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5 Top Tips for Scroll Sawing from Roger Berwick

We're so excited to share with you these top tips from our very own wood working expert Roger Berwick! 

First thing's first... scroll sawing is a wonderful hobby to get into and the versatility of the SIP Scroll Saw is what makes it such an enjoyable tool to use. However, what must initially be considered is your personal safety when you are using one! Whilst the scroll saw is one of the safest woodworking power tools with a powered cutting blade it must still be treated with care and respect. Make sure that you wear safety goggles or glasses and keep your fingers well away from the cutting blade. You also must consider the dust being generated, so make sure to wear a mask or apply a extraction vacuum source.

Now we've covered the basic safety elements, here are my 5 top tips for starting out with scroll sawing!

1) Choose the right scroll saw

There are many scroll saws on the market but you need to consider the saw that is best suited to what you want to do with it, go for a machine that will accept both pin end blades as well as pinless (the latter being used for extremely fine work). Look for an air blower that will remove the sawdust from the blade, giving you good visibility of the cutting line (which is made even better if the saw is fitted with a light source to illuminate the table area). Single speed machines are ok, but a variable speed unit will give you far more versatility and a 16" throat or larger behind the blade will allow larger items to be cut with ease.

2) Choose the right location for your scroll saw  

The scroll saw will want to be mounted on a suitable bench or work surface that is sturdy in it's construction. The scroll saw will vibrate in use and you will not want your bench or table wobbling under the saw. Consider the height of the bench and do not have it too low so that you are bending over the saw - you could be using the saw for some time. 

3) Choose the right blade for what you will be cutting

There are a plethora of different scroll saw blades on the market, the pinless blades for the finest of cuts through to the heavier pinned blades for deeper cuts in thicker material. Initially I would suggest that you buy a selection pack of blades so that you have a variety to try. From there you can buy just the ones that you find yourself using most of. With scroll saws being able to cut plastics/non ferrous metals etc again, get the appropriate blade for your requirement.

4) Before making your first cuts ensure the saw is set up correctly 

Is the table at 90 degrees to the blade and the table adjustment knobs tight? If fitted with one, is the dust blower positioned correctly? The hold down to prevent the wood lifting should apply light pressure to the material being cut. It should prevent the use of too much force, but also have enough force to adequately hold it down, stopping un-necessary lifting of the work piece. Make sure that the blade is tensioned correctly, it should make a sharp "ting" noise when plucked but not flex more than 1/8" when pushed sidewards. The blades will brake from time to time but if over or under tightened they will break much more often.

5) Take your time

When making your cuts let the saw and the blade do the work, all you are doing is guiding the workpiece, if you are finding the cut is hard going, you may need to adjust the cutting speed or the blade type in use. A well set up saw with the correct blade will cut with ease. To achieve the best cuts remember to keep the work piece moving forward smoothly as this will achieve the best curves. Jerky movements will end up with an unpleasing/disappointing cut - so take your time.

Obviously the points above are purely an insight into the what you should be looking for but you will find that practice makes perfect and very quickly you will learn the best way to tackle your projects, the right choice of blade and the right speed to set your saw at!

Hopefully this has inspired you to give scrolling a try! To find out more tune into my shows on Sunday 10th April where I will be demonstrating scroll sawing techniques using the excellent SIP Scroll Saw. I will be covering all the points above as well as many more!


Don't forget to tune in to Hochanda on 10th April to catch Roger's woodworking special at 10AM, 2PM and 5PM. 

You can see our full range of DIY products on the Hochanda website, including the excellent SIP Scroll Saw.

Watch Hochanda every day 24/7 for lots of fun and crafty demonstrations and inspiration! You can watch Hochanda live online, Sky channel 663 or Freesat 817.

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