October 21, 2022
You might not think of the scroll saw as necessary for your workshop, but it indeed is. It is an excellent addition to your woodworking tool arsenal. As a tool, it got invented because of the need to make intricate cutting designs on metal and wood. As such, with its use, you can raise your creative activities a notch higher. Using it, you can quickly switch from one speed to another, depending on the task you would like to accomplish. Besides, the range of strokes a scroll saw can do within a minute is between 400 to 1800.
As a beginner, you might confuse the scroll saw with the jigsaw, but the difference between the two lies in the level of ease of handling. When using the jigsaw, for example, you need to control the movement of the jigsaw using your hand because the jigsaw is portable. However, the scroll saw is a bit large and heavy-duty. It also comes with a pedal for ease of control. Plus, it makes use of small blades, which makes it easy to cut intricate designs. You can learn more about differences between scroll saw and bandsaw in more details.
Types of Blades for Scroll Saw
Choosing the right saw blades for your scroll saw can be a bit confusing, given the myriads of options at hand. So, experts had the scroll saw blades categorized according to tooth configurations. Here are the different types of scroll blades based on tooth configurations:
1) Standard-toothed Blades
If you’re looking for the best-selling scroll saw blades, you should check out the standard-tooth saw blades. Most scroll saws in use today are standard-tooth blades. These saw blades come with equally spaced teeth. Moreover, these saw blades feature a one-sided teeth arrangement that faces forward.
The standard-tooth blades come with two sub-categories: Those used for metals and those used for wood. The scroll saw blades come with wider gullets and larger teeth likewise. Besides, the metal option features smaller teeth but may also deal with denser metal pieces. These standard-tooth blades are multi-purpose saw blades. Yet, they are not specifically designed for use in finely-detailed tasks and unique cuts.
2) Skip-tooth Blades
You might not see much difference between the skip-tooth and the standard-tooth scroll blades, save for that one missing tooth. For this reason, skip-tooth scroll blades come with larger ridges or gullets. They are somewhat similar to the standard-tooth scroll saw blades for wood.
These saw blades also offer clearer visibility and better clearance. Moreover, beginners will find these saw blades perfect for their use. Plus, this saw blade type allows for quick heat dissipation, preventing burns or smokes when you cut challenging-to-cut materials.
It will be helpful to remember that the skip-tooth configuration is best for making rough cuts without any regard for precision. If you intend to make fine cuts, you should shy away from using this type of scroll saw blade configuration.
3) Double Skip-tooth Scroll Saw Blades
This type of scroll saw blade features a somewhat similar design to that of the skip-tooth saw blade. However, these saw blades come with two teeth positioned together along the length of the blade. This means that these saw blades cut like those of the skip-tooth scroll saw blade.
But they cut smoother than the skip-tooth blades. However, it’ll take a bit longer to cut compared to that of the standard-tooth saw blade. It will be best to use this type of blade for cutting materials two inches or less in thickness.
4) Reverse Skip-tooth Blades
These scroll blades are designed to lessen and control chipping, cracking, and splintering when working with brittle materials. These saw blades look similar to the skip-tooth saw blades. Nevertheless, some teeth are inverted, pointing in the opposite direction. These saw blades, however, wear faster because of the opposing orientation of their teeth.
At present, you can find more advanced reverse skip-tooth blades that feature an ultra-reverse skip-tooth design. This innovative design tries to resolve the dust-clearing issue with a bit of change in the tooth configuration. With a more efficient clearing of sawdust, these saw blades can lessen heat buildup when cutting.
5) Precision-ground Blades
These saw blades are called PGT blades. These saw blades can cut more challenging materials without getting blunt. They also feature almost the same configuration as those of the skip-tooth scroll saw blades. Yet, they got grounded teeth. The PGT offers extreme durability, sharper edges, and superior strength.
These saw blades also offer a good finish with fewer cracks and chips. However, the use of these scrolls saw blades require more elaborate technicality. For these reasons, only experts and professionals should use these saw blades.
6) Spiral Scroll Saw Blades
The spiral scroll saw blades stand out among the configurations mentioned above. The reason is that it can cut with ease in all directions. These saw blades come with various standard teeth around their length. Thus, when you look at the teeth of these saw blades, you’ll see that their teeth appear in all directions in a spiral design.
So, you need extra care when installing these saw blades. Yet, you can rely on these spiral saw blades. But they are more challenging to maneuver when dealing with tight angles.
7) Crown-tooth Blades
You will find this tooth configuration unique and innovative. In fact, it is an incredible innovation for the scroll saw. The teeth of these scroll saw blades appear to have crownlike shapes with opposite-direction facing points like those of the reverse tooth blades. These saw blades can cut plexiglass, plywood, and more challenging materials. They also offer better control and provide a smoother finish.
