What is a Scroll Saw Used For – Beginners

What is a Scroll Saw Used For – Beginners

Scroll Saws have been available in the world of woodworking for some time, but not every woodworker is familiar with one.

What is a scroll saw used for?

A scroll saw is used for more detailed cutting of wood.  The scroll saw allows for some very intricate and detailed cuts in which some very beautiful artwork can be created.  This is because of the ability for a scroll saw to use a very tiny/thin blade to make those detailed intricate cuts.

More than likely you are a beginner if you are interested in answering this question.  Let me see if I can help sum up the uses for a scroll saw for you.


General Details of the Scroll Saw

The general makeup of the scroll saw can be a bit more complex than most saws.  Typically with a saw, you attach your desired blade, pay attention to safety, and start making your cuts when the power is on.

With a scroll saw there are a few more things to think about when using the tool.  You do have to attach a blade to the tool and pay attention to safety but there are some other things to think about when using the scroll saw:

  • Placement of your scroll saw – The scroll saw is a stationary tool, that meaning you cannot port it around easily.  You need to find a nice place to put your scroll saw and set it on a table or stand.   You will need a nice chair to sit on, with the correct height for your comfort.  One can sit for a long period of time in front of the scroll saw, so making sure you have it where you want it and are comfortable is very important.
  • Throat or Arm – A scroll saw has what is called a throat.  I like to use the word arm.  This is one of the specs of a scroll saw that when purchasing a scroll saw, you might want to pay attention to.  The longer the arm the larger the amount of room you have to rotate your projects.
  • Table –  The scroll saw has a built on table to support the wood as you move it around.  Again the larger the table the more room you have to work with your projects.
  • Variable speed – Scroll saws have the ability to change the speed of the oscillating blade.  Being able to do this can help you with your cuts, slowing or speeding up the cutting speed.  I have found I typically leave it at a certain speed I like and go from there.
  • Tension – Scroll saws have the ability to apply stronger or softer tension to the blade.  Tension is important in scroll saw cutting as the wrong tension can result in more breaking blades.
  • Blade clamping – Attaching a scroll saw blade is not as easy as some other saws.  On my particular scroll saw, I have to clamp down the blade on both ends.  Changing out a blade can be a bit more involved but one can get pretty quick at it.
  • Accessories – Scroll saws can either come with it all or need some assessors to complement it.  With my particular scroll saw I had to buy a lamp for better lighting up my projects and I had to buy a stand to hold my scroll saw.
  • Different Blades and sizes –  Most saws have different kinds of blades for cutting different things.  Scroll saw blades have this same feature but also different sizes.  Some scroll saw blades are very tiny/thin.  This of course allows for some of that very detailed cutting you cannot get with any other saw.

As you may now note, a scroll saw can have a few other details to think about where other saws may not.  So lets get into what kinds of art one can scroll out with a scroll saw

Scroll Saw Projects

There are many different kinds of scroll saw projects that can be created with a scroll saw.  This saw is absolutely amazing for creating some very detailed artwork.  After having used this tool for as long as I have, I am still amazed at seeing what others can create with a scroll saw.

Some of the scroll saw projects that might be more common are:

  • Portrait Images – Portrait images are works of art that are place on a slab of wood.Indian These are typically an image of something and these images can be just about anything.  It is like someone has drawn out the image on the slab of wood.  Some of these images can get very detailed.
  • Letters or words –  Scroll saws cut out letters or words very easily.  In fact this use of the scroll saw is one of the more popular uses of the scroll saw.  With this one can apply just about any font to these words or letters they want to.
  • Puzzles and Toys – Some very popular creations of the scroll saw are puzzles and toys.  I have seen so many different types of puzzles that I would think everything puzzle has been done.  Toys are quite popular as well.  Wooden trains and cars are created quite a bit.
  • Holiday Decor – Holiday decorations are very big around holidays such as Halloween and Christmas.  Ornaments, cutouts of ghosts, or Christmas trees are some of the many things I have seen in this category that have been scrolled out.
  • Functional items – Candles, Clocks, and Jewelry boxes are some of the functional things that can be scrolled out on a scroll saw.  I have seen some of the most intricate and detailed work in this area.  The scrolled out clocks I have seen can absolutely amaze any scroll saw hobbyist.
  • 3D woodworking – One can take many different pieces of wood and link/attach them together to create a bit of a 3D effect for a work of art.  3dduckThe Functional items I mentioned above kind of fall into this category, but you can scroll out layers of wood to create something 3D, like an little duck.

These are some of the more popular artwork creations I have seen, but there are many more other detailed works of art that can be created with the scroll saw.  One of the most captivating scroll saw projects I can think of is called Intarsia of which I will get into next.


Intarsia Projects

Intarsia projects, to me, are one of the most beautiful things one can create with a scroll saw.  Some Intarsia projects may not necessary require the use of a scroll saw as they may be fairly large enough that you don’t need intricate detailed cuts.  The art looks great to any degree, regardless of the saw you use.20181007_194318

What are Intarsia Projects?  Intarsia projects can consist of different types of wood, different thickness of wood, and creates a bit of 3d effect.  These projects are in pieces, and since they can be in many different pieces, kind of like a puzzle, you can create some very large works of art.

The pieces of the Intarsia project are attached together to form this work of art.  A kind of a back board is used to help accomplish this.  Typically, I have seen many of these works of art as something that can be hung up on a wall, but there are other ways to create and display your work with Intarsia.


Non Scroll Saw Uses

Some of the non uses of scroll saws are pretty much anything that requires portability.  This tool is not something you want to lug around to make common around the house cuts.

A scroll saw can make some of those cuts that you are needing for some sort of project, but its general use is for detail and art work.  If you are looking to do around the house type projects that require cutting, you may want to think about a jig saw.

I have written an article you might be interested in if you are looking for the differences between a scroll saw and a jigsaw.  Scroll Saw vs Jigsaw – Differences Between These Tools


There are many uses for the scroll saw when it comes to detail and intricate cuts.  Most of those uses will be in the form of creation of some sort of artwork with wood.

If you are a beginner or interested in the scroll saw, I have written many articles that can help you understand the scroll saw.  You can find those resources in the above menu or my link Scroll Saw Beginners with take you there.

If you are interested in the tools that I use for my scroll saw projects you can find them in My Tool Picks.

Thanks for reading.