One of the lesser known electric saws available for DIYers is the jigsaw. The circular saw is a table machine that cuts by using a very thin blade that allows very small and very high precision cuts. It can be made of different materials, such as wood, plastic and metal. Because the blade is so thin, the jigsaw tends to cut very cleanly, which means there is generally no need to polish the cutting surface of the workpiece.
Scroll saws are also useful for making internal cuts. This is because they can be set up in advance to position the blades for internal cutting. The jigsaw blades can be removed, passed through a pilot hole in the workpiece, and reattached before starting the cut from the most ideal position.
Top Best Scroll Saws list 2021
Finding the best was next up on our list of challenges. After several hours of testing, we decided on a few models that we think are suited.
A Comparison of our Favorite Best Scroll Saws
- Unique side panel flips open for easy-access blade changes
- Variable speed goes from 550 to 1600 strokes per minute
- Spacious 16-by-10.8-inch table bevels up to 45 degrees for angled cuts
- Cuts wood up to 2 inches thick with a 16-inch throat depth
- Low vibrations for optimum cutting results and comfortable work this fretsaw has a transparent protective device and a special safety on/off switch
- Compatiblity : Compatible with both Pinned & Pinless Blades
- Beveling Table : The spacious table features a 16-inch depth for cutting large workpieces and bevels up to 45 degrees to the left.
- Variable Speed : Variable speed can be adjusted anywhere from 550 to 1600 strokes per minute with the simple turn of a knob
- Compatiblity : Compatible with both Pinned & Pinless Blades
- Warranty : 6 Months Warranty against Manufacturing defect
- Khambati Jewellery Tools- SWISSO - Spiral Wax Black Carbon Steel Scroll Saw Blades Jewelry Wood Cutting Sawing Tool
- Khambati Jewellery Tools- SWISSO - Spiral saw blades cut in any direction. For use in all kinds of soft and hard wood, carbon steel, copper and aluminum metal, also can saw cutting plastics, Acrylic board and so on, just different speed.
- Khambati Jewellery Tools- SWISSO - 130mm pull flowers woodwork wire wood carving saw blade, spiral scroll U shape hacksaw fits for cutting metal, wood and plastic.
- Khambati Jewellery Tools- SWISSO - Blade Type: Scroll Saw Blades Blade Material: Alloy Steel Number of Pcs: 12 Pcs Scope of application Wood, plastic, aluminum, soft metal, etc.
- Khambati Jewellery Tools- SWISSO - Caution: the saw blade should be taut, or it will break easily!
- Spiral Wax Black Carbon Steel Scroll Saw Blades Jewelry Wood Cutting Sawing Tool
- Spiral Wax Black Carbon Steel Scroll Saw Blades Jewelry
- ONLY 6 WAX SAW BLADES
- Continuous rating Input : 50W
- CapacityThickness of cut : 50mm (2") , Throat : 406mm (16")
- Length of stroke 18mm (11/16")
- Strokes per min.400-1,600 spm
- Overall length 600mm (23-5/8")
- Makita Scroll Saw Blade for SJ401 Set of 5 pcs, A-31108
- packaging Includes : 1 x 12 Pcs Scroll Saw Blades.
- Fast cutting Sharp tooth resists loading and improves cutting speeds.
- Forged from high carbon steel, through fine process, with high hardness and strength.
- Curve sawing is very relaxed, the blade is not stuck.
- The thicker item you want to cut then saw blade should be usefull. It is suggested that it is suitable for wood sawing and can be applied on sawing plastic.
- 12pcs 5 Inch 125mm Pinned Scroll Saw Blades
- Color: Black
- Length: 125mm
- Width: 2.8mm
- Package Included: 12pcs Pinned Scroll Saw Blades.
What is a Scroll Saw?
Scroll saws are basically big jig saws mounted in one position. The blade moves up and down, allowing you to cut through wood easily and securely to create intricate cuts that simply aren’t possible with many types of saw.
For most home carpenters a jig saw is a good choice. They still allow for advanced cuts but you’re moving a mobile saw through the workpiece. With a scroll saw, you’re moving the piece through the blade.