8) Special Scroll Saw blades
Aside from the abovementioned types of scroll saw blades, you will also find special scroll saw blades for cutting plastic, metal, and glass. You can check them out as you become more proficient in the use of the scroll saw. You can use these special saw blades for unique and particular applications.
Other Factors to Consider When Choosing Scroll Saw Blades
After knowing the different types of scroll saw blade configurations and their characteristics, it will also help if you know the following key factors to consider to get properly guided when choosing the ideal scroll saw blade for your needs:
When selecting a scroll saw blade, it will be best to know the thickness and width of the saw blade you would choose. Manufacturers usually list down the thickness and width of the scroll saw blade. But they mostly use a number system for the categories. Below are the simple tips when choosing scroll saw blades:
- Go for larger blades as the density or thickness of the wood increases. As a rule of thumb, it’ll help to use #5 or #7 blade when dealing with 3/4″ to 1″ thick wood (medium-hard) like walnut, cherry, and maple. Although many scrollers utilize the smallest possible saw blade, it will be best to use the largest possible saw blade.
- Larger blades, #9 or higher, are indeed more durable. Moreover, they will not break quickly compared to smaller scroll saw blades. Plus, they cut quickly. When cutting hard and thick wood, however, you should use large scroll saw blades, for there is a higher chance that the scroll saw blades would break when dealing with hardwood.
- If you intend to use large saw blades, you might find it confusing to select between scroll saw blades from #9 and #12. Besides, you will discover that not all tooth configuration is available in size #12 scroll saw blades. So, you can drop #12 as your option. You should only go for the #12 if you cut thick and hardwood like the hickory.
- It will be best to use smaller blades from #3 downward when cutting thin wood. These saw blades can cut slowly, enabling you to have better control over your cuts. You can use, for example, the #2 scroll saw blade. Yet, this is quite a small scroll saw blade. Nevertheless, you can use the smaller scroll saw blades when making tight turns, especially if you are a puzzle cutter. Yet, if you engage in general scrolling, you will find the scroll saw #2 relatively small.
- You should choose a scroll saw blade according to the stack’s thickness when you’re stack cutting. If you would cut, for example, eight 1/8″ thick blanks simultaneously, you can use the #5 or #7 scroll saw blade. If you would cut four 1/8″-thick blanks, you should use numbers 2 or 3.
- When choosing a scroll saw blade, it will be best to consider how challenging or intricate the cuts you will make. You cannot select a larger blade when cutting through tight corners. When engaged in detailed cuts, you should choose the smallest scroll saw blade to cut through the wood thickness.
There are two primary types of scroll saw blades: pin-end and plain-end. The majority of scroll saws utilize plain-end blades. On the other hand, pin-end blades don’t have a small size version. Moreover, they require a 3/16″ diameter entry hole, and this requirement is more often larger than the cuts you would like to make. The pin-end blades get called pin-end not because they got pointed ends but because they connect to the scroll saw in a particular manner.
If you got a pin-end scroll saw blade, you’ll see pins on its end. These pins hold the scroll saw blade on your saw. With such an attachment method, you can enhance saw blade retention and improve security and stability.
If you got a pinless one, it definitely doesn’t have pins. So, you can only utilize this attachment method on scroll saws that can accommodate pinless scroll saw blades. But before purchasing one, you need to know which attachment method your scroll saw accepts. Consult the product manual for this purpose to know which one fits your scroll saw.
Although the blade thickness is not so crucial in choosing a scroll saw blade, it can make a bit of difference in your use of scroll saw. The reason is that the use of thicker blades means stronger and tougher saw blades. Nevertheless, they can be a liability when you are engaged in intricate cuts.
Thinner saw blades, however, are remarkable for exact cutting jobs. So, your choice of blade thickness should depend on the cutting job you will cut. To know the scroll saw blade’s thickness, you can check out the blade’s universal number code. Thicker saw blades got higher numbers. Thinner saw blades got lower numbers.
Another key factor to consider when choosing a scrolling saw blade is the TPI rating of the saw blade. Remember that with more teeth, a saw blade can cut smoother. Scroll saw blade manufacturers generally use numbers to categorize saw blades based on TPI. So, the higher the number, the higher the TPI.
Nevertheless, the scroll saw blade with a higher TPI count would cut slower than those with a lower TPI. The reason is that the many smaller teeth will remove less material because they are so close together. If you want to cut faster, go for those with higher TPI. Yet, the cuts of saw blades with lower TPI are rougher than those with higher TPI.
