Understanding the proper way to setup and use a scroll saw is important, not just for safety but for the outcome of your project. Scroll saws are interesting tools because they are capable of a broad range of applications. They are closely similar to the Sabre saw or jig saw, since they use an up-and-down reciprocating action to cut. They have thin blades, giving them the ability to cut in fine detail. So, they are essentially motorized coping saws! This makes scroll saws perfect for concentrated woodwork projects, like detailed molding or artistry.
Although they range in brand, price, features, and quality, scroll saws should all be handled in a similar way. Continue reading for tips on setting up and using a scroll saw for safe and effective operation.
Setting Up Your Scroll Saw
Scroll saws come in various makes and models, making them vary in quality as well. For this reason, it is important to invest in a quality tool that will stand the test of time. This will save you money on replacements and repairs. If you have a scroll saw already, be sure to take great care in preserving it and protecting it from damage. This will ensure that your woodworking projects always turn out the way you expect.
The basic parts of a scroll saw include a bevel scale, bevel knob lock, table, material hold down, blade, blade clamp thumbscrew, blade tension lever, air hose, upper arm, speed control knob, and an on/off switch. Get to know these parts well so you can understand how they work together to make your saw effective.
Here's What To Do:
1. Check for Correct Blade Tension. The first task you want to take care of is the blade tensioning. Be sure to set up the proper tension on the blade before you do anything else with the saw. Although over-tensioning rarely causes blades to break, too-low tensioning allows an arch that can cause a break to occur. So can rough material handling.
2. Square the Blade Front-to-Back. Although not entirely necessary when using a scroll saw, it is still wise to square your scroll saw blade with the table every time. Side to side square-ness is important when you are cutting thicker stock, stack cutting, or you have pieces that must fit together.
3. Set Up the Hold-Down and Dust Blower. If you want to get smooth cuts, it is essential to use a sawdust hold-down and dust blower. The hold-down prevents your work piece from catching a tooth or jumping off the line, while the blower maintains a clean line while you cut. Be sure these are set up properly before you begin your project.
4. Set Up the Right Speed. For harder materials, you want to set your scroll saw to a slower speed. The harder, the slower you need to go. For flexible or softer materials, choose a higher speed. For metals, use the slowest speed your saw allows.
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