saw blades tilt to the left, right or both ways. The tilt angle must be perfect angle else; it will not be able to get accurate cuts. Check the accuracy of the tilt before making your final decision.
What does throat mean? Throat refers to the space between the blade cutting edge and the mounting point. The throat size determines the size of the workpiece that the scroll saw can handle. Note that all saws can handle a piece two times their sizes. For the non-professional person, a throat capacity of 16″ is recommended.
There are two types of scroll saw blades which include:
- Pinned or pin-ended blades: appear thicker and broader than the other kind. Designed for cutting thick cuts of wood, they cannot handle intricate, inside cutting because they cannot fit through a small drilled hole.
- Pinless blades: allow for finer detailed and precise cuttings. This widely available standard blade gives better cutting options.
Tightening and loosing of blades is an essential feature of a scroll saw. To make this possible, it comes with unique elements, e.g., levers, knobs, and so on. When buying a scroll saw, confirm the position of these features. They should be within reach for easier loosening and tension which happens to be a regular issue when using the equipment.
Dust Collection System
The scroll saw generates much dust, and the collection of this dust is vital. A large number of scroll saws come with a dust disposal system made of blow tubes or compressors. Confirm that the disposal system’s designs will not cause you to be covered in dust while working with the equipment.
Blade Mounting System
Using a scroll saw requires that you change the blade from time to time. The two-blade mounting system includes:
- Tooled blade system: requires the use of tools to change the blade which is not convenient especially when your workload is much.
- Tool-less blade system: does not entail the use of tools for blade change. However, you must be able to fix the blades securely. If you do not attach the blade well, it might slip and cause the replacement of the expensive blade.
Blade Rocker Arm Type
This rocker’s arm gives the blade the up-and-down movement. Costly saws have more than one arm while the low-priced ones have one solid arm. Saws with more arms work better with less vibration. However, no matter the number of arms, the work will still get done.
Stand-Alone or Table-Mounted
There are table-mounted scroll saws and stand-alone ones. The table-mounted saw vibrates more than the stand-alone ones which come with vibration damping effects.
The speed of the saw, measured in strokes per minute, is essential and aids flexibility. Scroll saws come in different speed options. While some come with One-Speed, others come with Two-speed, yet again some other ones come with variable speed.
It is ideal to buy a saw with variable speed because different materials need a different speed of the scroll. Not just that, variable speed saws are suitable for beginners and professionals as a restriction to a single speed does not exist. While two-speed is good, variable speed is better since it gives more control options.
- High-Speed ranges from 1,200 to 1,800 strokes per minute. Experts recommend this speed for sawing hardwood.
- Low-Speed range from 400 to 800 strokes per minute. Experts recommend this speed for sawing softer wood.
Different scroll saws come with various accessories. However, while some accessories are useful others are mere stunts to influence your buying decision. Examples of accessories include magnifiers, lamps, foot-activated power switches, etc.
For instance, the foot-activated switch allows the user to use the machine hand-free. There are a lot of accessories on the market you can buy.
Why Use a Scroll Saw?
A scroll saw in your workshop will assist you with the creation of a whole lot of things. Once you arm yourself with your saw and your creativity, you are on your way to a creative adventure. You can use a scroll saw to create the following:
- Curves: you can use this tool to create curves on wood or other material, which can be quite challenging without it.
- Dovetail joints: When you want to join two pieces of wood together, you create projections at the end of both pieces (mortises and tenons similar to joints and sockets) to interlock each other. We refer to those interlocking joints as dovetail joints. Scroll saws create dovetails easily.
- Angles: With the aid of this saw, you can create all manners of angles in wood or other materials.
- Crafting intricate designs: You can create a complete image or complex designs using this saw.
- Lettered signs: Do you need signs indicating your house number or office name? With this tool, you can create one and lots more.
- Portraits: This tool is perfect for creating pictures. It will capture the details of the portrait
- Intarsia: When you fit together different wood species to create a mosaic-like picture or pattern with an illusion of depth; we refer to such woodwork as intarsia. An example of such is a wooden chessboard made with brown and white wood.
- Marquetry: These unique designs made on furniture, freestanding pictorial panels, doors, etc. came up using the scroll saw. Marquetry has to do with applying veneer to a structure to form decorative patterns, designs, or pictures.
Others include Mini furniture, Clock bases, wooden portraits, mosaic floors, bone crafts, and so on.
How to Use Scroll Saws Effectively
The Scroll saw is a handy tool that can handle many jobs. It is not out of place to consider how to use the scroll saw effectively. When you want to undertake inside cuts, the scroll saw will do the job. If you use the saw effectively, you will produce excellent finished works.
The few steps below will teach you how:
Prepare the wood or material
The first thing to do is to prepare the wood ahead for cutting. Draw the pattern you want to cut with a pencil on the material in precise detail. There are different types of wood to ensure your blade fits into the wood of your choice. The details in your design determine the teeth of your saw.