In addition, scroll saws have finer blades than most saws. They allow for intricate cuts with little touch up afterwards if you’re a skilled operator and even those who are still developing will find they’re an excellent way to cut curves, loops, and other patterns into wood.
Indeed, except for wood routers a scroll saw is probably the basic component of a workshop for those who are interested in artistic word working rather than simply utilitarian cuts.
How We Picked the Best Scroll Saws
Rather than going through professional carpenters this time around, we decided it would be best to start with skilled hobbyists. Scroll saws may not be much use on most job sites but for those who are looking to enhance their artistry they’re an excellent option.
Finally, we came down to a few qualities which we felt made the saws stick out from the pack.
Like any other type of blade, what you’re doing will determine the TPI and length needed.
With scroll saws there are two different types of blade.
Plain-end blades are thinner and are held in place by clamps at both the top and the bottom. They have a flat profile and take up minimal space when you’re threading them through holes to create more intricate projects.
Pin-end blades have a small pin that sets into hooks on the top and bottom of the saw itself. While they’re quicker and easier to change they also aren’t as suitable for those who are doing very intricate work. We recommend staying away from them, unless you’re planning on only making exterior cuts.
We tried to avoid saws which do both. It’s better to go for a single blade type and we strongly recommend sticking with plain end blades for the most part. They’re harder to switch in most cases, but they’re also… well, they’re just plain better for the intricate work a scroll saw is meant for.
Due to the design of a scroll saw, the amount of space behind the blade can become an issue with larger projects. You’ll hit the arm and then the wood won’t be able to go anywhere. With the right amount of space it’s not something you’ll need to worry about.
We found 18” was a good capacity, with anything bigger making the saw a bit unwieldy for many home workshops. For specialized applications where it’s needed you can use larger saws.
There are a few different types of arms available on scroll saws.
The usual find is the parallel arm which is still a gold standard. It’s also the safest type to run, the upper arm will swing free if a blade breaks and cease the motion of the machine. C-type arms produce a curved cut along the range of the blade’s path but if the blade breaks the top half of the saw will continue to run.
The other types are minor innovations over the parallel arms, including the double parallel arm.
Rigid arms are rarely used at all, the most recent comeback of this type of saw has already been discontinued. Some extremely high-end, custom saws use an orbital motion which provides a smoother cut but most people will be fine with parallel arms and that’s what we recommend for the hobbyist.
This was hotly debated among our team. The general consensus was that single speeds are pretty lame, not allowing you to modify the speed for different types of wood.
High-low speed options are a much better choice if you’re on a tight budget and seemed to allow us to cut through most things without having to put out too much effort. True variable speed is desirable for the more advanced hobbyist, particularly if they enjoy working with different types of woods.
Blade Lock Mechanism
There are several different mechanisms around, but our favorite all allowed us to change blades without having to break out the tools.
This is more important than you might realize, as even if you use the same blade through a whole project you’ll likely have to remove and reposition the blade frequently. Having to break out the tools and spend three minutes moving the same blade into a pilot hole is aggravating at best.
A quick release for a plain-end blade is ideal but not available on many of the cheaper saws on the market.
While it’s not important for everyone, many of the woodworkers we talked to recommended them. Many scroll saws will tilt up to 45 degrees in at least one direction. Being able to add another dimension to your cuts is essential for some projects.
The best tilt both ways, but it’s not always possible to find one which holds well at the prices most consumers expect.
Expect to pay at least a hundred dollars for a cheap saw, around three hundred for one suitable for more intricate hobbyist work, and over a thousand for something meant to be used in a shop at least forty hours per week.
They’re not the most expensive saws around but they’re definitely not cheap either. The more you spend, the better off you’ll be with diminishing returns really only suitable for professionals starting at about the five hundred dollar range.
Other Things to Look For
You’ll notice we didn’t make a big deal out of cutting capacity (which maxes out at around 2” for this kind of saw) or power like we normally do. That’s due to the nature of the work that scroll saws are used for where too much power isn’t going to do you any good.
