Shop Made 25" Scroll Saw

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Project by William posted 04-18-2012 11:17 PM 123872 views 55 times favorited 55 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have wanted to build a shop made scroll saw for a long time. I haven’t done so because with health problems, I didn’t know if I could handle the type that you pedal or work a treadle. Then I ran across this design in an August 1986 copy of WOOD Magazine. As soon as I see the photo of it on the cover, I knew I had to build it. At first, I was just going to use the jig saw as a motor idea and design my own saw around it. I read the article though and loved the design as much as I did the motor idea. So I built it pretty close to that design, only making minor changes.
The saw is made completely out of pecan. It is finished with two coats of Minwax polyurethane. Then the table also got two coats of Johnson’s Paste Wax on top of that. The throat is twenty five inches deep. The table is eighteen inches wide.
All the corner joints are an open mortise design which are then pinned with three quarter inch dowels after the glue dried on the mortice attachments. This created amazingly strong joints. Other joints are of a design that I don’t know if there is a name for, but all interlock to make the frame plenty sturdy enough. Also, with using pecan wood (the magazine article called for oak) the saw also has more weight than I thought it would have.
All the hardware used is commonly available at good hardware stores. It has bolts, nuts, washers, some bronze bushings. There is also a description on the article to make your own blade holders, but I used a Craftsman set that I had lying around the shop. For the power, I used an old Black & Decker jig saw I had. The blade clamp was broken on it and was pretty much useless for anything else, but I was able to adapt it to work on this scroll saw.
I wrote a three part blog series on the build of this saw if you’d like to go read more about it in my blog section. Here is Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. There was some questioning as to if it would work, so in my blast blog entry, I promised that when I posted it as a project, I would provide proof that it does in fact work. So….................
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I hope you all can excuse the poor quality of the video. This is the first video I’ve ever posted online.

My video camera doesn’t do well being moved and I didn’t think about just holding it up at the time, so here is a photo of the test pieces I was cutting in the video.


55 comments so far

View Brett's profile


16 posts in 3110 days

#1 posted 04-18-2012 11:22 PM

Incredible! I love homemade tools. Have you been to ? He has built a ton of wooden machines also. You ought to send a picture to him.

-- Brett --- HOLY MOLY!

View DIYaholic's profile


19876 posts in 3209 days

#2 posted 04-18-2012 11:24 PM

Great build William. A Daily Top 3” for sure!!!

Whatcha gonna make wih it????

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View JoeyG's profile


1275 posts in 3159 days

#3 posted 04-18-2012 11:27 PM

That’s really cool William. I may have to give this a try myself.

-- JoeyG ~~~

View Dave's profile


11434 posts in 3374 days

#4 posted 04-19-2012 12:02 AM

I have to have one. Man that is one nice looking saw. Great job William. Whats next? A wooden planer?
Great job.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View Cozmo35's profile


2200 posts in 3570 days

#5 posted 04-19-2012 12:09 AM

Ingenious! I can’t believe I never thought of that. As a scroller, I love it! Great job!!

-- If you don't work, you don't eat!.....Garland, TX

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6866 posts in 4513 days

#6 posted 04-19-2012 12:43 AM

Beautiful job, William.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View boxcarmarty's profile


17209 posts in 2894 days

#7 posted 04-19-2012 12:46 AM

Sweet Lookin’ saw, and it works too. You’re gonna have to come up with your own brand name to put on these tools…..

-- My mind is like lighting, one brilliant flash, then its gone.....

View eddie's profile


8565 posts in 3148 days

#8 posted 04-19-2012 12:51 AM


thats one fine scroll saw,looks great the video looks good to. finally got dry enough to finish the finish it looks good just a great build .amazing

-- Jesus Is Alright with me

View jcwalleye's profile


306 posts in 3607 days

#9 posted 04-19-2012 12:57 AM

It amazes me how much you get done William. Another well built home made tool.

-- Trees, a wonderful gift --Joe--

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3837 days

#10 posted 04-19-2012 01:03 AM

what a great build william, your abilities are pretty amazing…love the saw, i would rather see a saw like this in shops then all metal, it gives the shop an old time feel…great job…

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View William's profile


9950 posts in 3376 days

#11 posted 04-19-2012 01:03 AM

Thanks everyone. I had a good time with this build.

Yes I check every monday to see what his newest postings. He usually updates it on Mondays. Actually, I’ve been building a lot of shop made tools lately and that is exactly where it started at. I built the 16” bandsaw he sells plans for and I’ve been building other machines and such for the shop ever since. I don’t know where this new avenue of this hobby will end. I love building my own tools.

I’ll be honored as usual if it hits the top three. That’ll mean that others enjoyed it, and that is what I want, for others to enjoy it.

I haven’t looked, but I’ll bet you could probably find the article online somewhere. It’s the August 1986 copy of WOOD magazine. The article detailing the construction starts on page 32.

You have to have one? You want to borrow the magazine? Actually, please read my response to Cosmo, coming next.

I know what you mean. Being a scroller, you know what drove me to this one. I will tell you all a secret though. I have five other scroll saws, two that stay mounted to benches and get regular use. I won’t be using this saw much. It was more of a “because I wanted to” and a conversation piece project. I have it sitting up on a table in my shop at the moment for all to see when they come in my shop. After it’s been seen by enough people and I can get some photos developed, I may just give it to SuperD. He needs one.

Thank you for the kind words.

Oh Marty. Nice to see you bud. I think I’ll name them Morning Wood Machines.


View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3224 days

#12 posted 04-19-2012 01:06 AM

You did it! It looks great and it works! (that’s the main thing). When you started I thougfht this was a pretty ambitious project but you pulled it off in good shape. Powering it with the old jigsaw was a very clever idea. Be careful, that thing looks like it could cut fingers effortlessly.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View William's profile


9950 posts in 3376 days

#13 posted 04-19-2012 01:08 AM

Wow, more responses before I can type up the response to the responses.

Thank you.

Thank you. I don’t always get much done because of health issues. When I’m able though, passion for this stuff drives me to get the job done.

Thank you. I love the looks of it too. My problem is that I’m running out of room for some of this stuff I’m building. One of my sons wanted something to do the other day so I had him put in another shelf under one of my table so I could store the Stumpy Nubs machines I built. The wooden bandsaw I put on casters so I could roll it out of the way. I already have my main two scroll saws mounted on tables for regular use. I scratched my head this evening trying to figure out where to put this scroll saw. I’m coming up blank unless I rearrange my whole shop. Man, what to do? I can’t worry about it right now. I’m too busy figuring out what tool I want to build next.


View William's profile


9950 posts in 3376 days

#14 posted 04-19-2012 01:10 AM

in the video, the jig saw speed is set on 1, the lowest speed. That saw will go up to six. I kept it on one for the video for sound reasons. It cuts better somewhere between speeds two and three. Above three it just walks around the floor too bad. So yes, it’ll cut.


View Dave's profile


11434 posts in 3374 days

#15 posted 04-19-2012 01:34 AM

William please keep your wonderful saw. I will come over and we will build me one. How is that.
Oh Logan broke off one of Porkchops ears. He thinks his ears are handle bars.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

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