How to Use a Scroll Saw for Beginners?

What makes scroll saw different from other saws is that it can cut ultra-intricate design out of wood, or even metal. Do you think scroll saw is hard to handle?

How to Use a Scroll Saw for Beginners?

The truth is, it’s easier than you think. Practice on some pieces of wood first, and you will get hold of it after a few attempts. Let’s jump right into it! We will show you how to use a scroll saw for beginners. That includes choosing the right speed and cutting the workpiece properly.


There are several uses for a scroll saw. But it is most frequently employed to produce precise cuts in wood. Additional capabilities of a scroll saw include:

  • Making sharp turns
  • Constructing dovetail joins
  • Setting up angles
  • Imagine cutting
  • Making complex patterns


Although wood is the most common material that scroll saws are used to cut, other materials can also be cut with them.

A scroll saw can be used to cut the following materials:

  • Wood
  • Plastic
  • Ivory
  • Mother-of-Pearl
  • Cork Bone
  • Metals

It’s vital to note that you must use a very tiny blade with your scroll saw if you plan to cut metal with it.

A jeweler’s blade is your best option. Regular scroll saw blades would not be suitable for this use.


Finding out what kind of blade your scroll saw uses should be your first step.

Either a pin-end blade or a blade with a plain end will be used. We advise choosing a saw that can accommodate both kinds of blades.

The inability of pin-end blades to do any type of internal cuts is one of the restrictions.

Therefore, if you purchase a pin-end scroll saw, you can only use it to cut things outside.

Blades have numbers, as you shall discover. The blade gets smaller the lower the number.

Related – The best scroll saw for cutting metal

Safety First

Make sure you are safe while using it first. You should wear a dust mask and protective glasses to protect yourself from splinters and wood dust.

If you have long hair, tie it up and make a hair bun. Or better, wear a hat to hold it back. Be careful with your sleeves also, you don’t want them to get stuck in the saw.

How to Use a Scroll Saw?

Choose the Right Speed

First thing first, use scraps of wood to test the speed. That way, you can adjust the speed and avoid damaging your workpiece.

Now, you have to set the speed of your scroll saw according to the material. The harder the material is, the slower the speed must be. That said, for metal, the speed should be as slow as possible.

If you feel unsure, cut at a slow speed first, you can always adjust it later.

Feed rate

Let’s dig a little deeper. What about the feed rate?

Well, your eyes, ears, and fingers can sense if you’re feeding too slow or too fast. What that means is, with practice, you will learn at what pace you should feed your workpiece into the blade.

But you know what else?

Don’t rush the process. You don’t want to be pushing your workpiece into the blade. Doing that might overheat and deflect the blade.

What you want to do is to let the blade do the work. Just giving your workpiece a slow feed to the direction you want to cut is enough.

Note that you will learn quickly over time, but before that, you’ll most likely mess up a few workpieces.

Holding the Workpiece

First thing first, a hold-down is not enough to cut the lines correctly, your hands must also be holding the workpiece in place and feeding it into the blade at the same time.

You should pay attention to your fingers, they should never leave the workpiece when the scroll saw is still on.

While cutting with a scroll saw, the workpiece tends to rise up. That’s why you need to hold it down so it wouldn’t jump all over the place.

For where to place your hands, it mainly depends on the shape and size of your workpiece. But when possible, use the index finger, middle finger, and thumb to hold and feed in the workpiece.

Make sure the rest of your finger spread straight to keep it from touching the blade. The last thing you want to do is to cut your fingers.

While feeding the workpiece, lift and move one finger at a time. Moving two or more at a time is not safe.

Related – How to cut wood without a saw

Finishing Up

Once you’ve finished your last pattern, turn off the saw and use sandpaper for sanding your workpiece. After that, you should remove the blade from the scroll saw.

Tips to Cut Curves

When cutting curves, let the blade do the work. What you need to be focusing on is pivoting, and it’s easier than you think. I’ll show you how.

If you want a gentle sweeping curve, feed the workpiece into the blade faster but rotate it slower. On the other hand, if you want to cut a tight corner, keep the feed rate slower than the rotation rate. That’s it. It’s that simple.

The Bottom Line

Those are all the steps you need to know about how to use a scroll saw. Remember to put on protection first, check the saw speed, then the feed rate, and pay attention to holding your workpiece.

It may sound not very easy, but once you get into action, it’s a lot easier than you think.

I hope you got everything you need and ready to cut some workpieces of your own. Be sure to leave a comment, I’d love to hear your stories and opinions. Thank you for reading!

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