The scroll saw is designed to cut curves and
internal cuts. This machine uses a reciprocating
action. The scroll saw cuts on the down stroke of
the blade. It is a stationary machine and should be
attached to a bench or a stand. Scroll saws can
have a variable speed system or a two speed system.
This sheet describes how to use a scroll saw.
Controls: The controls on
the scroll saw in the materials processing laboratory
consist of the following:
- An on/off switch.
- A table tilt adjustment knob on the side of the
- A hold down adjustment knob.
- A blade tension knob.
- A upper chuck that holds the top of the blade.
- A lower chuck that holds the bottom of the
- A blower to remove dust build up.
Operation: Cutting curves and
internal cuts with the scroll saw. Refer to the following
- Be sure to select the right blade for the material to
- Install the bottom of the blade first making sure
that the teeth of the blade are pointing downward.
- Place the top of the blade in the upper chuck.
- Adjust the tension of the blade making sure not to
tight it too much or else the blade will break. (The
tension is just right when the blade makes a high pinging
sound when plucked.)
- Turn the blade through one complete cycle by hand
with the power off to be sure that the upper blade clamp
assembly does not hit the pressure foot or that the blade
is not bent at the top of the stroke.
- Determine the path of the blade before cutting.
- Divide long cuts with relief cuts.
- Drill a hole larger than the blade at the point of a
turn if a tight turn is needed.
- Adjust the hold down device so that it is holding the
material against the table.
- Hold the work firmly against the table.
- Use a moderate pressure when feeding the material
into the blade. Follow the cutting sequence.
- Cut on the waste side of the line.
- Make sure that the table is locked if cutting a
- Make an internal cut by drilling a hole in the waste
side of the wood near the line.
- Slide the top of the blade through the hole and
reclamp the blade in the upper chuck.
- Adjust the tension again.
- Adjust the hold down device again.
- Make the internal cut.
- Remove the work from the scroll saw by removing the
top end of the blade out of the upper chuck.
Make sure that the hold-down device is in
Potential hazards: Because
of the reciprocating action of the scroll saw, the following
- Any body contact with the moving blade will cause
- Clothing or other articles that contact the moving
blade could become entangled and pull the operator's hand
into the blade.
- Saw dust can be thrown out at the
- The operator could slip and fall into the saw.
Safety practices: Because
of those potential hazards the following safety rules must
- Be sure to perform only operations you know how to do
- Always wear safety glasses.
- Never wear cloths or other articles that dangle and
could catch on the saw.
- Be sure to have firm footing.
- Check the saw to make sure it is in good working
- Make all adjustments with the saw turned off, and
unplugged in cases where the blade is or could be
- Make sure the hold down is contacting the work before
- Make sure that the table is locked in the desired
angle before starting.
- Check the stock for foreign objects and never saw
stock containing loose or unsound knots.
- Turn off the saw to clear any materials that are near
- Avoid distractions, never look away during a
- Do not allow others to crowd around the
- Turn the saw off immediately if it does not sound
right or if slivers of wood catch between the blade and
- Never let go of the stock during the cut.
- Do not saw stock that rocks on the table.
- Do not force the stock. Let the blade cut the
material or else you will break the blade.
Cliffe, Roger W. (1981). Woodworking: Principles and
Practices. American Technical Publishers, Inc. Alsip,
Spence, William; Griffiths, Duane L. (1981).
Woodworking: Tools, Materials, Processes. American
Technical Publishers, Inc. Alsip, IL.
ITT 252 - Materials Processing
Department of Technology
University of Southern Maine
Prepared by Amy Ouellette, 9/16/2001