What is a scroll saw used for? If you’re asking the question, be warned—once you know what a scroll saw can do, it’s going to take your woodworking projects to a whole new level of obsession. With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s jump right in.
At the risk of oversimplifying things, a scroll saw is basically like a coping saw turned into a power tool. To put it in a nutshell, it’s used to make the most intricate cuts. If you visit craft or art shows and see very fine curves cut into wood or metal, there’s a very good chance the artist used a scroll saw to make it. I once came across an outline of the United States made out of cypress that was impressively detailed around the New England coastline thanks to this specialty tool.
While the basic function of a scroll saw doesn’t change much from one model to the next, the size of the material you can work with does. Small ones start with tables around 12 inches and you can find professional models all the way up to 30 inches. Most serious woodworkers and professionals use saws with tables in the 16 to 21-inch range.
How Does it Work?
The most popular form for this type of tool uses two arms parallel to the table. Between them, there’s a thin blade that moves up and down to create the sawing action. As the tool works the blade, you maneuver your workpiece into it.
Most models have a variable speed dial to help you vary the speed. Many have a pedal switch so you can keep both of your hands free to work the material as the blade starts moving.
Like the model we used in the photos? You can read more about the Skil 16-inch scroll saw in our review or click a button below and pick one up for yourself!