Instead, look for accessories like foot pedals, lights, and dust collection systems.
Minimizing vibration is key. The biggest difference we found, apart from some basic functions, between a good scroll saw and a great one is in the vibration. Since intricate work is the name of the game with this kind of saw the less vibration you have the better off you’ll be.
We also didn’t move the saws much, and we feel like most scroll saws are destined to be in one place for most of their lives. For those who take them on-the-go, or just don’t have the space to keep the saw constantly on the bench, the weight of the saw is also something to look at.
Optimize Your Woodworking Projects with a Scroll Saw
A scroll saw is specifically designed to optimize your woodworking projects.
This functional machine offers you the cutting control of a jigsaw and the solid workspace support of a table saw.
But a scroll saw’s fantastic design features do not stop there. Its pivoting table provides you with unlimited flexibility for your chosen workpiece and an ultra-fine reciprocating blade performs delicate cuts that no other saw can deliver.
How to Choose the Best Scroll Saw
The size of a scroll saw relates to its throat depth which is the distance between the rear frame and the blade.
A 16-inch scroll saw such as the Excalibur Scroll Saw provides you with a generous cutting capacity for most everyday woodworking tasks.
If you have larger projects like finishing work to do, you will appreciate the larger throat size of the 20-inch Dewalt DW788 or the 22-inch Jet Scroll Saw.
As a scroll saw can be used with softwood and hardwood, you have to make sure that you select the right speed for the type of wood you will be cutting. Faster speeds are more suitable for hardwoods, while slower speeds are best used with softwood.
Scroll saws should give you a wide variable speed range called speed per minute (SPM). The wider the speed range, the more control you will have over your workpiece.
Power saws are notorious for causing annoying vibrations and noise, especially at high speeds. The work-table should have a heavy-duty, sturdy design that minimizes vibrations and noise.
You also need to be aware that if you are cutting through thicker wood, there will still be some vibrations. If you cut slowly, this will help to minimize the vibrations as well.
Blade Type (pinned or pinless)
There are two main types of blades that are synonymous with scroll saws: pinned and pinless/plain-edge blades. Additional blades may include skip tooth blades, spiral blades, and two-way tooth blades, which can be used for creating special decorative patterns and different materials like laminates or metal.
Pinned blades are faster and easier to change but as they are wider and thicker, they may not be well suited for making ultra-fine decorative patterns.
Pinless blades are the most popular type of scroll blades. They are thinner than pinned blades and perform better at making detailed cuts, but can take more time to remove.
Some scroll saws like the Shop Fox accept both pinned and pinless blades.
Most scroll saws have a tilting table that can tilt 30, 40 or 45° left or right, which gives you the unlimited flexibility to create perfectly precise beveled cuts.
Depth of Cut
The depth of cut is extremely important for cutting thick wood or hardwood. Fortunately, most scroll saws have a maximum cut depth of 2-inches which is suitable for a range of materials like oak, pine, or maple.
What to Know Before You Buy a Scroll
Scroll saws come in different sizes — usually making 16- or 20-inch cuts — to accommodate woodworkers’ most common needs. This will often be the biggest determining factor in the price of the saw with most falling along the range of $100 to $500.
Once you’ve determined your budget, you’ll also want to consider:
- What type of material you plan to cut.
- How thick that material is.
- Which saw speeds can handle your needs.
- If you’ll need the saw to tilt to make angled cuts.
- If the saw takes pin-end or plain blades.
How We Chose the Best Scroll Saws
We looked into the best features of a high-quality and efficient scroll saw to compile this list to fit woodworkers’ varied needs. We took into consideration a wealth of factors including, but not limited to: level of vibration, ease of blade changes and ability to make intricate cuts. Finally, we also dug deep into reviews made by actual users to get a better idea of how these tools function in real-life scenarios and stand up to the test of time.
Which type of scroll saw is considered the best?