The acronym TPI stands for Teeth per inch. The TPI rating refers to the teeth density of a saw blade. The majority of scroll saw blades have maximum TPIs of ten teeth per inch. You should select bimetal saw blades to get a saw blade with a TPI rating higher than 10.
Another factor you must consider is the width of the scroll saw blade. The more challenging the cutting job is, the bigger and broader your scroll saw blade should be. Nevertheless, you should balance your saw blade width requirements with the cutting task at hand. Remember that you should use narrower and more flexible saw blades when cutting curves and making sharp turns.
Top Scroll Saw Blade’s Brands
Aside from knowing the key factors to consider when choosing a scroll saw blade, it will also help if you are familiar with the following most trusted brands of scroll saw blades:
Bosch is a popular brand when it comes to manufacturing woodworking tools. It first joined the power tool market in January of 2003. It focuses on producing power tools, oscillating tools, rotary tools, leveling devices, accessories, and range finders. This company is committed to providing excellent products, and one such product is its Pin End Scroll Sawblade.
Another brand that thrives in producing excellent bandsaw and scroll saw blades and accessories is Olson. This company has its headquarters in Connecticut. Olson manufactures the Olson Saw Pin-end Saw blade and the PGT scroll saw blade in the United States. These saw blades are excellent options if you’re looking for the best scroll saw blades in the market today.
Flying Dutchman is a Mike’s Workshop brand. Mike’s Workshop, of course, specializes in manufacturing woodworking tools and saw blades. Two excellent examples of Flying Dutchman’s scroll saw blade products is the New Spiral Scroll Saw Blade and the Five Dozen Scroll Sawblade Variety Packs.
SKIL is another excellent American brand that has a long history of providing sterling products. Edmond Michel, who formed the Skilsaw Incorporated Company, invented the very first electric saw. Soon after, he founded the Skilsaw Incorporated Company along with Joseph Sullivan, his business partner.
Pricing of Scroll Saw Blades
Scroll saw blades come at varied prices from $10 or less to $20 or more. Below is generalized pricing scheme of scroll saw blades in the market today:
You will see that the most commonly used scroll saw blades are those under $10 in price. Saw blade packages under $10 come with a few saw blades numbering below ten pieces.
$10 to $20
You will find saw blade packages whose prices range from $10 to $20. With this package, you will get more scroll saw blades of various types. Yet, the package usually does not contain more scroll saw blades for precision ground cutting.
$20 or up
You will find most scroll saw packages that cost $20 or more come with high-quality saw blades, and many of these saw blades are precision ground tooth saw blades.
Frequently Asked Questions
Aside from the above-mentioned data about the scroll saw blades, you can also learn much from the following FAQs about scroll saw blades:
How Do They Manufacture Scroll Saw Blades?
Scroll saw blades usually come in different types of materials. Scroll saw blades usually come in different types of materials. The materials a scroll saw blade is wrought would determine the saw blade’s longevity, durability, and performance. Scroll saw blades generally come in two types regarding material and make: ground hardened steel scroll saw blades and milled scroll saw blades.
What Material Types Can Scroll Blades Cut?
Scroll saw blades can handle wood of different types. Yet, it can also deal with thin metals, plastic, and glass. You should know how to use the scroll saw blades when cutting these other materials. For example, when cutting plastic, you need to lubricate the blade because plastic will tend to melt because of too much friction. Cutting glass using the scroll saw blade also necessitates the use of diamond-coated saw blades. Moreover, you should constantly cool the glass so as not to break them due to heat.
What is the Ideal Scroll Saw Blade Type to Use?
You should opt for the pinless, or plain-end scroll saw blades for better compatibility with your scroll saw. Pin blades, however, are thicker. Moreover, they are not excellent to use when engaged in intricate designs.
Which Blade Type is Best for Corian and Plexiglass?
When dealing with Corian and plexiglass, it will be best not to use reverse teeth saw blade. Choose something like the polar blades for better control.
The need for making rare cuts has engendered a feverish development of innovative tools like scroll saws. Equipped with the right scroll saw blades, the scroll saw becomes a helpful tool for making different intricate cuts. The scroll saw works like the sewing machine, yet it comes with a scroll saw blade instead of the needle and thread.
With the scroll saw, you can expand your artistic proclivity a notch higher as a woodworker. You can create excellent woodworking projects that you can monetize. Lastly, whether you are a DIYer or an experienced woodworker, you can use the scroll saw to craft the most intricate and fascinating projects you can ever do in your woodworking.
Jason is a 40-year-old woodworker, carpenter and author 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.