Best Wood for Scroll Saw

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When I’m selecting the best wood for scroll saw projects, I always keep in mind the specific nature of my project and its intended use. Let’s start by exploring a few commonly used wood options and take into account key factors such as the choice between hardwood and softwood, the comparison between plywood and solid wood, as well as the thickness of the wood.

Best Wood Options for Scroll Saw Projects


Maple is an excellent hardwood option since it’s readily available & accessible, relatively cheap, and easy to find compared to most. 

maple wood

It also has a clean, even-grain appearance, making it a common choice for many woodworkers. Between soft and hard maple wood, hard maple is a preferred option only if the project requires you to use dense wood materials. 


You’ve probably seen birch many times in apartments, condominiums, and even home showrooms since it’s a material commonly used for cabinets. 

In my experience, birch stands out due to its curly grain pattern. It’s a wood type that tends to be favored by beginners because, compared to maple or ash wood, it’s generally easier to cut and work with. Your scroll saw like
the high-powered Dewalt DW7788 can easily cut through this wood material, as well. 


There’s a lot to love about cherry hardwood. Categorized as one of the softer hardwoods, cherry is a solid option since it’s easy to cut and much more forgiving on your high-quality scroll saw blade.

cherry wood

Woodworkers also praise cherry for its rich, beautiful coloring. However, cherry wood can darken as its exposure to sunlight increases and can also warp when it dries.


Extremely strong and lightweight – two qualities a woodworker would love to use for intricate or important woodworking projects.

When doing intricate design cuts, hardwood options like ash or maple are solid choices. But take note: ash can be quite unforgiving on your scroll saw blades, so beginners will have a hard time using it.

Aside from scroll saw blades, ash is also commonly used by advanced woodworkers to make wooden desks. Professional woodworkers consider ash to be one of the best woods to use for a desk.


Hickory timber is a great option for those looking to perform large scroll projects. It’s also inexpensive and has the best strength-to-weight ratio making it an appealing choice indeed. 


Because of the high hardness rating of this material, I’ve often found that cutting it can be quite challenging and may lead to faster wear and tear of my saw blades compared to other options.

However, considering how affordable it is, I’ve learned that opting for this economical wood choice can be a wise decision when working on a larger-scale project.


Walnut is a wood material that sits between cherry and maple. It’s not as strong as birch or maple, but is slightly harder than cherry. Entry level scroll saws like WEN 3920 are ideal for this woodworking material. 

If you’re looking for wood materials to use that don’t require a lot of weight, you can choose between walnut or cherry. 


How do you choose between the two? It depends on your design preference. 

Cherry wood features a warm, rich color that’s more ideal for holiday decor projects while Walnut has a high-contrast look that may suit flooring projects better. 


Softwood or Hardwood?

I’ve noticed that softwood isn’t often a top choice among woodworkers. Its inherent softness and brittleness can indeed make it somewhat challenging to work with, particularly in scroll saw projects.

milling rough lumber

When you make tighter cuts using your Porter-Cable PCB375SS scroll saw, this could cause your softwood to break, meaning you’ll most likely have to start from square one when this happens. 

Does that mean softwood is useless? Not at all. Softwood is best for beginners who are new to the scroll saw [1]. Since softwoods offer the least resistance to your blade, options like pine or poplar are great to start with. 

You can also use softwood if you’re learning how to cut wood into different shapes. You could even make toys with it! 

lumber at a Home Depot

Among all softwood options, poplar is the best option to practice with. Other options include cedar, plywood, or Baltic Birch

For scroll projects, hardwood is a go-to option. Maple and Ash wood are excellent hardwood options but hard to work with if you’re still a beginner. 

For scroll saw art, you won’t find any wood material better than Oak, however, it takes serious skill to work with. Great hardwood options to start with include, Hickory, Cherry, or Walnut.

Plywood vs Solid Wood

Choosing between manufactured plywood or solid wood depends mostly on your preference. 


Plywood has high tensile strength, durability, good weather and waterproofing, and is affordable. If you calculate the dimension of your plywood correctly, it would be a perfect material for your wood project. 

Solid wood is best known for its natural grain and beauty, giving it an aesthetic appeal over plywood. 

Overall, plywood is a good option if you want wood that is stable and will last you a long time. Otherwise, if you have cash to burn and want a more appealing look, solid wood won’t let you down. 


Thicker wood makes it harder for your scroll saw to cut through. 

milling Teak wood

So while hardwood has its advantages for scroll projects, consider the thickness too, since a 2-inch material can cause serious damage to your blade. 


There is no one-size fits all approach when choosing the best wood for your scroll saw project. Ultimately, it depends on your project needs and the resources that are readily available to you. 

All wood options mentioned here are solid choices, but the scrolling you intend to do influences the type of wood to use. 

Looking for places to get wood? Well, these are where you can buy wood for woodworking projects. Read next!

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Robert Johnson is a passionate furniture maker & carpenter, sought after for his knowledge on the craft.
You’ve probably seen his down-to-earth wisdom in USA Today, Bobvila, Family Handyman, and The Spruce, where he has shared commentary and guidance on various woodworking topics.

Robert is the brain behind Sawinery, where he aims to share tips, tricks, and a passion for all things carpentry.

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