There are several scroll saw manufacturing companies. And, all these manufacturing companies manufacture scroll saws with various features and specifications. According to our recommendation, the best type of scroll saw will be that comes with pinless blades. We are not recommending pin blades because the broader and thicker blades are not very suitable for inside cutting. Also, pin blades don’t fit across a small-drilled hole. So, try to choose a scroll saw with pinless blades.
What types of wood can I use with a scroll saw?
You can use both softwoods and hardwoods in a scroll saw.
For softwoods, you can’t use all softwoods. We recommend avoiding pine for any type of fine work. You can use plywoods and cedar for the scroll saw. We suggest Poplar will be the best softwood that you can use with a scroll saw. Poplar is ideal as it has more fine grain than pine. So, with a scroll saw you can cut at a consistent speed without changing the blades.
You also can cut plywood or solid wood as plywood has sufficient tensile strength and it is very stable as well. But if you are using inexpensive plywood like fir and luan you have to be careful enough. Also, keep in mind that the glue layers in plywood may dull the blade of your scroll saw.
Now, come to the hardwoods. Ash and Maple are the most suitable hardware for keeping the proper shape of a pattern. For beginners, both of these two hardwoods are not that suitable as they need some skills to work with these. Apart from these two hardwoods, red oak, cherry, and walnut are also very suitable. Overall, we recommend using oak for any scroll saw art.
How can I prevent the blade clamp of a scroll saw from slipping?
Sometimes you may face a problem with the blade slipping from the blade clamp. You will face this problem mostly with the upper blade, and it happens due to two reasons. Firstly, when the inner portion gets very smooth, the blade can slip from the blade clamp. Secondly, it happens if you apply little oil on the surfaces.
Still, manufacturers apply a small amount of oil on new blades to keep them away from getting rusty. And, when the oil gets on the clamp. The clamp becomes slippery. To deal with this issue, you can take sandpaper and use it inside the clamp; the sandpaper will make the blade clamp a little rough. Or you can use alcohol to clean the oil from the blade clamp.
How can I prevent the burning issue?
To eliminate burning you can use 2 inches clear package tape. People usually face the burning issue with some particular woods with oil like Purple Heart. We recommend you first to put the pattern on your choice of wood and then apply tape over the pattern. Some people also put the tape on the wood first. So, it will be your choice of how you would like to do it. Mostly, people use the package tape. If you apply tape on the wood, the tape will lubricate the blade as it has a chemical like silicone. Also, keep in mind that if there will be no chemical on the top of the tape, you can’t ever un-roll the tape.
Should I go for the scroll saw with a foot switch?
As per our opinion, foot switches are beneficial for a scroll saw. The foot switch is useful in such condition when a blade breaks or any other emergency occurs. If these happen, you don’t have to search for the on and off switch if you will have a foot switch. Moreover, some switches are not dustproof; so these switches may quit after some time. But, if you have a foot switch, you won’t have to worry about all these issues. Many scroll saws come with foot switches. However, these scroll saws are a bit expensive.
What safety recommendations should I follow while using a scroll saw?
We consider scroll saws to be the safest woodworking tool. It is suitable for beginner woodworking students as well. As this tool cuts slowly, you don’t have to worry. Still, if you get stuck ever, you can shut the power off and restart the process. But the problem is all power tools can be dangerous. So there are some safety precautions that you need to follow.
You need to be careful while handling a scroll saw. To prevent any hazardous accident, you should be alert always while operating any machine. Always remember to put on safety goggles and safety masks before starting work with a scroll saw. Also, make sure that the workspace has adequate ventilation.
Make sure to keep your fingers at a safe distance from the cutting blade. Also, keep your hands away from the reciprocating arm of the scroll saw as it can be dangerous for your fingers; It can break your fingers. Presently, most of the scroll saws come with a spring in the arm. This spring prevents the broken top from coming out if a blade breaks. So before purchasing, make sure to choose a scroll saw that comes with this spring.
Also, there are some more precautions that you need to follow such as;
- Use a workpiece guard before starting any cutting
- Make sure to wear safety glasses
- Don’t leave the loose cord laying around
- Use a good quality mask that will prevent the sawdust
- Take short breaks during the work hours to avoid repetitive motion injury