Scroll Sawing Hints and Tips

Here are a few hints and tips that Robin as come up with while building her skills as fretworker. If you have a tip or hint you would like to share or ask Robin a question, just drop Robin a note.

Cover your table top with Formica to provide a slick surface. It will make it easier to turn your work and you will no longer have "table residue" on the back of your work. We use double sided tape to hold the Formica to the table to allow for semi-easy removal.

Never leave your saw under tension. For most saw this will fatigue the arms causing increased vibration in the blade and poor cuts. Let it the saw "rest" for a few hours and it will be back to cutting like it's old self.

To perfectly square your blade to the table, attempt to slice a piece out of the middle of a test piece of wood, of the same thickness or thicker than the work you plan to cut. Do this by cutting about a half an inch into the wood, turning around and getting as close as you can to the original cut as to leave a thin piece behind. Sometimes it hard to keep track of the piece you cut out. Examine the piece you cut out and determine which side is thicker, top or bottom. Adjust the tilt of the table and slice out a new piece. If you make your turn clock wise and the bottom is the thinner, then the left side of the will have to be lowered. If it's the thicker side then, it will have to be raised. If you can cut a paper thin slice from the wood, you can be assured that your blade is square to the table. If you are doing stacks, the bottom piece will be identical may have a front to back alignment problem. Otherwise you can be assured the bottom will be identical to the top. If you're doing stacks then the bottom piece will be the same as the top piece.

When making small tight cut, always cut the inside of the piece first, an example is the curly Q's on "Flight of Fancy".

Scroll saw blades are made in a way that make the teeth to have a set to the right. This causes the blade to cut more aggressively from the right, more importantly you will not be able to cut a straight line by going straight into the blade. You will have to turn your work slightly counter clock wise to compensate for the blade.

Rule of thumb for blades, you can use most any blade to cut most anything. Yes each blade is best suited for a particular task but there may come an occasion where you'll need to use a smaller blade to make that small cut, it normally will do the job but won't last near as long. Robin routinely uses #2 and 2.0 to make her smaller cuts in 1/2 inch Ash, but uses #5 reverse for her main cutting blade.

Something that will shorten your blade life is side pressure. When cutting sharp curves most people will have a tendency to push their work in the direction they are cutting. This not only stresses the blade it also makes it harder to cut, a kind of rebound effect. What you want to learn to do is to move your work around the blade, concentrating on not pushing on sides of the blade.

Add a tip or hint

[FrontPage Save Results Component]

Name:   Email:

Tip/Hint                           (please do no use all capitals)


Hit Counter

Tips provided by visitors to Woodwirtz

Name: Carl Schmidt
Date: 3/2/99

Rounding the back of scroll blade makes making tight turns easier