Follow us on Pinterest
Welcome, Guest! Log In  |  Join Now

Expert advice for scrollsaws

We asked Rick Hutcheson, our scrollsawing expert for the past decade, to pass along some tips for those new to the craft.

Pages in this Story:
Scrollsawing tips

Scrollsawing tips

Lots of woodworkers own a scrollsaw, but Rick Hutcheson goes way beyond that. The first floor of his two-level workshop in Grimes, Iowa, displays a row of newer scrollsaws that he'll readily evaluate for you, feature by feature. And upstairs, along with tables full of finished projects, you'll find a museum's worth of old, even antique, scrollsaws. We asked Rick, our scrollsawing expert for the past decade, to pass along some tips for those new to the craft. For more information, go to his Web site,, or buy his videotape, Rick's Scrollsaw Video: Scrollsaw Basics (item number 1857 at Meisel Hardware Specialties. Call 800-441-9870, or visit Price: $19.95)

Ease into it
  • Cut at slow speeds when you're learning. It's less stressful and more forgiving.
  • Learn how your blades tend to cut. Most will want to drift to your right, due to a burr that's created when they're stamped.
  • When cutting a curve, keep your eyes on a point 1/16" in front of the blade.
  • Strive to stay on the line, but don't worry when you veer off a bit. In most cases, it won't make enough difference to be noticeable.

Continued on page 2:  Stay safe


Comments (8)
glued2 wrote:

Regarding scroll saws, I want to point out that only "special" projects require a machine with a throat capacity larger than 16". So larger machines may be nice for some reasons or other reasons, but it is not like choosing a larger size capacity is going to drastically change what you can do on the scroll saw.

9/18/2014 03:52:07 PM Report Abuse
glued2 wrote:

There are also books on the different areas of scrolling, some with a lot of instructions and patterns, some with mostly patterns. Some books are about methods like fretwork, intarsia, segmentation, boxmaking, vase and bowl making, and more. Others focus on toys or puzzles or cars or holiday patterns, and more.

9/18/2014 03:48:28 PM Report Abuse
glued2 wrote:

I always advise beginners to use their local library system to find books on the different scrolling techniques. Look for one of the "workbooks" that are intended to give scrolling exercises for various skills needed. You end up with a variety of simple projects. A few books are general books about saws and blades and their features and they have chapters that focus on the various types of projects done on scroll saws, in general.

9/18/2014 03:38:52 PM Report Abuse
fasfixit4u wrote:

I've had at least four machines in my time. But I've found that the most high priced machines are not alwasy the best, I've had a few as I said, but the best machine I've ever owned is a old craftsman 16" w/ 2" cut. and trust me I've had the high priced machine. ( my wife still reminds me all the time ) but the best machine is the one you feel good with.

5/13/2010 10:46:17 AM Report Abuse
denis_muras wrote:

What I suggest to people who ask, start with the medium priced saws. A number of my scrollsaw friends and I started with the low-end saws and were frustrated more that hooked. Even a minor upgrade to a better saw and blades changed our scrollsaw session from frustration to enjoyment.

5/13/2010 10:37:54 AM Report Abuse
rodneye wrote:

My advice to beginners is to "TAKE YOUR TIME" !! Start out with an affordable machine, then, if you're hooked, after a while move up to a nicer more precise machine !

2/20/2010 08:57:55 PM Report Abuse
217green wrote:

The advice is great, however, what scroll saws would you look at.

2/20/2010 11:46:38 AM Report Abuse
philmariotti1 wrote:

As a beginner with a scroll saw, any advice is good to have. Thank you.

2/18/2010 04:04:36 PM Report Abuse

Add your comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Register | Log In

Please confirm your comment by answering the question below and clicking "Submit Comment."


Connect With Us
  • Recent Posts
  • Top Posts
See More >