Best Saw for Cutting Shapes Out of Wood

May 11, 2021

Cutting Wood letter shapes with saw.

Woodworkers always find cutting shapes a challenge. It is one of their ways to show off their crafty skill. Woodworkers knew that cutting a complex shape or design doesn’t need skills alone; it also requires a great cutting tool. With a tool, you can rely on skillset cutting circles, triangles, and any other pattern out of wood to become a child play. 

Saw is the most common tool used to cut woods. This saw can be used to make complex patterns. With the exception of CNC, here are some of the different types of saw that you can also consider in cutting intricate shapes.

Types Of Saws Best For Cutting Shapes Out Of Wood

For different types of wood, there are different types of saws being used. We will talk about the advantages and downsides of using each type of wood cutting saw for cutting wooden shapes. In the end, we will determine which type of saw is best used in cutting a particular pattern or shape. 

1) Jigsaw

Jigsaw is one of the most popular types of saw used for cutting wood. It is used for general cutting like straight lines and large patterns. Most jigsaw comes with interchangeable blades that can be used for different types of woods and materials. 

Most woodworkers own a jigsaw. It is affordable. When it comes to picking up a jigsaw, there are different options in the market as well. This type of saw is also very easy to use, a great tool for beginners in woodworking. Once you get the hang of using it, you can also use it in cutting out simple letters and shapes. 

The downside of a jigsaw is that it is hard to use for cutting complex patterns and shapes. If you have intricate detail on your woodcraft, this jigsaw might make the work harder. 

The pros of using a jigsaw are: 

  • It is suitable for cutting various types of materials.
  • It is compatible with different blades for different materials to cut
  • It can cut simple letters and shapes

2) Scroll Saw

A scroll saw is another type of saw that is used for cutting woods. It is considered as an upgrade from the regular jigsaw. If you need to cut curves and circles, this saw can help you accomplish it. Scroll saw, and the jigsaw is almost the same; it is just that scroll saw is designed to make cutting much easier, especially for complicated and small shapes and designs. 

If you are a beginner and you need to make accurate and precise small design cuts, then you need a scroll saw. With this saw, you don’t have to sand your cut afterward. It means less work time to complete your project. 

The pros of using a scroll saw are:

  • Good for cutting curves and circles
  • Suitable for cutting complicated patterns and shapes
  • Suitable for cutting complicated designs
  • Clean and accurate cut
  • Saves time by needing less or no sanding after the cut

3) Band Saw

If you have the money and need a saw that continuously runs, you can invest with a band saw. It is powered by a motor and wheels and runs continuously when turned on. It can cut woods, plastic, and metals. It is best used for making internal cuts. The continuous blade run prevents sit from ‘threading’ which is necessary to make a clean internal cut.

Before picking a band saw, you have to check the space between the body of the saw and the blade. You also have to consider the project you often do. If you are a beginner who loves doing DIY projects at home, having a 9-10 inches band saw is highly recommended.

When using a band saw for cutting, you have to hold and control the wood. You have to turn it around and maneuver it to get the cut you wanted. Holding a large wood might cause it to hit your saw’s body. It can stop you from moving around. However, if you have a larger saw, then you won’t have to worry about your wood hitting your saw. You can get a bigger band saw, but you have to understand that the price jumps for an upgrade you do. 

The best you can do here is consider the projects you want to do and get a band saw based on the size of your common or potential woodworking projects. A band saw is very expensive, but it is a good investment, especially if you love doing woodworking at home. 

The good thing about the band saw is that it has a lot of usages. It is not just for cutting complicated shapes and patterns or making internal cuts; you can also use it to do lumbering ad metalworking. It is also used to cut irregular shapes, making it one of the most sought power tools among woodworking enthusiasts. 

A band saw has two main features – speed and accuracy. It can cut at a faster pace, and it can make clean cuts. Also, it can also cut odd angles and intricate patterns and shapes. 

