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Scrolling 101

Scrolling TipsScrolling Hints and Tips

General scrolling tips that can save your time and sanity.

Scroll Saw Blade SelectionChoosing a Scroll Saw Blade

With over 90 different sizes and styles it can get confusing.

Scroll Saw Blade SizesSuggested Scroll Saw Blade Sizes

Select the right sized scroll saw blade for the job.

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Scrolling Hints and Tips

scrolling tips

Relax when you cut, don't force the blade. Allow the blade to do the cutting at its capability. If you force the blade it will wander off the line or break. Learn to make quick crisp corners for less burning.

scrolling tips

Proper tension will make the blade cut better and last longer. To loose and the blade will wander, too tight and they break more often.

scrolling tips

At least 2 reverse teeth should be showing above the table on the up stroke, for the reverse teeth to be effective.

scrolling tips

Use lower # blades for thin stock and tight corners.

scrolling tips

Use higher # blades for thicker stock.

scrolling tips

Lubricant sticks will greatly extend the life of your scroll saw blades, by reducing friction and preventing the blade from getting hot and losing its hardness.

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Choosing a Saw Blade

This is a tough question to answer in a 1000 words or less. With over 90 different sizes and styles of blades on the market it can get confusing. I usually tell people it's a good news bad news story.

The bad news is you need them all and the good news is I sell Scroll Saw Blades!!!

Actually most scrollers get by with as few as 4-5 different blades. I have a more scientific approach to choosing my blades, I have 3 sizes - I use a small blade, a big blade and one in between.

Everyone you talk to will have a favourite blade for the projects they do and the thickness and type of material they are working with.

There is no perfect blade for each material and thickness.

As general rule: The thicker the material, the bigger the blade hence the higher the number. The thinner the material the smaller the blade and the lower the number.

The fewer TPI (Teeth Per Inch) the faster the blade will cut and usually the rougher the cut.

If you don't have the size of blade suggested in an article, go one size larger rather than one size smaller.

Skip tooth blades cut the fastest. Regular tooth blades cut the slowest and the double tooth blades are in the middle. Reverse tooth blades give a splinter free bottom cut but cause the wood to hop more. So you have to use more hold down pressure.

See below for some suggestions for various materials, which may help you choose a blade type.

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Suggested Saw Blade Sizes

MATERIAL: 1/16IN -1/8IN. PLYWOOD OR VENEERS:

#2/0 - #1 - Sizes you would consider for this material.

A regular tooth blade would give you the most control. Best for a beginner. An old hand at scrolling could use a Precision Skip style of blade. The double tooth and the Full Reverse would fall in between. A reverse tooth would give a smooth bottom cut.

Or if you stack this material you could go to a bigger blade.

MATERIAL 1/8IN. - 1/4IN.

#1 - #3 - Softer woods and plywood's use the #1, harder woods a #3.

MATERIAL 3/8IN. - 1/2IN.

#3 - #5 - Softer woods and plywood use the #3, harder woods the #5.

I have used a #3 precision skip blades to cut 3/4in. Cedar with good results. They cut slower than a #7 would but you have a finer kerf and a better fit when doing Intarsia for example.

MATERIAL 3/4IN. - 1IN.

#7 - #9 - Softer woods and plywoods the #7. Thicker and hard woods the #9.

A skip tooth #7 will handle 3/4in. hardwoods. A #9 regular tooth will give good control in 3/4in. material. So as you can see size and tooth configuration effects how thick of material a blade will handle.

MATERIAL 1IN. - 1 1/2IN.

#9 - #12

PLASTIC and CORIAN

Plastic - I have found skip tooth blades too aggressive for cutting plastic. I like a double tooth blade for plastic.

#1 - #3 for 1/16 - 3/16in.
#3 - #5 for 1/4 - 3/8in.

Corian - I like the skip tooth blades for Corian.

#3 - #5 for 1/4 - 3/8in.
#5 - #7 for 3/8in. - 3/4in.

METAL

Metal cutting blades are made from a harder material and have more teeth per inch. These blades will cut Brass, copper, aluminum, thin steel and coins.

Very thin metal: #1 - #3
20-24 gauge brass, copper: #3 - #5
Thicker metal up to 1/16in: #7

A #1 is a good blade for scrolling coins. You can also scroll coins with a regular tooth blade, for example. A #2/0 regular tooth blade will scroll coins. The regular tooth blade will break sooner though.

SPIRAL BLADES

These blades will cut any direction. No need to turn the wood just move it in the direction you want to cut. The only blade that will cut wood too large to turn on a scroll saw, like slabs and large burls.

Click here to view the SawBird Scroll Saw Blades >

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