Scroll Saws

When I look over the new scroll saws memories always come back to me of the first one that I had. My father made it for me, he built it around an old Briggs and Straton engine, took the head off, drilled a hole in the piston and put a stubby shaft with a slot on it to hold the blade. The table was a disk from a grain seed drill, the top spring to tension the blade was from an old mattress. I got hours of pleasure from this tool, it was what got me started in woodworking.

In those days I knew nothing of variable speeds, sawdust blowers, hold downs, C - arms, spiral or reverse blades.

Scroll sawing is an easy hobby to get started in, the saw runs quiet enough so as not to disturb the neighbours, it does not require a large investment in equipment nor a large work space. Best of all it is a relatively safe hobby, injuries may happen but are minor compared to what can happen with other woodworking equipment.

Choose a saw that feels comfortable to you, many hours will be spent in front of it. The table should be large enough to support the material both in front of the blade and behind it, the controls should be convient to reach and easy to set. The blower should be powerful enough to remove sawdust even when set far enough above the material so you can clearly see the cutting lines. The saw should run smoothly, if it has excess vibration your hands will become fatigued very quickly.



Models are available in the $100 range.

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Original 1860 Patent
10 X 13 Print

Boy's World All About...

Fretsawing

An introduction to the hobby of fretsawing describes tools you will need to get started, how to use them as well as the selection of wood to use. Simple patterns with instructions to apply them are included. Learn how to make plaques, napkin holders, door stops, trivets and cutting boards, featuring an exciting Dachshund CD Holder project.

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Blades

Scroll Blades
Plain tooth are recommended for cutting thicker and harder material

scroll saw blade

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Spiral Blades
Blades are twisted so teeth point outward in every direction. A 360 capacity allows cutting in any direction without turning your work.

spiral

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Crown Tooth
Similar to reverse tooth, blade may be turned over for new set of fresh teeth.

crown tooth blade
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Reverse Blades
Teeth are pointed in both directions to give splinter free cutting on the top and bottom.
reversibkle scroll saw blade
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Scroll Saw History

Scroll saw patent drawing

Many of the early scrollsaws clamped onto a table or bench.

They were often powered by a cranking or treadle mechanism, the one shown on the left attaches to a treadle sewing machine.

   
scroll saw patent

The machine shown on the left is a two part machine, the base sits on the floor and the head attaches to the ceiling.

This design provides an unlimited capacity as there is no arm to support the head.

 

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Scroll Saw Patterns

There are many scroll sawing patterns available but if you want something totally unique then you will have to make your own.

We have put together a collection of clipart, some can be used as is, others will have to be modified somewhat.

One method is to cut the design out, the solid black areas, and retain the base so as to create a silhouette as is shown in this cow head clipart.


Clipart available here

This is probably the easiest method to start with as it only involves removing individual parts from the base.

Another alternative is to cut around the design and remove parts of the base and from inside the design.


Pattern and instructions from Boy's World All About Fretsawing

With this method care has to be taken to keep all parts of the design attached.

Wear safety glasses, chips or a broken blade can fly up toward you.

Use the hold-down that is supplied with the saw, it is tempting to remove it but it is there for a reason.

Don't wear clothing with loose fitting cuffs or baggy sleeves.

If you have long hair tie it back in a pony tail.

Wear a dust mask or if you are doing a lot of work consider a dust collection system.

Keep the floor clean, have a can beside the saw that you can toss scraps into rather than onto the floor.

Never guide the material with your fingers in the path of the blade, always keep them to the side.

Use hearing protection, especially during long noisy sessions.

Let the saw do the work, don't force the material when working with thicker stock.

Switch machine off, don't leave it running unattended.


Bandsaw patent
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