One of the best woodworking tools you should have in your tool arsenal is the scroll saw. The scroll saw will help you create custom woodworking pieces with delicate details.
If you equipped your scroll saw with the right saw blade, you can make precise cuts and create excellent and artistic woodworking projects.
Well, there is no doubt that with the scroll saw, you can make personalized workpieces with unique designs. But before you can fully utilize the scroll saw, you need to equip it with the best saw blades. Moreover, if you understand and know your scroll saw blade options, you can quickly become a master of the scroll saw.
Furthermore, the scroll saw blade suspension mechanism will determine how you would operate the scroll saw. It will also determine the projects you can engage in and the blade you will use. Scroll saw blades can either be plain-end or pin-end blades. For this reason, you can use either one of these blade types with the blade suspension mechanism of your scroll saw.
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Understanding the Pin-end and Plain-end (Pinless) Blades
Given the fact that scroll saws only accept either a pin-end or a plain-end blade, you got no choice but to choose between these 2 types of scroll saw blades. For a better understanding of each of these types of scroll saw blades, you can check out the following short descriptions of each of these scroll saw blade types:
Plain-end or Pinless Blade
The plain-end blade is the generic type of scroll saw blades. It is flat and is easy to set up. You only need to set it in place between the small clamps’ small jaws on your scroll saw. The scroll saw, of course, comes with two clamps. One clamp is over the worktable, while the other clamp is underneath the worktable surface.
To install this saw blade, you only need to thread it through a cut in the scroll saw table to allow it to reciprocate freely. Additionally, you will find this blade type widely available and is deemed the standard blade for most scrollers.
The pin-end blade, on the other hand, features a tiny cross pin at each end. The main difference between the plain-end and the pin-end blades is the cross pins. Moreover, these pins rest on a holder (hook-like).
One advantage of the pin-end blade is its ease of attachment and detachment, allowing for a quick blade change. Nevertheless, it is not widely available. Moreover, you might find it challenging to thread this saw blade through the tiny holes required by your ambitious projects.
How Can You Install a Plain-end Scroll Saw Blade?
There are basically two types of scroll saws, depending on the type of saw blade the scroll saw could accommodate. Below are the simple steps you need to follow when installing each type of scroll saw blade:
Installing a Pin-less Scroll Saw Blade
If you’re using a scroll saw that supports a pin-less blade, you will find it easy to install the saw blade on it. Upon closer look at this saw’s upper and lower arm designs, you will notice that each arm differs in functionality. The lower arm gets locked inside a clamp or adaptor. The upper-end clamp, however, might come with a clamp or not. In case it doesn’t come with a clamp, you need to purchase one.
The clamp features a slot to which you insert the blade’s end. After inserting one end of the saw blade, you can tighten the screw to affix it. Once fixed, the clamp works like a hook. On the other hand, the upper end or end doesn’t necessitate a clamp. Instead, the upper arm works like a clamp with a permanent slit and screw.
Thus, when changing the saw blade, you only need to unscrew the locker screw of the upper arm. Afterward, you jiggle the saw blade up and down, releasing the hook-like adaptor on its bottom end, eventually freeing the saw blade. After that, you only need to pull out the saw blade and unhitch the bottom clamp from the saw blade. Then, you can install the new saw blade.
Don’t forget where the bottom side of the blade is. The bottom side is the direction to which the teeth point. Once you’ve added the bottom clamp, you can install the new saw blade in the manner you have pulled out the old saw blade but in a reverse way. Locate the lower arm tips of the saw. Look for the curved edge. Then, set the clamp around this curved edge and pull the saw blade upward.
By tugging on the saw blade a bit, you prevent it from going off the spot. Hold with one hand the saw blade and push down a little the saw’s upper arm. It will lower a bit with minimal pressure, enough to let you insert the new saw blade through the designated slit. Then, you can tighten up the screw.
You should tighten the screw well to prevent the accidental going off of the saw blade while you tension it. Once you’ve installed the new saw blade, test how it works using some scrap wood.
Installing the Pinned Scroll Saw
As you shop around for a scroll saw, you will soon discover that some scroll saws don’t support pin-less blades. Some can only accommodate pinned saw blades. However, to use a pinned scroll saw blade, you need to purchase a few adapters.
Although these scroll saws are designed for pinned blades, you can still use pin-less saw blades on these scroll saw blades. Yet, you would need the adapters to use pin-less saw blades on such scroll saws. You can buy these adapters from your local hardware shops. You can also purchase them online. The installation process is similar to the abovementioned steps, except that you will have adapters on both ends.
If you inquire from scrollers which type of saw blades you should choose, they will answer in a chorus that you should go for pinless scroll saw blades. The reason is that these saw blades are thinner and perfect for intricate and inside cutting. The pin blades, on the other hand, are not suitable for inside and intricate cuts. Moreover, they won’t fit well into a drilled tiny hole.
The installation process of scroll saw blades is straightforward. You only need to follow the steps given above. Make sure you connect the necessary clamps properly. You should also tighten the screws well. Ensure likewise that you follow the correct blade orientation. In this way, you can work well and safely using the scroll saw for your artistic projects.
Jason is a 40-year-old woodworker and carpenter who have been involved in the woodworking and woodcraft industry with 17 years of experience. He is expertise in technical aspects, woodcraft and furniture building projects.