The pros of using a band saw are:

  • It can cut woods, lumbers, and metals
  • It can cut irregular shapes and patterns and can do it cleanly
  • It is used for specialty cuts
  • It can cut larger wood or metal
  • It promises accuracy and speed when cutting
  • It can produce odd cuts and angled cuts

4) Coping Saw

If you want a portable saw, the handheld coping saw is a good consideration. This saw has a narrow blade and a U-shaped frame. The blade runs across the frame. Most DIY lovers have this saw because it is often used for cutting wood. This saw is good for doing small woodworking projects. Carpenters also use it for molding cuts on their wood.

If you don’t want to use a motorized saw, a coping saw can be your best pick. The blade is removable in case you need to thread and make complex cuts like through a hole or making a hole (say removing the excess wood in the middle of a letter O). A coping saw can help you cut through it without cutting the wood into halves. 

5) Fret Saw

If you need to make tighter curves or cut on your small woodworking project, you might need a Fret saw. It also works as a coping saw but is more useful for complex patterns and shapes. This type of saw has a longer frame, making it easier to be used in making a more detailed pattern or cut. If you are not sure of your skill in cutting a wood internally, don’t use a coping saw, use a fret saw to increase your chance of success of making a cleaner cut. 

A fret saw is strong enough to cut metals and plastics. With its cylindrical handle, you can have a better grip when using it to cut thicker or hard materials. This saw is also used by most woodworkers in cutting dovetails. 

6) Scroll Saw

A scroll saw is a motorized fret saw. It is also used to cut more complex patterns and smaller shapes. It comes with a narrow blade. If you need to make internal cuts, you can remove the blade and replace it accordingly. It is designed with a pre-drilled hole where you can change the blade. A scroll saw is very easy to use, making it one of the favorite saws among woodworkers. 

If you are about to pick a scroll saw, you can consider DeWalt. It is one of the most popular manufacturers of the scroll saw. Their products are also very affordable, even for homeowners who love doing DIY. If you are a beginner and you just want to find out if woodworking agrees with you, you can start investing with a DeWalt scroll saw. 

Another thing to consider when picking a scroll saw is the space between the blade and the arm of the machine. If you are working on large woodworking projects, purchase a larger scroll saw. If not, ask your local dealer of the right size for your home DIY projects. The size of your scroll saw will dictate how easy it will be for you to use it. 

The size of scroll saws starts at 16 inches up to 20 inches. If you have the budget, go for bigger ones. It is easier to work with a smaller wood, and a bigger scroll saw than a large wood and a small scroll saw. It is safer, as well. 

You can also look for a stand that you can use for your scroll saw. Better yet, make one. It can be your first DIY project, right? Look or make a scroll saw stand where the saw tip points towards you. This will allow you to sit while using it. It will be easier to make intricate cuts when sitting down than standing and stooping at your scroll saw. 

7) CNC Router

Professional woodworkers are now more invested with their power tools, and for cutting, their most favorite is the CNC Router. It is computerized, very precise, and is very safe to use in cutting materials. It can make 3D carvings and designs on wood through its “Inventable” program. 

There are small and big versions of CNC Router programs, and you can try with the small one to check how it works. 

Remember, the CNC Router will do the cutting for you. You just make the design or pattern. For woodworkers, the sound of their motorized saw or classic sawing sound makes it all worth it – this is not happening with a CNC Router. Everything is automatic, and the machine will the cutting for you. 

Big woodworking businesses are into this program because it allows bulk production. If you are a homeowner and your DIY projects are your way of spending your day, this cutting tool is definitely for you. 


You have plenty of options when it comes to saw or tools to cut shapes and patterns. You can choose between handheld saws to motorized saws. You can choose between simple and easy to use saw like the jigsaw or a more delicate one like the band saw. You can also go for CNC Router that won’t make you feel like you are cutting or doing any woodwork. When picking a saw, consider a few factors first. Consider the projects you often do, the type of cuts and designs you need to cut, the size of your projects, your current woodworking and cutting skills, your skills in handling machines, and your budget. 

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