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  • Choosing the Best Scroll Saw for You!

Choosing the Best Scroll Saw for You!

A scroll saw is a highly versatile powered tool which uses a very thin reciprocating blade mounted vertically, for cutting precise, intricate and tight curves.
In fact, its use can be likened to using a sewing machine as you push the material in and out to design your pattern.

If you’re a creative person and love smaller, more detailed or elaborate projects such as making puzzle pieces, toys, intarsia and sign-work, a scroll saw will be the perfect addition to your tool collection!

As with all tool choices, its important to choose the scroll saw that best meets your current and short-term future needs, skill level and budget.

Budget

Set your budget early! Carbatec Scroll Saws range from $269 for a 400mm Variable Speed Scroll Saw to $1,259 for a 21” Variable Speed Scroll Saw. Whether you’re a beginner or serious scroll saw user, there’s a scroll saw to suit your needs!

Motor Size

If you only intend to work with thin timber, smaller sized motors are fine. Cutting hardwoods generally requires more power than softwoods, or man-made panels. (Click here for more information on Working with Hardwoods & Softwoods)
The correct blade choice will also play a part in effective cuts on hardwood or softwood.  More on blades further down. 

Workshop Footprint & Weight

The heavier and sturdier the scroll saw, generally the less vibration. The smaller and lighter the scroll saw, the more portable it is and therefore easier to move on and off the workbench and pack away when not needed.

A steel frame & base minimises machine movement compared to a lighter alloy one, but affixing any scroll saw to a sturdy bench will help prevent it from “walking” along your workbench.

Whilst a sturdy and balanced scroll saw will not vibrate as much, it is normal for a scroll saw to vibrate due to the rapid movement of the blade. An unsecured scroll saw is prone to more vibration which can transfer to your work.

Table Size & Material

The larger the table, the more support it offers for your project. Having your workpiece firmly held down to a large table helps when you are working on the far side of your project where most of the weight of the wood is on the other side of the table. Again, a steel table can add weight which reduces vibration.
Regardless of your machine type and construction, a rubber mat placed under your scroll saw is great for dampening vibration.

Tilting Table or Tilting Arm

A tilting table is the simplest design and most common type of scroll saw. It allows you to adjust the working surface to the right angle for each project. Some scroll saws offer a tilting upper and lower arm instead of a tilting table, allowing the operator to retain their natural stance on a flat table for greater control, accuracy and safety. 

Throat Size

The size of the throat is determined by the distance from the fixed upright arm, to the back of the blade. This is the amount of space that you have to rotate your projects under the scroll saw.

The longer the arm, the larger the project and workpiece you can rotate under the arm.

Depth of Cut

A larger depth of cut allows thicker pieces of timber to be cut, clean and square.

Cuts per minute range

The speed of a scroll saw (or its oscillation) is measured in cuts per minute. Variable speed allows you to increase or lower your speed when you need an exact and controlled cut. Slow it right down for really intricate detail work or speed it right up for basic curve-work.

Different materials will require different speeds, so a variable speed scroll saw provides more flexibility for cutting materials other than wood. For example, a slow speed would be used when cutting plastic to avoid heat build-up.

Blade Type

The type of blade is an important consideration and you will likely be choosing between scroll saws that use pinned and/or pinless blades. Pinless blades are available in smaller blade sizes for more precise cuts and greater options. Pinned blades are easier and quicker to change. Scroll saws with upper and lower pinless blade holders with thumbscrews, offer toolless blade changes that are nearly as quick. 

Blades designed to cut hardwood, softwood, plastic, thin metal, plexiglass and foam are available to increase the versatility of your scroll saw and the range of projects that can be made. For more information on blade options click here 

Inside Cuts

When doing inside cuts, where the cut does not start at the edge of the workpiece, it can be tedious to uninstall and reinstall the blade. Toolless blade changes with finger operated blade clamps make for quick and easy blade changes.

Blade Tension Adjustment

The Blade tension adjustment as well as power switch and speed control should be conveniently located within easy reach while you work. A thinner blade can snap with too much tension, whilst the blade can twist if the tension is too loose.

The ability to quickly release the blade tension allows for quick blade changes and allows you to keep your tension setting, minimizing the need to adjust blade tension. This is particularly helpful when you step away from the machine as it is recommended to release the blade tension when the scroll saw is not in use.

Dust Blower

A Dust blower helps keep the pattern lines and work surface clear of wood dust while working.

Dust Port

Dust Port connects straight into your dust control set up, ensuring a safe, dust free workshop.

All woodworking machines require effective Dust extraction to ensure quality work and longevity of the machine itself. Failure to connect your machine to a suitable dust collector may affect your warranty. (Click here for more information about understanding your machine’s dust extraction requirements)

NVR Switch

A No Volt Release (NVR) switch prevents the machine automatically restarting after an accidental or intentional interruption of the main power supply.  

Foot Pedal

Integrated foot switch allows for hands-free switching and control, leaving your hands free to hold onto and guide your project. 

Lighting

Adequate lighting is important to illuminate your work area. You can never have too much light! Some scroll saws may have a work light incorporated into them, but a large range of portable workshop lighting is available to fill almost any need. Click here for more information and to see our range. 

Accessories

Some machines offer a flexible and detachable rotary tool to help add some personal touches to your work; sand, grind and even drill some small starter holes so you can experiment with pinhole and intricate scrolling. 



A rubber mat placed under your scroll saw is great for dampening excessive vibration.

Scroll saws that feature variable speed controllers, can be damaged by voltage fluctuations. Please connect your machine to a dedicated surge protection device to ensure that your warranty is protected.

Scroll saws are one of the most versatile machines you’ll own and the right scroll saw with the right features will be a great addition to almost any workshop, and a great place to begin your woodworking journey or take it to the next level!

Click here or come into store to browse our range of quality scroll saws today!