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Expert advice for scrollsaws

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Stay safe

Stay safe

  • Wear safety glasses to guard against flying wood chips or the pieces of a broken blade.
  • Control dust with a nearby dust filter or, better yet, take it right off the table with a collector. Some new models include attachments that accept a shop vacuum hose.
  • Don't wear loose sleeves or any jewelry that could get tangled in the blade. If you have long hair, tie it back. Stock up on these.
  • A small assortment of blades will handle any situation. Rick relies on very thin #2/0, #2, and #5 blades for most of his work, usually in a skip-tooth configuration. The skip-tooth style features a long, flat gullet between the teeth.
  • Baltic birch plywood serves as a great material for most scrollsawing projects. The edges look good, and you won't run into voids, as you do with some plywood.
  • Patterns can come from downloadable Web sites, from computer software, or simply from children's coloring books. To make a permanent pattern, cut it out in plastic laminate.
  • A magnifier light helps you follow fine details, but can be tricky to use, so try it before you buy it. Rick recommends the kind with a fluorescent ring.

Continued on page 3:  Buying advice


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

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