What is a Scroll Saw Used For?

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If you’re looking for a saw that’s best at cutting intrinsic curvatures and drilling holes inside the workpiece, then a scroll saw is the perfect power tool. 

Most wood art and wooden patterns are created using a scroll saw and are mostly used by artisans and craftsmen. But apart from patterns and curves, what is a scroll saw used for?

How Scroll Saws Function

Scroll saws are made up of different parts, such as the table tilt adjustment, workpiece drop foot, lock, blade tension knob, and speed adjustment knob. These parts are vital in understanding how a scroll saw works. 

person operating scroll saw

Like band saws, scroll saws move against the saw blade when cutting. The only notable difference between these two powerful saws is the blade. With scroll saws, a reciprocating blade is used. Meanwhile, a band saw works with the blade in a continuous loop.

Top Uses of Scroll Saws Today

Scroll saws have been widely used for intricate wood cutting, particularly for creating curves. However, foresters have discovered and expanded its utility for more profound applications beyond just curvatures.

#1: Toys

wooden rocking horse

Crafting puzzle pieces are seamless with scroll saws. It is one of the initial projects artisans make to familiarize themselves with scroll saws, as they can also be tricky to use. 

Making puzzle pieces is also a fun way to get a young woodworker started with learning about saws. What’s better than being able to play with the stuff you made yourself, right?

If you want to pursue woodworking, read the journey of Gregory Chabolla from being someone with a disability to a woodworking artist!)

#2: Cabinetry

cabinet knobs

Another common use of scroll saws is when making cabinets. To finish a cabinet, carpenters need to make joints to slide pieces together, and scroll saws are the perfect tool to drill these joints. 

It can also be used to design inlay patterns, making cabinets more artistry and unique. 

#3: Musical Instruments


Musical instruments require precise construction as it is what produces the desired sound from such woodwork. 

That’s why woodworkers use scroll saws when making instruments like guitars, violins, and even sound boxes. Scroll saws alleviate the nitty-gritty process of cutting curves, as a small disarray can cause discordance in the sound. 

#4: Ornaments for Your Home


Creating ornaments for your home may sound like an arduous job, but not with scroll saws. 

Scroll saws complement the task of cutting pieces, such as ornament crafts, to hang or display at your home. It’s also the perfect saw to create Christmas decorations this coming holiday season. 

#5: Home Items


A scroll saw may be very handy if you’re up to doing personalized crafts for your home. Scroll saws are perfect for creating many home items, such as baskets, bowls, coasters, and bookends. 

This is why even households invest in scroll saws. There are also a lot of patterns available on the internet, so it won’t be difficult for you to create your first home piece. 

#6: Non-Metal

aluminum cut with scroll saw

Contrary to the common misconception, scroll saws aren’t only for cutting wood. It’s also a good saw for cutting soft brass and copper [1]

You can also cut aluminum pieces with scroll saws but make sure to use lubricant oils to avoid damaging the piece you’re cutting or, worst, the blade itself. 

A Guide to Buying a Scroll Saw

Material You’ll be Working on

When deciding on what type of scroll saw to purchase, it’s best to consider what materials you’ll be commonly cutting. 

scroll saw assembly

Inquire about the maximum limit of thickness that the scroll saw can cut, as there are different models with different cutting limits. You don’t want to damage your saw investment because you left out this key factor when you bought a saw. 

Blade Change

Often, you will think that the salesperson selling you a saw is just doing a sales talk when they show you how to change the blades. But it is one of the most important steps to learn when purchasing a saw. 

We also recommend trying to do it on your own while you are at the shop to know what friction you may encounter while you’re at it. 

Blade Type

There are several scrolls saw blade types, which you must use depending on the craft you’re making or the material you’ll be cutting. 

Scroll Saw Blade

Different blade types have different cutting abilities, and knowing the cut differences that a certain blade type can make is a vital factor when considering a scroll saw purchase. 

Size and Build

Scroll saws also vary in size and build. Scroll saws for beginners are lighter in weight and made for simpler jobs. If your project requires you to move around often, you can opt for lighter-weight scroll saws. 

For best options, you may consider the Rikon 10-600VS scroll saw or the Wen LL2156 model.


The throat of a scroll saw is measured from the saw blade to the back of the saw. The minimum length of scroll saw throats measures 16 inches, but also, there are saws with a 30” throat. 

It’s unnecessary to procure saws with longer throat measurements unless the project requires an extra length. 

Scroll Saw Blade Quality, Size, TPI

The TPI, or the teeth per inch, is explanatory even to non-woodworkers. It’s the number of teeth per inch on the scroll’s blade cutting edge. 

Scroll saw blades for working

TPI is another vital consideration when choosing the best scroll saw blade. Blades with lower TPI are sharper when making intrinsic cuts; small blades with high TPI require more patience when cutting. 

How Thick Can a Scroll Saw Cut?

Since the scroll saw differs, the depth one makes also varies. The standard cutting depth ranges between 1 ¾ and two ¼ inches. 

The thicker the material, the larger the blade you need to use when cutting. It’s also possible to cut in stacks as long as the depth matches the limit indicated in your scroll saw guide. 

Materials for Scroll Saw

Scroll saws are efficient, but it’s also considerable to know which materials a scroll saw can cut best. 

scroll saw cutting surface

Softwoods are easier with scroll saws, but the wood type will still be a factor, as cutting pine wood may not be recommended as it is very fragile, and the wood may crumble when it penetrates through it. 


Will a scroll saw be able to cut a 2x4 board?

Yes, a scroll saw will be able to cut a 2×4 board, but it will take a while before the cut sinks in due to the saw’s small size. We recommend changing the appropriate blade size to accommodate cutting a board this size. Also, opt for a reliable tool, and we suggest considering the scroll saw model, Wen 3921.


There are different types of saws available in the market, and knowing what your saw can do best is a salient factor in maximizing the best of your power tool. 

Now that our pro woodworkers elaborated what is scroll saw used for, engaging with your saw will be more straightforward and trouble-free. Also, check the guide to further your understanding of your scroll saw model. 

Robert Johnson is a woodworker who takes joy in sharing his passion for creating to the rest of the world. His brainchild, Sawinery, allowed him to do so as well as connect with other craftsmen. He has since built an enviable workshop for himself and an equally impressive online accomplishment: an extensive resource site serving old timers and novices alike.
Robert Johnson
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