Turn on the machine
Turning on any machine is the first step in using it. The scroll saw is no exception, so turn it on after setting the wood in place.
Set the speed
If your machine is a variable speed type, then you can adjust the speed. The speed you choose depends on the kind of material. High speed works best for hardwood while low speed works best for softwood.
After the setting, you can now settle for the business of the day – cutting. When you are cutting, experts recommended that you use only dry wood. Also, carefully check the grain patterns of the wood and pair wood with similar designs. When cutting, you must make sure that the pattern line is visible.
Guiding the wood
With both your hands, guide the wood gently but securely through the blade. Aim for perfection, but if you are a beginner do not be too hard on yourself. While working, do keep your fingers at a safe distance from the blade.
Sandpaper for the rough edges
After your woodwork, there might be some rough edges; the solution is to use fine-grit sandpaper to even them out. Check the work for rough or sharp edges and even them out with your sandpaper to ensure a high-quality finished job.
Can You Use A Scroll Saw to Cut Metal?
You can use a scroll saw to cut metal but with a particular kind of saw – a metal cutting saw. You cannot use a woodcutting saw to cut metal because the teeth would be damaged. A metal cutting saw boasts hardened teeth that cut through metals easily. It comes in different sizes from fine jeweler blades to heavy-duty ones.
How to cut metal with a scroll saw
To cut metal with a scroll saw what you need first is to change the blade to a metal cutting blade. Once you have the blade changed, the next step is to apply lubricant to the blade. The oil will reduce friction and make it easy to cut the metal. However, do note that not all will require lubricant.
Soft metals like gold, copper, or brass cut easily without lubricant. However, metals like aluminum need lubricant to cut.
How to Cut Harder Metals
Metals vary in their hardness. Experts advised that you should not cut harder metals with your scroll saw. However, cutting harder metals can be very difficult. If you wish to cut harder metals with your scroll saw, you must follow certain precautions.
- Check the thickness of the metal and get the right saw
- Lubricate your blade correctly before starting
- Set your machine for low speed
- Feed the metal through the blade slowly and carefully
It would interest you to know that cutting metals can be messy at times. One sure way to make it less messy is to place the metal between two pieces of plywood. Putting the metal between plywood will protect the metal from forming burr (or rough edges) on the bottom. It also prevents tiny metal debris from flying around.
Care and Maintenance
Care and maintenance will determine if your machine lasts a more prolonged period or not. If you take care of your machine, it will serve you well and long. Maintain your device in a suitable serviceable condition, and this begins with the routine check before use, cleaning, oiling, and so on. It involves servicing the machine, changing worn-out parts, etc.
Maintenance involves continual routine repair to keep your machine in good working order. The following are care and maintenance tips you need to implore to keep your device up and running:
Care and Maintenance Tips – Before Use
The following tips will prolong your scroll saw if done regularly before putting the machine to use:
- Before you put it on the machine make sure, you inspect it properly. Check the blade for broken teeth or cracks.
- Inspect all bolts, especially mounting ones. Confirm that the bolts are not loose. If they are, then tighten loose ones with a spanner or wrench.
- Inspect the power switch to detect any defect arising
- Test the sound of the power tool by putting it on for a few minutes. If the sound is not palatable, then there must be a problem. Also, check the vibration to detect any disorderly vibration.
- Power cords and plugs are vital. Check them properly. Worn-out, broken, or exposed wires lead to electric shock or fire incidents.
- Dust the machine to prevent any accumulated dust from where you kept it after use.
Care and Maintenance Tips – After Use
Follow these maintenance tips religiously after using your scroll saw each day:
- Unplug the machine after use and before embarking on any routine cleaning or maintenance or repairs. Disconnecting the device from the mains will avoid fatal injury when cleaning. Also, never leave the scroll saw connected when not in use.
- Use a soft cloth, swab, or brush to clean the machine after each use.
- Use a vacuum cleaner to suck out sawdust and other debris from all vents and slots of your device
- Add mild detergent into a clean bowl of water and with the aid of a soft cloth clean the housing of the machine
- Dust the scroll table to rid it of sawdust
This section will not be complete without mentioning safety tips that will protect you from injury when using the power tool. The tips include:
- Keep children away from the saw always
- Keep hands and fingers safe from the path of the cutting saw
- Keep the work area clean and well lit
- Never allow untrained staff or children to handle saws alone without supervision
- Never use the machine under wet or enclosed locations or locations you store flammable liquids.
- Operate your machine only when you are most agile and not when you are tired
- Put on appropriate clothing when operating the machine
- Use a grounded extension cord where the main socket is not close enough
- Wear safety goggles, respirator, and earplugs when using the scroll saw because sawdust causes health hazards
- When not using your device, put it off
With the right features checked, you would be able to acquire one of the top-rated scroll saws money can buy. Once you have the adequate knowledge needed, your job of getting the one you want within your budget gets half done. We are confident that this post has done justice to the subject under discussion.
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