FAQs and Tips

Frequently Asked Questions & Tips


I’ve been getting a few questions from scrollers as well as some excellent tips and ideas. Rather than have to repeat the answers I’m going to start putting the more common questions and answers as well as helpful tips on this page.

Questions?


If you have a question and you don’t find the answer here please email it to me and I’ll do my best to answer. I’m not an expert with the scroll saw, but I know a few that I can ask.

Tips


And if you have a helpful tip, email that as well and I’ll add it to this list.

If you disagree with something you find here, please let me know and I’ll put a note next to the tip or answer in question. Like I said, I’m not an expert and I’m open to learning.


Q

What blade do you use for most of your scrolling?

A

I use a #5 Skip Reverse Tooth blade. The Skip tooth cuts faster with less burning and the Reverse Tooth greatly reduces chipping on both the top and bottom surfaces. A #5 blade is sufficiently fine for most of the work required by my plans.

Q

What Drill Bit do you use to start inside cuts?

A

A No. 58 drill bit is perfect for a # 5 blade. I also round the top of each blade with a coarse sharpening stone to make it a little easier to slip into the drilled hole.

Q

In your drawings you keep referring to "1/4" stock." What is "stock"? I’m new to scroll-sawing and don’t understand what kind of wood this is. Can you set me straight?

A

We use several different kinds of wood. Ash, Cherry and Mahogany are among the favorites. The stock we get is scrap we buy from a local cabinet maker and is usually 2" x 4" x 2 ft long or so. We cut it on a band saw to about 3/8" thick and then run it through a thickness planer to end up with a piece that measures 1/4" thick x 4" wide x 2 ft long. And that’s what I refer to as stock in my plans.

But you could also use 1/4" birch plywood, which is available at most lumber yards, or if you find a good lumber yard they will "Mill" 1/2" stock to 1/4" for a fee. Home Depot also has a reasonably priced supply of wood (not sure of type of wood) which is 1/4" x 4" x 36" look near the moldings.


Tip

Tilt your scroll saw towards you. You’ll be sitting in a more comfortable position with a straighter back. You’ll find it easier to sit longer with fewer back aches. I use a chunk of 2 by 4 under the back leg of my stand.

Tip

A magnifying desk lamp will make fine detail work much easier. Buy a good one with a quality lens.

Tip

I do most of my scrolling with 2 pieces of 1/4" stock fastened together. I end up with 2 finished pieces with each cut. I use tiny brads outside the finished area to secure the 2 pieces while cutting. Wrapping the pieces with tape works too.

Tip

If you touch the bottom of your work piece to a sanding belt AFTER DRILLING the holes for inside cuts, you’ll find it much easier to feed the blade through the hole. Those little chips left when the drill bit pokes through the bottom can really clog up the holes.

Tip

Burned Edges? We normally cut our bigger items in 1/2 – 5/8 inch Cherry, Maple, and some Oak and have found that the Olsen #7 Double Skip tooth (requires 1/16 inch drill hole) works very well in reducing the amount of burning we get. The only thing with the Double Skip is that it doesn’t clean the back of the project as well as the #7 Reverse Skip does. We have also been told that putting shipping tape over the pattern works well to help prevent chipping.