beginner on the scrollsa and could use help!

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Forum topic by jennysikes posted 03-02-2017 02:45 PM 1004 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3 posts in 1232 days

03-02-2017 02:45 PM

Topic tags/keywords: blades scroll saw beginner wood

few things…. i have only been scroll sawing for about a month and i absolutley love it. I have just been making wood bowties,rings,jewlry boxes and little things. I am trying to practice and see what i am capaable of making. I absolutly love it. My husband even just bought me my own woman shed to work in! OK , so back to why i am writing. I cannot seem to find a wood for my bigger projects that doesnt have a billion layers in it. I use 3/4 or 1/2 inch birch ply wood but i have problems with it chipping and i really hate the look of all the layers in it.. is there another wood that doesnt have layers? also. I am working with a WEN scroll saw, purchased on amazon. I have used pin end and pinless… obviously the pin end are much less hassle to work with but the available sizes are limited. So here i am trying to work with these pinless blades, bc from what i hear thats the way to go.. they are a NIGHTMARE or am I just doing something wrong? i have broken all the ones i have bought from lowes..I feel like when i tighten it too much the pop and break or if i do not tighten enough my blade doesnt cut straight. so i saw on another forum to buy the flyingdutchmen blades…which are pinless. They havnt came in the mail yet but i am so nervous to use them. Can anyone help me out? I bought some exotic wood to make my rings and bowties with but I refuse to use them yet bc i do not want to ruin them! HELP!!!

7 replies so far

View Davevand's profile


179 posts in 1617 days

#1 posted 03-02-2017 05:07 PM


There are scrollers on here that are much more knowledgeable than me but I will give it a shot. I also started out with a scroll saw similar to yours and I really enjoyed working with it. I also very quickly realized that the scroll saw was very limited and frustrating to use so I bought a much better one. I am not really sure what is causing your blades to snap, but with me it is generally caused by either not enough tension on the blade, trying to saw too fast or a dull blade. You are on the right track getting better blades, Flying Dutchman are a good blade.
You can use any kind or wood you want with the scroll saw, I have used everything from pine, maple, walnut, mahogany, oak, anything else I have in the scrap bin or cut offs. If I am using plywood I always use Baltic birch with no voids, but does have the multiple layers.
I would keep an eye on craigslist, scroll saws tend to go up regularly around me and some are very good deals.

View jimr1cos's profile


31 posts in 2667 days

#2 posted 03-02-2017 06:25 PM

The best way to avoid chipping is to use skip tooth and reverse tooth blades, along with clear tape or blue painters tape.. Flying Dutchman blades are excellent, as are Olson. Pinless blades are much more versatile than pinned ones, they just take some time getting used to. You can use 1/2 to 3/4 in. poplar instead of plywood, and do away with the layered look. Poplar is fairly soft, cuts nicely, and takes both paint or stain nicely. As mentioned above, blade tension has to be just right, and don’t force things; let the blade do the work.
Steve Good at Scrollsaw Workshop has great free videos for beginners, as does Mustache Mike on the Stumpynubs
site. Getting comfy at scrolling takes time , patience, and lots of scrap woods to practice on.

View jennysikes's profile


3 posts in 1232 days

#3 posted 03-02-2017 06:37 PM

thank you both yall are very helpful! i lack patience so maybe thats part of the problem! i love steve goods webpage.. i havnt watched the videos but i have used many of his patterns!

View MrUnix's profile


8104 posts in 2980 days

#4 posted 03-02-2017 11:20 PM

Tension on the blade should be the same regardless of being pinned or not… the only real difference between them being the size hole you can feed the blade through. You can do a lot finer work with pinless blades, but if most of your work is exterior cuts or your interior cuts can use larger holes, then it doesn’t matter much one way or the other. After some use, you will get a feel for what the proper tension needs to be. Once set, try ‘plucking’ it like a guitar string – you should get a nice C# or thereabouts. Then let the blade do the work – don’t force it or try to go too fast. The thicker material you are cutting, the slower you will have to go.

I think you will like the FD blades. I used to use Olson reverse tooth blades almost exclusively… until I tried the FD blades (ultra reverse), and absolutely love them. They also seem to last a bit longer and cut cleaner.


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View tomsteve's profile


1041 posts in 2000 days

#5 posted 03-04-2017 04:43 PM

welcome,jenny!! as for wood, i think what youre wanting is solid wood? as in non plywood wood? :)
theres just about every species of wood available for scrollsawing in varying thicknesses. ocooch hardwood is one supplier of scrollsaw ready woods in varying thicknesses. they also have a pretyy good quality birch ply for fretwork portraits. i also purchase lumber off of ebay. theres a few sellers there that have quite a variety of species. you may want to look locally for for your lumber. do a search on the www or yellow pages to see if theres any mills/lumber suppliers or ( although pricey) a woodcraft or rockler store near ya. or even on craiglist- i just seeach ‘lumber” and come across people selling lumber all the time. big bok stores like home depot,menards, and lowes usually sell a small variety of different species. the local menards here sells maple, oak, poplar, birch, and what they call mahogany, but im not sure what type as its not like mahogany im used to using. the local home depot has oak, maple, and walnut, although quite pricey.
the blades breaking could be your feed rate- how much pressure your putting on the piece when feeding it into the blade. its important to let the blade/saw do the work. when too much pressure is used, blades break, dull out quicker, and the cut can become crooked- not perpendicular top to bottom or at a 90 degree. there are times,too, where its necessary to slow downt he saw speed. sometimes the SPM is too high and causes the blades to heat up, burn the wood, and dull the blade quickly. just takes practice to get the hang of it.
i use nothing but flying Dutchman blades. i have a blog goin on the dome clock im getting close to being done with. through all that cutting, ive gone through about a dozen and a half blades- and 4 of them alone cutting the bloodwood window trim- that stuff is very dense and hard to cut.
the majority of construction was done with red oak,too.

View wichman3's profile


97 posts in 1402 days

#6 posted 03-04-2017 05:33 PM

In addition to what the others have suggested I have a couple to add
1. Practice your technique on scrap first. Take a roughly 2×2 inch piece of the thickness you prefer and make repeated cuts 1 inch into the wood, cut in a small a circle as possible (trying to spin the piece in place) and exiting the same cut the you started. Repeat until you are proficient and comfortable with this technique. Another practice cut is to tilt the table to max and do the same cut, you should get a perfect cone dropout piece. Again, practice until you are proficient and comfortable with the technique. These techniques and more can be found in this book:

2. Think about how you are going to make your cuts to minimize the pressure on small detail pieces ( if you are cutting thorns on a rose stem don’t cut to the point of the thorn and try to spin the piece at the tip, instead cut into the waste area and make a wider circle, come back to the tip of the thorn and cut back to the stem)

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Jim Finn

2836 posts in 3703 days

#7 posted 03-04-2017 10:21 PM

I do a lot of scroll sawing. I have three scroll saws. Two Hegners and a 1988 Jet. Flying dutchman blades are fine, but I find that Olsen precision ground blades last longer. I re-saw and plane wood to 3/8” thickness instead of using plywood. Plywood is hard on blades. I do not cut plywood and do not do fretwork. I mostly make toys and cedar jewelry boxes with maple images inlayed into the hinged lids. I make about 250 boxes a year and sell them. I have also done some intarsia but they are harder to sell than my boxes are. There is lots of good advice in this thread. I suggest you try the many different ways to play with a scroll saw , including : toy making, intarsia , double bevel inlay, compound cutting, bowl making. segmentation, puzzle making and letter cutting. Need to be careful, this is addicting

-- No PHD just a DD214 Lubbock Texas

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